Web Design Trends To Watch in 2017

The Internet is an ever-changing thing, with each new year introducing another set of aesthetic trends as web designers play around with the potential of the medium. Here are six of the top web design trends to keep an eye out for as 2017 unfolds…

Print: A Bigger Influence than Ever Before

We talk of the Internet replacing print media, but it would be more accurate to say that the Internet is absorbing print.

Once, webpages followed their own specific set of design rules, and tended to look inferior to the stylish layouts of print magazines.

Now those boundaries have been broken.

Webpages are embracing the sophisticated interplay of words and images that can be found in magazines and other printed media. The potential offered by the Web and the time-honed aesthetics of print can finally be united.

Mobile-First Design

There was a time when reading a website on a mobile device was an unusual approach, and chances are the site would come out looking pretty awkward.

Those days are gone forever.

Mobile devices are ubiquitous: many people spend more time surfing the net on mobiles than on home computers. This means that websites will have to take mobile navigation into account – and many will choose a mobile-friendly layout as a first choice, rather than an optional alternative.

Despite the focus on mobile, it’s worth bearing in mind that desktop is still and probably always will be the more dominant traffic force in certain industries. The problem with many of the digital industries is that we can be guilty of becoming too immersed in the echo chamber of following what the majority say.

For me specifically, whilst running Imaginaire (web design in nottingham), I’ve seen a lot of clients, particularly in the B2B sector, where mobile traffic accounts for less than 10% of total traffic. It simply doesn’t make sense to design mobile first in these instances as the priority should be the other 90% of traffic and making sure their experience is optimised.

Colour: Time to Explore

Perhaps as a result of the magazine influence discussed above, websites have been falling back on plain white (or at least pale) backgrounds with black text over the past couple of years.

More recently, however, they have been experimenting with wider palettes: we have been seeing more sites that play around with bright colours, or alternatively dark hues for a moody, sombre tone.

Typography: Big and Clear

We are seeing a definite trend towards website typography that is large, clear, and impossible to miss: not the main text of a webpage, but titles, headings, company slogans and so forth.

This trend emphasises introductory text that is large (but not all-caps) and placed against a plain or at least uncluttered backdrop.

The tone achieved is clinical, modern, and professional.

This trend is a world away from the cluttered webpages we may remember from the early days of the Web.

Video: More Prominent Than Ever

Playing an online video, even a low-quality one, was once a time-consuming luxury. But with the advent of websites such as YouTube and associated software, video is a key part of the Web: we even see people on social networks sending short video clips to each other as jokes.

Any savvy content-provider will have to take full advantage of video as a medium that can be used for both information and entertainment.

Virtual Reality: Now on the Web

Finally, we come to what may well be remembered as the most significant advance of all.

Virtual reality is gaining ground across the world, and its next step is to integrate with the Web.

Once browsers become fully compatible with VR headsets, whole new media avenues will be opened up and you can expect to see websites follow suit.

Seb runs the W3 Cafe blog as well as his web design and digital marketing agency, Imaginaire Digital.

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