2017 Top Web Design Trends
Every year, the web design industry goes through some sort of evolution cycle to stay relevant and inspiring in order for us to get the best possible web experience.
2016 was very much the year for flat design and typography and we can expect such trends to get bigger and better in 2017.
However, when we look at web design trends, most are not often new concepts, they are just refined to serve more purpose and enhance websites in the modern day. Over the years, features such as Video sliders, Background video and CSS animation have all been modified and altered. Despite many new concepts being introduced, we can expect a lot of web design features to be enhanced even more.
Designers have spent years adding new features to our websites. All of these things have ended up cluttering our websites and taking up vital web space, which shifts the attention away from the primary purpose of a web page – the content. Therefore, 2017 will be the year we try and make all of our basic features work together in the best way possible to form a symbiotic relationship.
Let’s take a look at what trends we can expect to see in 2017 and possibly help you gain the edge over your competitors!
In terms of visuals, bots are unlikely to have a big impact on web design, but they will significantly influence how designers think about creating websites. AI-powered bots are going to get even more realistic and complex this year, empowering businesses to automate communication and sales. Using tools like Letsclap, an online messenger tool to address customer service is perfect for commerce sites and online businesses will be able to connect with their customers via messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or WeChat, providing customised customer support to making their brand more human and approachable to online users.
Over 900 million people around the world use messaging apps like Facebook Messenger every month, so the introduction of Bots for Messenger last year was a welcome addition to the toolkit of communication channels for businesses of all sizes. Any brand can build a Facebook bot now without any coding knowledge. Integrations with tools like Botsify or Chatfuel make the setup simple, effective and worthwhile.
We have seen 360 degree videos growing in popularity over the past twelve months and we can only see the Virtual Reality trend growing further in 2017. An online interactive experience has been successful in web design before and virtual reality could be the extra modification needed to take web design to the next step. An Interactive experience will add a futuristic and exciting interactive experience to your site and keep you a step ahead of your business rivals with state-of-the-art technologies.
Virtual Reality is a pretty new concept and it may be a few years until we see the real impact. We are yet to see it properly embedded into web design, but surely it is only a matter of time before we see if in the web pages in order to create a more engaging website. This is perhaps the most exciting technology to have emerged in 2016 and we can expect further research, development and ideas to be put forward in 2017 – perhaps web design could be in the pipeline?
As mentioned earlier, flat design has become the norm for most modern day websites. Despite its huge popularity and appeal it can have the detrimental effect where everything is starting to look the same – surely you want your site to look unique and set apart from the rest, right?
Therefore, we see Grid layouts becoming a popular theme this year and they are sure to offer designs that are more imaginative and unique than ever before over the next twelve months.
Grid layout was originally popularized by Pinterest and its successful card design layouts continue to shape and influence web design trends. We can expect to see more of this dynamic grid style in 2017. The simplicity and effectiveness of the design ties in with what the brand sets out to do and makes navigation so much easier when searching for ideas with its basic pinboard catalogue of images and videos. Grid layouts are particularly suitable for pages with an abundance of data or sites which require a story in order to showcase their brand with image heavy content which makes the information more accessible and engaging.
Other successful examples of grid layouts are sites like: Vice, Tumblr, and Baubauhaus. There are hundreds more notable examples of card layouts used to create an enjoyable browsing experience and showcase content in a neat and digestible way. Grid layouts are going to be bigger and better in 2017.
Authentic photography sites are emerging online more regularly and the concept of finding original high-quality images is easier than ever. In 2016, the decline of cheesy stock photography in web design continued and we may see it decline continue in 2017.
Authentic images are proving to be a cheaper alternative and helps give sites a unique element which helps set them apart from the mundane ‘stock filled’ image sites that have taken up the spaces of many websites in the past.
Images of real people have more chance of converting visitors and gives users an insight into the real business which you are showcasing online. Ultimately, authentic images builds a trust factor and establishes a virtual bond between your business and the user. It ultimately provides the opportunity to tell your brand story like never before.
Social media has played a huge role in the Influence of authentic images. Nowadays more people are willing to share their own images and sites such as Instagram is the hub for portraying a lifestyle and online image. Likewise, the popularity of social media continues to rise and alongside the use of images, comments and interaction continues to grow.
