If you have a website, you’re competing for eyeballs, and the competition is getting fierce.
It’s not enough anymore to throw up a website and stuff it with content. People are judging your product or service based on the design of your site, and your ability to make them feel.
Trendsetting company Airbnb, was just named Inc. Magazine’s 2014 Company of the Year. This is largely due to their disruptive business model and a shift to the sharing economy, but it surely has to do with their impeccable web interface and friendly, trustworthy web impression.
Two of the three founders of the company are graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, and design has always been at the forefront of their business. Viewers of their site feel as if they have joined into a community and feel welcomed, inspired and safe. Users are forming endless impressions based on what they see on the web, so spending time upgrading and revising design in 2015 is definitely a worthwhile undertaking.
With all that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of the best web design and track some of the top trends for 2015. Here goes:
Trend #1: Implementation of Responsive Design
Responsive design offers ease of viewing web content across multiple platforms by eliminating resizing and excessive scrolling.
At this point, responsive design is likely already used on your site, as this has become the norm. But if not, this is the first and most essential change you can make to your site for all around functionality and user experience. Responsive web design provides an optimal viewing experience and incorporates easy navigation across multiple devices including mobile and tablets. Users no longer want to pan, scroll, and resize to find links and buttons. Ease the process by utilizing responsive design.
Trend #2: A Growing Focus on Quality Content
Content focused sites generally go hand in hand with the responsive design approach to websites. Designing a layout that is focused on content allows users to access information in a functional matter by placing content into individualized areas of the page using “break points.” These processes allow users to view content easily based on the device they are using, making it essential for mobile compatible viewing.
Trend #3: A Renaissance for Typography
Type kits and free resources including Google Fonts are making elegant, exciting typography accessible to smaller businesses and those on a budget. Good typography has impact, and designers working on a tighter budget can greatly benefit from the increased resources available to them, allowing them to streamline their theme. WordPress designers are going to get more flexibility here as well.
Trend #4: Important Content Below the Fold
Mobile web integration is a no brainer. But one of the easiest ways to make sites mobile friendly is to incorporate downward scrolling rather than breaking each page down into clickable links.
Making site information easily digestible is paramount, and the more a user can take in on a single page the better. This is not a call to stuff all information on a single page, but rather an opportunity to simplify and streamline the most important messages into a single, flowing space.
Early in web design, it was approached as essential to place all-important content “above the fold” or on the first page of viewing, but users are now accustomed to single page design that incorporates downward scrolling.
Trend #5: Engagement Through Storytelling
Each new facet of web design is essentially a piece of engaging interactive storytelling. A story is the overall theme of the website and how it portrays the brand. Storytelling incorporates design, functionality, creativity, and choices such as font, layout, and navigation. Each of these decisions should be made to complement the next, and should have purpose and be infused with the vibe and energy that the brand hopes to invoke in the user.
Trend #6: Using Storytelling as Marketing Tool
Storytelling is the latest trend in content marketing, and could prove to be an entirely new approach to the way ideas are presented to an audience. Rather than pushing products and services, companies are finding ways to connect with potential customers through social networks and media forms that are already integrated into the lifestyle and interests of the audience.
Content marketing in its basic form involves providing media and publishing content that is relevant to the audience, to build a trusted following through sharing of stories, information and tips.
Incorporating storytelling into content marketing is a way to meet the audience at the intersection of their interests and their needs. Real people and real stories have greater impact on potential customers than over-fluffed branding packages and marketing schemes. Storytelling allows potential customers to see who is really utilizing a product or service, and therefore established greater credibility for the brand.
These emerging web trends of 2015 are certainly here to stay, and large companies, small businesses, and non-profits can all benefit from incorporating these new design elements into their web platforms. Making content easily digestible and authentic to the audience will help your business to really take off in 2015.
About the Authors:
Michael Rolph is an Internet executive focused on the creation and growth of startup, social-good and small organizations. He is the Founder & CEO at Wheel Media, a national design, technology and content marketing agency.
Janine Neutra has worked in digital marketing since 2000, where she managed search and social media marketing for a national nonprofit organization. She’s now Sr. Director of Online Marketing for a National Marketing Company helping small businesses and startups create programs that get results.
Image Credit [David Joyce, SEO Face, Wired, Open Public, Free Range, Future of Car Sharing]