6 Design Trends To Consider For Your Next Website Redesign

Your website is probably already one of your strongest—if not the strongest—marketing channels, but there’s always room for improvement. If you’re looking for ways to bolster the effectiveness of your site in the near future, it’s worth considering existing and emerging design trends.

First, don’t get turned off by the idea of following a “trend.” In digital marketing, trends generally reflect practice-proven approaches, not mere fads. When we recommend design trends to our clients, we consider those that help increase conversions, pageviews, and/or readership. Improve these metrics, and you improve your marketing performance.

What trends are here to stay and right for your company? Below are six trends that can produce one or more of these benefits:

  • Users engage more with your content and calls to action
  • You meet users’ evolving needs
  • Your brand gets a personality boost.

Design Trends

1.     Flat Design 2.0

Flat design avoids flashy visual embellishments and 3D effect, which can slow down how fast pages load onto users’ screens, for the sake of clarity and minimalism. In this approach, simplicity allows websites to load faster and get content to users more effectively. Flat design also allows for easier and clearer transitions to responsive mobile screens. The bottom line is that it lets users focus on the content, rather than throwing unnecessary bells and whistles at them.

Microsoft kicked off the wave of flat design in 2006 when it introduced Zune, Apple gave the approach a refresh with its iOS7 in 2013, and Google’s Material design 2014 took it to the next level. This trend is here to stay, as users spend more and more time on mobile devices and have less and less patience for slow-loading content.

Flat design 2.0, however, represents a slight pendulum swing away from extreme austerity. Turns out, absolute minimalism caused usability problems; viewers were confused when they didn’t have familiar visual clues. Designers are now incorporating very subtle 3D elements (e.g., shadows, gradients) and contextual signifiers (e.g., actionable copy) to improve the user experience, while still keeping designs relatively flat.

DropBox, Conde Nast, and MailChimp reflect the flat design 2.0 approach.

2.    Bolder, Brighter Colors

In a digital world where flat design rules, subtleties and minimalism have, in some cases, led to a degree of monotony and boredom among users. Many designers are now using bright colors and 80’s inspired geometric graphics to add pops of color for interest, emphasis or character.

Here are a few examples: Lilly, Teva, Amerisource Bergen, Treehouse, Bloomberg and CVS. You may have also noticed the Vodori site you’re viewing right now features bold, bright colors.

The addition of colors helps to establish a definitive hierarchy, highlight key information, and bring in an energized, modern, and innovative look and feel. Generally, colors convey a cultural or psychological meaning. Having that knowledge can be a powerful tool in enriching a design. Be cautious however, and do your research, as the meaning behind certain colors can vary drastically between countries and cultures.

3.     Gamification and choices

Many organizations are making their websites more interactive and immersive. By giving users options, you give them a sense of control in their experience with your website, making them feel empowered and productive. For example, you might craft a short questionnaire for users to answer and direct them to products or services most related to their individual needs.

FitBit, WWF, UHC Baby Blocks, Silk, Mint and RecycleBank are great examples of highly interactive sites that give users the chance to truly immerse themselves in an experience.

If the product or service you sell is conducive to customization, this trend may make sense for your organization.

4.    Long scroll vs. short scroll

While more sites now feature long-scrolling pages than short-scrolling pages, the jury is still out as to which approach makes it easier for users to engage with content. Some designers believe that the pendulum may swing back in favor of minimal scrolling; others think that long scroll is here to stay.
From a metrics standpoint, short scrolling allows users to scan pages quickly, but if they scan too quickly you may end up with high bounce rates.

Long scrolling offers a great way to entice users into the story you want to tell because it’s a more natural reading experience. Users are now more accustomed to this design approach, given all the content they consume on mobile devices. By using designated sections (i.e. anchor links), your website can help a long scroll imitate a multi-page site

Apple’s iPad Pro, Moxhe and our very own Vodori site are strong examples of long-scrolling design.

5.     Custom photography and icons

Through the noise and density of information in the digital age, customers crave authenticity. Today’s web-savvy users can generally detect stock images, illustrations, and iconography, which can make your site feel generic and bland.

To set your site apart from the sea of cookie-cutter websites and tell your brand story, opt for a more genuine approach. Invest in customized photography and iconography that reflect your marketing style and brand personality.

We like what these sites have done with this trend: Intense Health, Bench and HireLevel.

6.     Full-screen forms and inputs

You may have noticed that many sites now feature simple forms that occupy the whole screen, revealing one section at a time. This approach allows designers to guide users through organized steps, rather than showing them everything at once or and possibly distracting them with other content.

Eighty East’s form (click “Enquire Now”) and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (click the search icon) are great examples of this trend.

Full-screen forms help control a user’s experience and make it easier for people to focus and complete the desired action. This approach also makes input screens—where users enter their information—more user-friendly on multiple devices, which is important for on-the-go conversions.

This trend is here to stay because it makes users’ lives easier and helps lower form abandonment rates.

As you contemplate your website redesign, consider how these design trends make sense for your brand and your current digital marketing strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how to incorporate web design trends into your marketing plan, contact us at hello@vodori.com.