WordPress has a great commenting system, but readers tend to leave comments within social networks than on websites themselves. Therefore in 2017, we can expect websites to capture social comments by using social commenting systems rather than the standard built-in WordPress commenting system to allow users the chance to comment using their social accounts and pick up any social media mentions. Afterall, social media is growing year and year we need to keep our web designs in line with that growth.
Progressive web applications:
A trend that will continue to grow in 2017 is progressive web applications. This combines the best features of the web and mobile apps to take advantage of the vast web ecosystem, plugins, and community available.
PWA’s have often been regarded as ‘the future’ and will ultimately help your site reach a greater audience. Progressive Web Apps describe a collection of technologies, design concepts, and Web APIs that work in tandem to provide an app-like experience on the mobile web.
For instance, if you want to start selling event tickets on your WordPress website, you don’t need to develop a fully functional web application. Your website can execute such app-like functions simply by making use of a plugin like Tickera that can turn any static site into a full-fledged ticketing solution, which ultimately saves time and money.
WooCommerce is another wildly popular plugin that can turn any WordPress site into an eCommerce app. The growing number of high-quality plugins and sophisticated APIs suggests that this year we will see more websites adopting web application features in 2017.
Today, web technologies are used by millions of app store apps, but so far, the mobile web has been a stripped-down experience driving people to the app store for the real thing. Progressive Web Apps change that and we can expect more changes this year.
Like many trends, immersive storytelling is evolving year on year and will continue to push the boundaries in the most innovative and creative ways possible. It has expanding rapidly in 2016 and is a current trend which we can only see growing and developing this year.
Whether it is visual storytelling or immersive storytelling, in design it has helped create a rich user experience that calls on different design elements, such as high-quality images, videos, sounds, social media, maps and other components to create a unique context to tell your story and sell your business.
It is also worth noting that some of the most effective storytelling techniques are the most simple ideas. Not all visual story has to be interactive, sometimes a single powerful image can achieve the intended purpose.
When it comes to clicking, use your images to reinforce where users should click and what will happen when they do. A couple of successful web examples are Squarespace and Tesla Motors. Both serve different purposes in immersive storytelling. Squarespace is all about ‘creating a beautiful website’ and communicates the message instantly with engaging graphics and Parallax scrolling which helps the user feel part of a journey when browsing the site. Tesla use a similar scrolling technique with scroll-triggered visuals and animations to create a fully immersive experience as if they are driving the car in order to persuade customers to invest in an electric powered vehicle.
A compelling story gives your site more purpose and they often participate in order to find out what your story is. Designers can use all the optimization techniques, visual callouts, or interactive elements they wish – however, immersive storytelling done right can be the difference and we can see more of this in the near future.
Animations and GIFs:
Animations are starting to be used more heavily on websites as they are often a great way to show how something works, how to do something, or otherwise reveal meaningful content. GIFs have been used for this purpose, but now we are seeing GIFs becoming more sophisticated and animations using SVG and CSS to achieve some unique design elements.
In 2017 we can expect the use of animations will become more popular because more content types are shared and animation helps communicate things easier and quicker than text and video can. Plus, when done right, can often be even more lightweight than several images or even a video.
designers get more and more visual tools to help them build engaging and smile-sparking animations, we’re sure to see them become both more prominent and more refined. Tools and plugins are constantly being refined, adapted and modified in order to create a greater impact and serve a greater purpose on your site.
Big, bold type:
As the design world comes to the consensus that our focus should be on content, as mentioned in the introduction. Nowadays, more and more websites feature lines of resonant, inspiring copy set in type that’s just as big and bold as the statement itself.
Flat design took off in 2016 and we can expect it to continue to grow this year – Even Google changed to flat design! Google removed the iconic bevels and changed the font to a cleaner sans-serif for its logo, which also reduced the size of the logo file used on sites by more than half! Google also found that it was easier to read on smaller devices such as mobiles and andriod devices.
Not only will there be websites that launch with flat designs, those sites who’ve already embraced the flat design trend will look to make things even flatter (yes it is possible!)
In a world that’s as fast, busy, and information-overloaded as ours is, these concise yet powerful statements will become bread-and-butter for companies of all kinds.
2017 looks like being another exciting year for web design and if any of these trends take off, then we could see the face of web design change forever. Websites continue to stimulate and inform and with the right blend of iconic features and unique design we could see some extremely powerful and successful website emerging across the globe.