When starting your own business, your website is everything.
Even as you establish yourself, your website is still incredibly important. In fact, it’s one of your biggest selling tools. That’s why you should always stay abreast of web design trends.
If you’ve ever visited a badly designed website before, you know just what we mean. Your site is an extension of your brand. If you put a lot of time and dedication into your website, then you must put a lot of time and dedication into your business, too.
Okay, so admittedly, your website could use a little work. It happens. Now’s the perfect time to update it, because it’s a new year.
With that new year comes plenty of new web design trends. You could spend all day reading through them or you can check out the 10 best, most noteworthy trends that are sure to define 2017.
1. Horizontal Scrollbars
So much has changed since the Internet grew in the 1990s.
Most people haven’t heard a dial-up tone in years. It no longer takes hours for a song to download.
You know what hasn’t changed much? Scrolling.
What’s to change, really? Scrolling is a necessity. You need to scroll to the bottom to get the full gist of the page.
With web design trends always changing, you may have noticed some sites are designed more horizontal than vertical. These kind of fit the page funny sometimes and may be hard to read.
To compensate, we have the horizontal scrollbar.
Now, not only can you scroll up and down, but you’ll notice in 2017 that more sites will let you scroll left and right as well.
2. Bold Text
Do you see the subheading right here? The one that says “bold text.” It is itself bold text.
It’s big. You can’t miss it. It feels important, so you’re more likely to stop and read the message.
Many companies have realized the value of bold text. Instead of bombarding customers with endless paragraphs, they’re scaling back. Way back.
Now, their message will be condensed into a single headline. It will contain as few words as possible. Sometimes there’s only one word, large and stark.
You put that bold headline against a pretty picture or other backdrop and customers will notice.
3. New Fonts
You know what else catches a customer’s attention?
The font you use.
Companies are moving away from your standard Arial or Times New Roman. They’re embracing funky and fun (yet readable) fonts. They’re maybe even making their own.
And why not? It only takes a little graphics design know-how to craft a cool, memorable font that represents your brand.
You can then use that brand font anywhere and everywhere: your company logo, social media, your website, and even company t-shirts.
4. The Demise of Stock Photos
If you dig hard enough, you’ll find there’s a stock photo for everything.
Do you want to portray triumph and happiness? There are countless pictures of people jogging at sunrise, athletes crossing the finish line, or someone literally jumping for joy.
Do you want to convey sadness or disappointment? Try a picture of a lonely person in a dark room, an awkward couple after a fight, or an office worker scowling.
These pictures do conjure the right emotions. They also break up posts so they’re not one giant wall of text.
But there’s just one problem: even though you registered and probably paid for your photo, you’re not the only one who could use it. There’s nothing stopping another company from taking that same great photo and slapping it on their website.
Not only that, but customers are kind of bored with stock photos. These pictures are just fake.
Realness is in. No wonder one of the emerging web design trends for 2017 is real photos of you and your coworkers. Yes, your actual coworkers.
Transparency is also in. Customers want to know more about a company today than ever before.
So yes, they want to know the names and faces of everyone in your company. Take individual pictures and then a group shot. It will make a difference.
5. Strong Mobile Design
You may be reading this from your phone. You may be reading this from your tablet. It’s a little less likely, but you may be reading this from your computer.
It’s a little less likely, but you may be reading this from your computer.
It’s not enough today to have a mobile optimized website. This site has to be as good if not better than your desktop design. Otherwise, customers will go to the competition.
Your site has to look good on iPhones and Androids and other smartphones. It also has to look good on bigger tablet screens.
That’s not all. Today, many companies also make apps. These make shopping easier since you can place an order right from the app.
Plus, an app is a cool little way to keep your company in the customer’s mind. After all, every time they open their phone and look through their apps, yours will be there.
6. Simpler Layouts
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the old saying that “less is more.” It applies to a lot of things; yes, even website design.
That said, it seems like many people have forgotten that old pearl of wisdom. Their sites are often cramped.
These companies want to convey so much, and they know they only have a short time to do so.
They wind up filling their homepage with as much as possible. To a customer, not only does this look disorganized, but it’s information overload.
This design “style” is finally disappearing. When it comes to web design trends for 2017, simplicity should be at the top of the list.
Use navigation bars. Use landing pages. Do whatever you can to avoid cramming your homepage with info.
If your customers visit your site and see a nice clean, neat homepage, they will check out your site. They’ll click around and read your info. Trust in your customers and see what happens.
7. Videos, Videos, Videos Everywhere
It all started with YouTube back in 2005.
In the 12 years since, “viral video” has become a common part of our vernacular.
Okay, so yes, there were videos before YouTube. Of course, there were. But you weren’t about to see a company upload a home video to their website.
Even though Vine disappeared last year, don’t be mistaken. Videos are still a very important part of everyday life.
It’s why you can’t scroll more than a few posts on Facebook before you see one. It’s why YouTube started a for-charge service called YouTube Red. It’s why Instagram added longer video uploads.
Videos are big.
So go ahead. Start a company YouTube channel. Upload a few clips to Instagram.
Show your human side. Your customers will respond.
While people will always fight over whether cats or dogs are better or whether peanut butter goes better with jelly or chocolate, there’s a bigger battle raging on the Internet.
Is it pronounced “gif” or “jif”?
Okay, so the creator himself told us it’s the latter. Regardless, people can’t get enough of these little looping animations.
Gifs used to be a rarity. That was because, in decades past, it was hard enough to load a .jpg, let alone an animation.
With a more powerful Internet, gifs have exploded. These might not seem very professional at first, but it’s all how you use them.
You can convey an emotion, or show how you do something. They’re shorter than videos and more interesting than pictures.
Try peppering a gif or two into your blog posts.
9. Handy Chat Interfaces
How often does this happen to you?
You visit a website and immediately, a conversation pop-up appears. Someone is on the other line asking if you need help on the website.
Given that chat interfaces are one of the big web design trends for this year, probably often.
You may reply. And you may be speaking to a bot or a customer representative.
Regardless, these interfaces are meant to improve your user experience.
It used to be that if you saw something on a website and you had a question, you had to send an email. You could also call the company.
It could sometimes take days or weeks to get an email response. If you called, you’d be on hold for what felt like days or weeks.
It’s a waste of time.
Now you can ask a question and get an instant answer. That influences your shopping decisions right off the bat.
It’s an age of instant gratification. Companies are starting to catch up.
10. And Another One Making a Splash in Web Design Trends? Data
Quarterly reports. Stats and figures. Pie charts and analytics.
This was information companies used to keep to themselves. This was top-secret information.
Now this is the kind of information companies freely volunteer.
Not all of it, of course. Trade secrets are trade secrets.
However, if a company increased its sales revenue or got thousands of new customers to sign up to its service, you’re going to hear about it. And chances are, there will be data to back up the claims.
Customers like to know this kind of stuff. They like to see real results from others just like them.
Numbers don’t lie. They can also be a strong seller, working sometimes where words do not.
Overall, while there are new web design trends every year, they all don’t have staying power. The web design trends that are driving 2017 are the kinds of innovations we’ll probably enjoy for years to come.
What web design trends do you think we will see this year? Let us know in the comments!