I read with interest an article recently by Stephen Loates he called ‘The Biggest Web Design Trends of 2011’. As you’d expect, the article focussed on what the author thought were the popular trends in website design for this year.
Going a step further, I thought it would be great to look at what I believe are the biggest business web design trends of 2011. Some of the trends are the same as the trends for website design in general, but there are a few unique topics that are relevant for businesses.
Flash less flash
Flash, or more correctly any technique that produces animations, is on the decline. Personally, I really like Flash and where used appropriately it’s a great way of catching the attention of the website visitor. When used the wrong way, however, it can distract the visitor and perhaps even annoy them. Flash can also impede the loading speed of your website and doesn’t help search engine optimisation.
The popularity of online shopping may have been growing steadily over the past several years, but lately it has gone gangbusters. There are a variety of reasons for this but rest assured that if you sell products – and in many cases services – and you don’t do so over the net you’re being left behind. The trick for small business is to find ways of selling online without breaking the bank… And the secret is to ditch the banks! Merchant facilities are expensive to set up and maintain, so if you’re a relatively low transaction or low revenue online seller consider using a facility such as PayPal.
Back to basics
Thankfully, website design is becoming simpler, cleaner and more uncluttered. To quote a section from the Stephen Loates article: “There’s nothing quite as ‘attention grabbing’ as an honest, straightforward message on a quiet backdrop.” Cleaner designs, less animation, fewer images, simple menu systems and choosing two or three main colours for your website are all ways of producing the uncluttered website that people now prefer.
Less annoying features
In the same vein as simpler website design, I believe that less is becoming more when it comes to features. Don’t get me wrong, features such as the talking person who pops up on the home page, complex forms, pop-ups and animation (dealt with earlier) all have their place but they have been overused in the past. The key is to provide the features your potential customer is likely to need or want. Also, add features in a way that doesn’t distract or annoy your visitor, or detract from your key messages.
Other trends to note include mobile compatible websites, large photographic backgrounds, quick response barcodes and more fonts, to name a few.
The question is, what will the trends be in 2012? While the trends for 2011 are likely to continue there are sure to be a few others that will raise their heads. That’s one of the fantastic things of web design – the scenery is constantly changing!