Over time, more brands have developed similar niches, so differentiation is becoming harder and harder to find. The real factor that has begun to differentiate closely-lined brands is web design and structure. Potential leads are consistently looking for the most up-to-date and aesthetically pleasing websites when choosing a brand. This is due to the notion that clean, trendy, and visually appealing websites establish a business’s expertise. In fact, Webpage FX predicts that by the year 2020, customer experience will surpass both price and product as the most important brand differentiatorIt is reported that ESPN.com profits increased by 35% after adapting their website to the fan base and incorporating fan suggestions into their home page design. With this high focus on visual demand, web design has become a priority for businesses seeking to stay ahead of competitors. Putting this investment into UX has proven a worthwhile strategy as every dollar invested presents a ROI of $100. As attention shifts more to design, here are five trends in particular that are standing out among all others.
Mega navigations are expandable navigation on a website, usually in the menus, that display a two-dimensional dropdown layout, often with images. They help give viewers of the site quick access and information, as well as being visually appealing with colors and imagery. Overall, they are an easier way for a potential lead to navigate a website and provided a modern look to the page, thereby drawing the viewer in.
Gradients have been around since the beginning of design and have gone in and out of style in everything from graphic design to print advertising to fashion and hairstyles (hello ombre hair). Currently gradients are very on trend in web design, especially on images and as background, as can be seen on websites such as Spotify. So why are gradients so popular? As web design progresses in technology and style, a new element was needed to contrast with the more simplistic designs of the early 2010s. Gradients add a sense of depth to a page that draws viewers in and also add a loud pop of color in a less-obtrusive way that one flat color would. So how do you add a gradient yourself? Try and start with two colors that are close on the color wheel (analogous is the fancy term). This way the colors will blend nicely together and you won’t get that awful grey-brown that happens when you mix complementary colors.
You might think that the focus of your website should be the header and homepage, and yes that should be a primary focus, but make sure to also think carefully about your footer. The footer is so important because it is the last part of your website that a potential lead looks at and is also a bed for anything from contact information, FAQs, newsletter subscriptions, etc. Make sure your footer is well-designed, user-friendly, and maybe even add a touch of personality with its own design or illustration. Just don’t let your footers become a dumping ground for information you weren’t sure where to put.
UX-Driven Diagonal Lines:
For most of web design’s existence, designers have used horizontal and vertical lines to divide space and sections on web pages. However, in 2018, the new trend is moving towards using diagonal lines to create boxes and separate information. Diagonal lines draw a viewer’s eyes across and all around the page, adding a level of visual interest and depth without adding images or excess information. It is a clean, simple way to add interest to a page and can help attract viewer to a call-to-action or to increase the number of potential leads that scroll down the whole page.
Typography is definitely an aspect that changes with the times (anyone remember WordArt?). Recently, there has been a big increase in the use of expressive typography on both print and digital formats. Expressive typography adds a richness to the page and also adds personality in a less direct method than, say, an image. It can also add a level of interest using effects such as hover effects, which can help attract a viewer’s eye Bold fonts and Serif fonts are on the rise, both for their clean, modern look and for their user-friendly nature on mobile sites. Check out this article about some of the WordPress fonts that pair better than milk and cookies.