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Web design trends that you need to know

Brian Van Buren

Website design trends change constantly; you need to stay on top of those changes to keep your design fresh. If you are looking into a website redesign this year, then there are a few things you need to know in order to have the best website design.

What are the latest trends in website design?

Flat designs have become very popular, with simple interfaces and clean lines. This style eschews lots of video and image content for short, high-impact text and illustrations. Swapping long videos for short gifs is also not only popular but helps website performance. Large amounts of white space or a light color make flat designs easy on the eyes, focus user attention, and minimize distractions.

Another popular trend is using animations and microinteractions. Animations are animated parts of your website, such as menus and buttons. Usually, these animations only occur when you interact with those specific elements of the website, so they don’t cause a big drag on performance. Microinteractions are similar, but instead of being tied to big interactions like selecting a menu, they are tied to small interactions, like hovering a mouse over an image. But unlike simple hover text, these are animations, and are usually tied to the interaction or element interacted with. A blinking eyeball when a mouse hovers over an image is an example that is memorable and draws attention.

One of the most useful trends is towards design systems; a consistent design across not just one web page, but an entire website. A good example is Shopify’s Polaris system, which helps web designers maintain consistency across thousands of different web pages and ecommerce stores. Having a design system gives your website a consistent look and feel, using the same colors, fonts, and images in the same areas of the pages. The tone of the writing, the choice of the images, even the color palette all create a unified design system. This lets users know at a glance that the website is distinctive and designed to give a memorable, positive experience.

What is user experience design?

Everyone has had the experience of opening a web page looking for information, only to immediately be confused by it. It is difficult to understand, difficult to find the information you want, and unappealing to look at. Usually, a person simply closes that web page and goes to the next website on the search list. But what makes one design better than another? The best website design takes the users needs into account, makes the web page appealing, and gives the user incentive to return. The process of improving an item to make it better to use is called user experience design.

User experience design is all about enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability and accessibility of the interaction with a product. Regarding website design, the user experience design process helps make using the website easier to use, more appealing to the user, and more desirable to use again. This is done in many ways, from the placement of images and information on the web page, to the style of the writing used to convey information and the ease with which a user can navigate the web page.

Creating a good user experience that brings people back to your website is the heart of the user experience design process, but with so many choices, how do you know which design is best for your website? This is done through creating prototypes of your website, then user testing with various users to determine which design is best. It is important to determine where problems arise for users – called “pain points” – and find ways to eliminate them.

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What is website accessibility?

Website accessibility is about making your website accessible for those with disabilities. As the World Wide Web has become indispensable for many people around the world, technology must make sure that no one is left behind due to vision or motor impairments. It is important to make sure that websites work with these technologies, such as screen readers and button navigation.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an organization that sets web standards, and some of those standards deal with website accessibility. The HTML5 coding language, used for virtually all websites, has several built-in accessibility options that make web pages easy for screen readers to use. HTML5 elements like article, section, nav and others allow screen readers to more easily and accurately describe web pages to those with visual impairments.

It is also important to understand that accessibility features often have value to users without impairments. For instance, a user with fine motor control issues may have difficulty navigating a website and needs larger buttons. Mobile users of the same website may have difficulty selecting small buttons using a touchscreen on smartphone or tablet and would benefit from larger buttons as well.

Quick design concepts

  • Keep It Simple: The simpler the website design, the easier it is to navigate. Lots of videos, images, links and ads serve to keep the user from finding what they want.
  • Less is More: Keep your images simple, your writing short and to the point, your shapes simple, and your menus intuitive. The less there is on a page, the less time spent searching for information.
  • Complete Themes: Make sure all pages on your website follow the same theme; a good theme should use all design elements to create a unified message to the user.
  • Accessibility is for Everyone: Website accessibility isn’t just for those who need it; designing for everyone creates opportunities to make the website easier to use.

Ready for your website redesign?

The website redesign process can be daunting, but the web design trends in 2019 all lead towards simplicity, ease of use, and standardization. By incorporating user experience design, you can test your design, with a focus on creating an easier and better website. And by taking website accessibility into account, you will make sure all users have the best experience. Thanks for reading!

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