Oct 14th 2015
Pumpkin-spice websites – get them before they’re gone!
Web design is as prone to fads as any other type of design, unfortunately. Why is this unfortunate? Look at any fashion, and if you can use the word ‘dated’, you’ll understand. Oscar Wilde once said, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” This can just as easily be said about web design.
One of the only constants regarding web design is the fact that that it is constantly changing. In the 1990s, black satin backgrounds with lightning bolts and yellow text were all the rage. ‘Cool’, ‘technical’, the web was a place the nerds hung out. In the 2000s, the lavish assembly look was in fashion – textures, colours, badges… as long as it was Y2K-compliant!
Then Apple broke on the scene. Suddenly, everything had to be ‘clean’ and have ‘whitespace’ – but here, let me add fifty elements as well!
2010 brought in new technologies that brought cinematic and mobile experiences to the forefront. Animated banners and transitions, sliding layers, and smoothly scrolling backgrounds.
“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” – Oscar Wilde
In recent years, responsive layouts have become critical, so the set of typical designs for websites resizing for tablets and smart phones continue to evolve. Now, what used to be an option has become a fundamental imperative. Ensuring that your website will adapt to every screen format has been sufficiently established as a good business practice.
Another recent trend in website components is the ‘ghost button’. For the uninitiated, the ‘ghost button’ is a transparent button with a simple outline and some text, lending a lower profile presentation that more elegantly calls the user to action. This ‘call to action’ type of button is particularly effective when placed on top of a good quality image.
These trends are largely driven by the web’s recent seeming fondness for full screen imagery that is crisp, well lit, well framed and emotionally compelling. Gone are the days of just wrapping a page in a header and footer like a newspaper with a wall of text in-between. In their place are newer designs more closely based on a television advertisement, with a hidden ‘burger’ menu in the corner.
The ‘burger’ menu is not, as one might presume, a selection of delicious options for a ground beef sandwich. The ‘burger’ menu I am referring to is that ubiquitous stack of three white lines that one clicks on to reveal a set of options or pages. This has evolved from its nascent days of being a phone-only implementation to being an all-purpose menu tool in common usage, that is as simple as it is inconspicuous. As mobile (tablets and smartphones) overtake desktops as the most frequently used way of viewing the web, expect this trend to continue.
One may say that tracking these latest trends is somewhat futile, as they will most likely be replaced by newer trends just around the corner. But you could just as easily say that studying these trends will help you to not only predict what customers expect, but possibly to adopt and influence the next best greatest popular trends in website design.