Wednesday, October 26, 2016

8 web design trends to watch for in 2017

2017 is just around the corner, and the world is literally at its greatest technological peak in history. New innovations have opened the doors for creative minds to make their ideas a reality, especially on the webpage. Web design is a constantly morphing industry.

Exciting things are developing that could make 2017 a fantastic year for web designers. Keep an eye out for these eight web design trends in the new year:

Goodbye flat design, hello semi-flat imagery

Windows’ Metro UI style catalyzed the trend toward flat design, with drop shadows, textures, and gradients that cleverly provided the illusion of 3D imagery on a minimal background. While flat design was and still is popular, it has its drawbacks.

Many people call flat design’s usability into question. Users tend to like flat design, but they are often unable to navigate the page. Links aren’t conspicuous, and users hover over items in the hope of finding where to click. The solution at the forefront of web design in 2017 appears to be semi-flat design.

Semi-flat imagery uses subtle shadows, transitions, and cards to integrate dimension without confusing users. Semi-flat design rectifies the usability issues that have plagued flat design, striking an appealing compromise. It uses handcrafted illustrations that are not completely flat; creative grid design becomes fluid as the designer implements new ideas to develop the webpage’s framework.

This way of organizing graphic elements makes the site easier to navigate while still staying true to flat design. Using tiles for image placements is the popular semi-flat design trend moving into 2017.


Creativity triumphs: custom-made illustrations

One trend that remains on top in 2016 and won’t be fading anytime soon is custom-made illustrations on websites. Throughout history, custom-made has generally been preferred to mass-produced. It’s no surprise the same is true for web design. Creating your own graphics for the background of your site, the icons, and the menu is a unique way to grab attention and set your brand apart from the crowd.

While a custom-illustrated interface costs more time and money, the final effect is stunning. Take the Lighthouse Brewing Company’s website, for example. Its unique illustrations immediately pique users’ interest and makes them more inclined to stay and explore the website. The visual appeal of custom-made graphics is uncontestable and will continue to make waves in the future.


Show, don’t tell

Brand storytelling has been important for a while, but as web design becomes more creative, so do the ways in which companies tell their stories. Now brands are not limited to simple text on their About Me pages. They can create videos, hybrid graphic novels, and interactive illustrations to capture their audiences’ attention.

Consumers are hungry to know a company on a deeper level. Creative, immersive storytelling is the perfect way to send a strong message. Take advantage of new ways to show instead of tell with unique videos, illustrations, photography, and typography.


A World Wide Web of micro-mini interactions

Microinteractions were the buzzword of the year back in 2015, and today the cyber universe is replete with them. We encounter hundreds of microinteractions when we browse the web, many too small to notice. Microinteractions have one task, revolving around a single use case. Logging into a website or “liking” something on Facebook are two examples of microinteractions. Like a household appliance built for one main use – say, a toaster – designers build most apps today around a single microinteraction.

The next level of microinteractions is micro-mini interactions, or microinteractions that are increasingly more specific and granular. Individual actions are breaking down into even smaller segments with greater levels of interaction.

These microscopic interactions exist within one microinteraction. For example, a microinteraction is following someone on Instagram, but a mini-micro interaction is the act of tapping “Follow.” By 2017, many designers will be thinking in terms of micro-mini interactions.


Mobile-first web design

If you haven’t transitioned to a mobile-first web design by the end of 2016, web design experts suggest you do so sooner rather than later. The rise of mobility has long-since been in full swing and is only projected to increase. With more and more consumers accessing websites via their smartphones instead of a desktop computer or laptop, it’s incredibly important for brands to utilize a mobile-first approach.

A brand must deliver a seamless, effective experience on mobile devices to stay relevant in 2017 and beyond. Designing for mobile first instead of trying to squeeze the content from your full-size website onto a tiny screen gives you the advantage of fully optimizing for mobile. Instead of forcing things to work for mobile and hoping for the best, design specifically for mobile for optimal user experience.

Hapnotic feedback will be a sensation

Haptic feedback is a user’s sense of touch on an interface. This includes the virtual keyboard on smartphones and other items the user touches to activate. As haptic technology advances and the costs of electro-active polymer actuators (EAPs) decreases, experts predict more sophisticated haptic feedback on high-end mobile devices.

Web designers will be able to use subtle haptic cues such as vibrations to direct users to an action, such as tapping “Purchase.” Designers can even create a pleasant-feeling webpage through pulses to encourage a user to stay on the page.

Hapnotic feedback is the conversion of haptic cues with subtle hypnosis. Hapnotic feedback is an emerging type of tactile interfacing that serves to subconsciously encourage users to do certain things. The science behind hapnotic feedback and mobile devices is still in its infancy, but expect to see more on this subject as we head into the new year.

Treating transition anxiety

Transition anxiety, or interstitial anxiety, is the second of tension the user experiences after making an action (tapping an icon) and the response (seeing the next page). Load times and latency creates this feeling of anxiety, which can translate into poor user experience and lost customers. The user feels powerless in this moment and confused as to what to do. Web designers have found a way to capitalize on interstitial anxiety and use it to their advantage instead of their demise.

Web designers can channel this state of high emotion into transition elements that allude to the next page the user will see. Thus, users can preview what to expect before the page loads. This eliminates the feeling of powerlessness and instead cultivates a feeling of pleasant anticipation. Transition animations that show what will happen if the user clicks a button creates a seamless experience for the user so, even during lag time, they are not left in the dark.


Video overthrows the content throne

The statistics supporting video content as a content mainstay are overwhelming and indisputable. There is no longer any question of whether video content will fizzle out over time. Its power is only becoming more palpable as brands utilize video in new, exciting ways to capture user attention.

Live video, for example, has hit its stride and will continue to be a force to reckon with in the future. Consider creating a Vine or YouTube account for your brand if you haven’t already, and post videos as religiously as you post to your company blog. Video content is not a fad you can expect to fade. it’s the future, and smart brands are jumping on the bandwagon.


As 2017 looms around the corner, web designers have several exciting new prospects and technologies at their disposal. Savvy web designers will keep consumers on their toes with intriguing new interface ideas and take budding concepts to the next level. The world of web design will never be the same.

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