By now you have most likely heard of or seen Web 2.0 style. This is characterized by glossy and mirror like appearance where everything is smooth, use of gradients and 3d effects. What would characterize the next Web style or Web 3.0?
The trends growing over the past year are:
- Search Engine Optimzation (SEO)
- Fixed/Sticky menus
- Blurred backgrounds
- Full size background images
- Smooth scrolling
- Parallax Scrolling
- Image Sliders
- Content Sliders
- Drop shadows
BRANDING AND SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
Many of you reading this may be asking what I am listing this as a web design trend. The answer is simple, more customers are demanding it from the start. Perhaps it is due to better research or more content written on the topic now widely available but clients are starting to understand that an eye catching website with a professional design is no good if no one sees it.
With the refinement of SEO algorithms it is near impossible to get your site pushed to top ranking for common keywords. Now you have to work for it. But what is the solution if you are a new startup in a common area? The solution is Unique Branding with fresh and original content.
Clients do not want to pay once to have the site made and then pay all over again to have it optimized. They want a return on their investment from the day it goes live.
Navigation aka User Interface is one of the most important parts of web design. The traditional method was to list the navigation menus at the top of the page resulting in the user having to scroll back to the top. Variations have been tried by placing the menu as fixed on the left or right side of the page but that takes up valuable real estate. Then designers got a bit closer by using a JQuery or HTML “Return To Top” link.
The solution now appears to be Sticky Menus.
You can still have your normal menu. But as the page is scrolled a sticky menu is displayed in a fixed position. Does it make a difference?
If you have visited a site with Sticky Menus then you already know the answer. If not, a non-scientific study found sites with Stick Menus were over 20% quicker to navigate and 100% of user preferred them. Definitely a trend to incorporate into your next design.
BACKGROUNDS – FULL IMAGE, BLURRED, & TRANSPARENT
Disappearing are the gradient and repeating seamless backgrounds. They are being replaced by photography, animation, and large images which catch the visitor’s attention and draw them in. You must admit, don’t these sites look far more engaging than a simple black to gray fade surrounding a bunch of content?
SCROLLING – SMOOTH & PARALLAX
Chance are that you will have more content than can be displayed on a single screen. Which means the visitor will need to scroll through it. But what if we could speed that process up or make it more engaging to not only draw the visitor in but insure the review all the content you wish them to in the order you wish them to view it. Welcome to Smooth & Parallax Scrolling.
Smooth Scrolling allows the user to select a menu option and they see an eye catching scrolling animation taking them directly to the content they selected without having to use their mouse, down arrow, or page down key. A non scientific study cites over 70% of users viewed the entire content and over %45 quicker.
But what happens when you cannot break the content into sections? You can use a Parallax effect. This gives the users a sense of depth and can lead to some very interesting user experiences. Much like smooth scrolling the number of users who preferred parallax greatly outnumber those who did not.
SLIDERS – IMAGE & CONTENT
There is always a new plugin coming out in this area. The name of the game is making it easier to present more content in a professional way without sacrificing performance. Instead of rewriting a topic which has been done almost to death, for more information please reference these excellent posts: