Webbit Design 2018

There are countless articles on ‘web trends for 2018’. But, rather than share information that is easily available elsewhere, I’ve decided to provide a filtered version of global web fashion because this is what we’ll be focusing on in the upcoming year.

Mobile First
Mobile browsing surpassed desktop a few years ago. In 2015, Google reported for the first time that a higher percentage of searches had been performed on mobile devices  than on desktop or laptop computers. The mobile revolution is upon us.

From a design perspective, all websites should look as professional and be as easily understood when viewed on mobile devices as on desktop computers. However, it can be difficult to feel a website’s full impact on a screen only marginally bigger than the palm of your hand. This is because the context of the elements is lost – there is simply much less room to generate feel, temperament and more subliminal messaging.

But, this doesn’t apply to functionality.

Mobile or ‘hamburger’ menus (the ‘3 line’ icon) are now well established, as is the art of scrolling with our index fingers. Filling in forms (of any kind) is easy on a mobile device and actually doesn’t feel much different to doing it on a desktop. The use of ‘icons’ as links or to draw attention is also widespread and understood.

However, I actually really dislike viewing websites on my mobile ‘phone. The screen is too small, and I don’t like not being able to get a sense of full website. Page loading can be painful, depending on the strength of your signal, so the overall experience is still way too diminished for me. But, I’m the odd one out it seems because now it’s official. 2017 research shows that 55% of website traffic (research based on 77 billion website visits) came from mobile devices.

Safe to say, all our customers’ websites are fully mobile responsive, because it is a fact that over half of the traffic that visits them will be from smartphones or tablets.

Visual Depth
Gone are the days of the drop shadow, at least in my view. If overused they look a little dated to me. Some argue that shadowing draws attention to certain elements on the screen. Ok, on occasion that’s true and used sparingly they add a degree of polish. But, generally, there are better ways to lead searching eyes around a screen.

Safe to say, shadowing will be used sparingly this year at Webbit. Enter real visual depth. This doesn’t necessarily mean looking into the screen like it is 3D. It is more of a sense of layers, a world beyond the screen.

Typically, I create visual depth with a blend of HD background photos/ images, colouring and positioning. It all depends on the effect I need as to what I use to achieve it.

By adding an impressive image (take a look at: www.literallyyou.co.uk), or abstract photo (which can be seen at: www.atlasrefurblimited.co.uk) the impact of a website landing page is heightened.

Fixing those background images in place (i.e. it stays still on scrolling) only intensifies the effect further, as content at the front of the screen ‘slides’ over the top. Doing the same in other sections also means the website feels crafted and is sophisticated. This contrasts nicely with the flat design trends of years gone by, and as a result it gives a real modern feel.

Video
Video takes visual depth to a whole new level. Whilst I come across websites that overuse video in my view, when designed with balance and elegance the effect is exquisite.

From a marketing perspective, video is the content focus of the moment. Every strategy should include it, especially as all the social media platforms become much more video focussed. It is expected that video will account for 80% of ALL online consumer traffic by 2020. Right now, 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook every day.

But, if video is not viable, then cinemagraphs could work. A cinemagraph is essentially a still photograph in which a minor detail repeatedly ‘moves’. I really like them – they add much needed depth to a user experience and can be very impressive making a web page truly memorable.

Colour
Anyone that knows me will be well aware that I am a colour lover. Crafting customer colour palettes is one of the favourite parts of my job. However, t’s not without its challenges sometimes.

The more palettes I put together, the more I get drawn towards highly contrasting pairs of colours, coupled with two more muted tones. Highly saturated (i.e. bold) colour palettes will prevail this year, and, unless my customer’s requirements really do not align with this, all Webbit customers will enjoy splashes of colour and explosive impact.

Ultimately, your website needs to be memorable; having a stunning colour palette that is different to your competition not only boosts your businesses’ brand, it shouts of confidence and energy. Definitely two things most businesses want to be known for.

Typeface
My wife bought me a book for my birthday all about fonts, proof that I now am actually as old as I feel. Forget rock and roll, I’m all about typefaces nowadays!

But whilst we’re on the subject of rock and roll, a neat example of how a font is important springs to mind. You don’t even need to see marketing material for a Coldplay gig in Times New Roman to know that it would look ridiculous, and severely affect the success of the advertisement.

Typography has always been a powerful visual tool, evoking emotion, projecting personality, and tailoring the tone of a website whilst conveying information. But, it does even more than that. Used correctly it transforms information into something much greater than the words themselves.

Irregularity
I once heard a highly experienced web designer say there are only so many ways to lay out information on a page. I’m not sure if this is true to be honest. But I don’t think it matters. In fact, I feel drawn to disrupting past trends in web layouts, which for the past year or two have tended to focus on symmetry and neatly placed (often geometric) elements as part of a grid-like arrangement.

The idea of broken layouts and asymmetry is exciting to me. Of course, some websites will never suit this kind of approach. It would hardly serve a solicitors or accountancy practice well if their website felt rebellious and unorthodox!

But, for those customers who need a highly distinctive and unique web presence, I think an irregular layout is well worth considering. By coupling this with vibrant colours, a business’s website would boldly show as well as tell.

 

Conclusion
Web trends will always change and evolve over time. Safe to say, I pick and choose what is relevant for Webbit customers and help steer them in the right direction accordingly. This means I can ensure their online presence is current, purposeful and cost beneficial.

I’m looking forward to seeing what new trends this year brings, as things will undoubtedly continue to evolve and change. But you can rest assured that your Webbit website will be current and on trend, in a way that’s appropriate and suitable for your particular business.

 

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