As a web designer, you already know how important it is to stay up to date on the latest trends in web design. Sometimes, though, going back to something classic works just as well as adding something cutting-edge. The key to stellar web design is to always have your user’s experience in mind. What does the target audience expect and how can your site fulfill those expectations?
There are more than 1.3 billion websites, and that number grows by the second. Needless to say, you’re going to have to work pretty hard to keep visitors on your site instead of having them move on to another one. If you really want to wow your audience, here are six features you should consider implementing and why.
1. Shadow Designs
In 2017, flat icons became all the rage along with flat – or simpler – designs overall. A natural move forward with that type of design is adding shadows behind those flat icons to give the page some depth. A page with 100 percent flat elements will look a little boring. While other websites are still stuck on flat designs, users will be drawn to your site that is still simple, but also more visually appealing.
Take a look at Clearbit’s homepage. It has the simple, flat design and icons, but behind key factors in those designs are some simple shadows. This draws the eye where it wants it to go and adds interest to the page. To implement this in your own designs, limit your shadows to one main image and don’t try to add shadows everywhere.
2. Mobile Responsiveness
You likely have heard this before, but more and more people are using their mobile devices to get online. However, what has changed more recently is how Google tracks the ability of your site to adapt to these users and how it impacts your search engine rankings. Also, it is important to test out your site on the specific devices your users are most likely to utilize. About 65 percent of mobile traffic is via iOS — iPhones or iPads. If you do one thing, reach out to iOS users.
Mountain Dew has created a beautiful and fast-loading mobile website that looks amazing on an iPhone. The focus is on what the company wants the mobile visitor to see and is more limited than the desktop website. However, you can still find anything you’re looking for via the mobile site. Your mobile site should be functional but beautiful.
Sliders add a lot of interest to your landing page, especially if you use them to highlight special items or show what your product can do. Visitors tend to enjoy this type of slider because it gives them options without forcing a video or audio on them. The visitor can either scroll through the images for ideas or just look at the main image they landed on. This can be an important consideration for the consumer who is browsing your site on a quick break at work and may not want a video to blare into a shared workspace.
Take a look at the way Clopay Door utilizes the slider to see the before and after examples seamlessly. This allows site visitors to see how the product would work with their own needs. If you sell a product or service that lends itself well to before and after photos, a slider feature can take your site to the next level.
Nearly every web design is built on a grid, but one of the latest trends is allowing elements to float in and out of their assigned boxes, so the grid is more of a floating guide. This allows for more creativity and gives your site the ability to look different from those using square, perfectly aligned elements on their pages.
The floating grid design works particularly well for creative companies such as Gucci designs. Gucci’s website implements a grid for product pages and a floating design for its landing page. Note how the headline stretches across the center of the page, but the image fills the entire screen. This is eye-catching and puts the focus on the product. The key is to float only some elements and not create a page that is a cluttered mess.
The resolution of computer and mobile device screens has improved dramatically over the years. At one time, it was unheard of to use a serif font online. However, because screens translate these more clearly now, you can attempt to use a serif font for a headline or to set off some text. Using a familiar typeface visitors have seen in print many times before can lend a sense of familiarity and reliability to your site.
A word of caution with using unusual typefaces: Limit the less-common internet fonts and use them only for emphasis.
6. Floating Navigation Menu
Is your landing page a bit long? Perhaps you notice site visitors scroll halfway down your page and then bounce away. Enter the floating navigation bar. This is a bar that follows the site visitor as she scrolls down the page, but stays at the top out of the way. When the user wants to navigate to another part of your site, the navigation bar is right there.
Make sure you do some A/B testing before implementing a floating navigation menu site-wide. The key statistic you want to watch is overall bounce rate.
These are just six web design features you can use that will set your site apart and give it a unique look and function. However, there are many more options available that you can consider, from adding videos to determining how you convert visitors. Start with these six, track your results and then add even more features.