2018 is shaping up to be a year of change and for start-ups, an excellent opportunity to launch a bold new website incorporating the latest design trends. So what website design features worked in 2017 and what can we expect to see more of in 2018?
Some of the more ‘out there’ website design trends include features like virtual reality in the browser (check out Magic Leap for a taste of things to come), Chatbots and AI-powered interfaces like Zo.
Here at Dynamics Monk, we looked at what worked for us regarding web and graphic design from our own work and other design sites around the net. Focusing mainly on startups or new online businesses, we’ve picked five design tips for startup websites that we think are both cool and (more importantly) will improve the user experience for your customers. A survey by Adobe found that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive, so we not just talking window-dressing here, a good website design is crucial to customer engagement.
Minimalist design was big in 2017 and will continue in popularity for two good reasons:
- It removes visual clutter and helps users to get things done more efficiently.
- Websites with clean, simple interfaces that offer a cohesive mobile and desktop experience win big with users and customers.
Many sites are stripping back the extras and focusing on their content. This means fewer links, banners, etc. and white space, which encourages scrolling and exploration. Simple sites load much faster, a vital feature for your site, as most users will abandon a website if it takes more than 2 seconds to load.
One feature of minimalism that hasn’t proved to be so successful is Flat Design, where links can be so subtle that users don’t know where to click and become confused. Semi-Flat Design (also known as Flat Design 2.0), introduces subtle shadows, highlights, and layers that give users the necessary signifiers to navigate your site without frustration.
Image credit: wikia.com
As Nick Babich from uxplanet.org describes them, micro-interactions are ‘subtle moments centered around accomplishing a single task’. These can be hovers, click animations, scrolling effects or many other simple techniques that improve UX. in 2018, more of these features will be incorporated into the mobile web, as screen sizes grow and customers expect to do more on their smartphones and tablets.
A good micro-interaction:
- Provides feedback to the user
- Gives them a sense of being in control
- Encourages them to act (the call to action)
- Landing Pages
Homepages are so ‘last year’! Actually, home pages are still vital but more and more, the way to grow your business in the online space is through dedicated landing pages that form part of a unified content strategy. For a lean startup, this approach is particularly effective; you can use social media to generate interest in your company while avoiding the high costs associated with traditional advertising.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (Source ImForza.com), which means website visitors are not necessarily entering through the ‘front door’, so it pays to create SEO-optimised landing pages that deal more directly with the needs of your potential customers.
As the internet becomes more like television, moving visual elements such as animations, GIF’s and cinema graphs can play a great role in conveying concepts and bringing your site to life. Simple animations load much quicker than video or high-res photos and offer startups a great visual tool to explain abstract concepts. A captivating animation or a cheeky Cinemagraph can also buy you valuable extra eyeball time and keep visitors on your site for longer.
Cinemagraphs are basically classy animated GIFs. They usually employ subtle movement that is appealing without the potential annoyance factor of GIFs. Check out these beautiful examples of Cinemagraphs here.
In this post-truth age, with fake news and an overload of information, credibility and trustworthiness are valuable assets. Website design can play a role in communicating these attributes. The renowned UX expert Jakob Nielsen offers the following advice to enhance website credibility:
- Websites should have a professional look with clear navigation and no typos!
- Be upfront. Disclose all relevant information, e.g. shipping charges.
- Be comprehensive, correct and current. Any old photos or dead links will send users away.
- Connect to other sites. Links to other third-party sites is a sign of confidence and standing.
At Activate Design, we proudly acknowledge our Christchurch based location as a Website and Graphic Design company. In this way, customers are reassured that there is a solid, bricks and mortar company behind it all (well, steel and glass in our case!).
It’s important to remember that while website design can evolve rapidly from year to year, the online habits of users change very slowly and we need to accommodate their needs by keeping to good human-centered design principles.
So there you go, five website design tips to incorporate into your next website. If you’d like more information on any of these design tips, give us a call or email us. Stay tuned for more.