Small Business Web Design Trends for 2016
Best Web Design Trends in 2016 for SMB’s and beyond
When it comes to edging out the competition and winning customers, being cutting-edge is key. Your product, service, or information is top quality – you’ve already worked hard to make sure of this. But what about your website design and conversion rates? Does it communicate that you are at the front edge of the market, that you are innovative and competent, and that you design for the ideal customer experience? Or does it tell your customers that you are sort of old-fashioned, a little behind the times, and hopefully reliable for all that?
Don’t let yourself get complacent about your website. This is the first impression that your customers get. Make sure it’s one that will communicate who you are and will get your visitors excited about working with you, by using some or all of the hottest new trends in web design for 2016!
The most important aspect in a website is conversion rates, so lets point out some key items that will increase curb appeal and conversion rates.
Located in El Dorado Hills and serving the Folsom, Granite Bay and Greater Sacramento Area, Front Street Media can get your site caught up with todays current style and technology.
UI Pattern Sites
WordPress has become one of the biggest platforms for creating and designing websites. It’s robust and easy to use at the same time. One of the unintended results of this was that many websites started looking the same. Website owners and even designers often use ready-made templates which they can easily edit to have the exact effect they want.
You might think that this is a bad thing, since wouldn’t you want your website to look like the only one of its kind? In fact, it’s really good. With the proliferation of these template-based websites and even original websites that follow these set UI patterns, customers are familiar with the way these websites are laid out.
Good Tools for Integrating New UI Patterns
As soon as they see the top part of your page, they have a general idea and understanding of how it will be laid out, where they will find the information they are looking for, and how to interact with it.
You have just removed the entire cognitive load associated with looking at a new website, and as a result you have customers who can devote their entire attention to finding out about your company or product instead of focusing on navigating your site.
Animations are often thought of as being incredibly hit-or-miss. Say the word “animation” and many people think of opening a webpage circa 1997 and being bombarded by a background of spinning clip art characters. This is not the sort of animation we are recommending. Web animations for 2016 are interesting, are often interactive, and always enhance the user experience on your website.
- Check out this example from Google’s Material Design: Material Design
Instead of using the traditional skinny bar on your site to indicate that something is loading, consider putting in a custom loading animation. This gives your viewers something interesting to look at while the page is loading and gives the whole site an overall high-end feel. You will want to make sure that your loading animation matches the color palette and style of your site, of course.
Hidden navigation menus
To save yourself space on your front page and keep your design looking clean, hidden navigation menus can “hide” behind icons or menu buttons and pop out when clicked. A subtle animation effect can keep this transition from being jarring. Important to note, though, the hamburger menu we covered in a previous post about web trends to watch out for in 2016 is a touchy subject at the moment and not everyone knows what the hamburger menu is.
When people are looking at a website, it is common to hover the mouse over something the reader is interested in. Make the most of this natural tendency by putting in a hover animation! You can put in additional information or even menu options that appear when your user hovers over an area of the screen. Keep in mind, though, that mobile devices and touch screens do not have the hover option.
When you have a ton of images on a page, the viewer can easily start to feel overwhelmed. The solution is simple: only show one at a time! Rotating slide shows are a popular way to showcase what you have to offer without blowing up the page with images.
Motion animation is powerful, and therefore it should be used sparingly. The human eye is naturally drawn toward motion, so any part of your page that moves will instantly attract the attention of your viewers. Put motion on the thing that is the absolute center of attention, because you can be sure that the motion will distract from every other element that is on the page.
When your viewers scroll down the page, they are expecting to see new content and pictures. If you also add in an animation that transitions as they scroll, it will add to the power of the user experience and increase the impression of meaningful interaction.
As the word suggests, micro-interactions are tiny ways that we interact with our technology every day. From turning off an alarm or a timer to clicking a menu item, micro-interactions engage users and create the feeling of control. They allow for a natural-feeling interaction where the user isn’t just consuming information but is actually taking part in creating his or her own user experience.
Google’s Material Design
Google’s Material Design is a new take on web design that uses depth and perspective to create the illusion that the user is engaging in a physical space rather than looking at a simple, flat page. The effect is subtle and not distracting at all, and psychologically it gives the sense that the page has weight and importance.
Responsive web design
Responsive web design hardly even counts as a trend, since it is so essential to modern web design. As long as we are looking at websites on mobile devices – and let’s face it, the zombie apocalypse is the only thing that is going to stop us using our cell phones and tablets – we are going to need our web sites to be optimized for computer screens and mobile screens alike. If you do not have responsive web design, you are making it incredibly hard for an incredibly large portion of your audience to use your website.
Simplicity is the hallmark of the modern aesthetic. It’s true at IKEA, and it’s true in web design. Flat web design is classic and it’s here to stay – it’s easy to see what you are looking at, it’s not confusing, and it’s comfortingly simple.
When you are deciding what to put on your page, try to limit your audience’s choices at any given time. Cognitive load is the theory that people can only process so much information before they become overloaded. If your customers feel overloaded, they will just leave without buying, subscribing, or signing up. That is not what you want to have happen.
Keep it simple and obvious. Make it so that your readers can tell what you are all about within three seconds of opening your page, and then make it easy to figure out where to go to take action.
Ghost menus & Ghost Buttons
Ghost menus are menus that only appear when you hover over them. These are great ways to make your site cleaner and more minimalistic. Until your viewers need to go somewhere else in your site, the menu options aren’t cluttering up their view and confusing them.
However, be careful to distinguish between simplicity and obfuscation. You still want your site to be easy and intuitive to use. You don’t want your users spending ages hunting around to find what they are looking for in the site, since that will just cause them to get frustrated and leave.
Ghost Buttons on the other hand are simple no background fill color buttons. These are simple strokes around buttons with no background color.
Your readers are there for content or for products. Don’t use a distracting font that is going to take more time or effort to read. Again, keep it simple and clean. The point is to make it easy for your visitors, first, and only secondly to make it look fancy.