If you’re getting ready to design a new website, or redesign your old one, it’s important to understand emerging trends and technologies. Having a professional, well-designed website is something your customers or clients expect to see in 2016. There’s the obvious points we’ve rehashed like the need for mobile-friendliness/responsiveness, fast load times and easy navigation, but here are a few more detailed, specific tips to keep in mind.
1. Up your font game
This applies to both size and style. The number of web safe fonts has increased substantially over the past 5-10 years, partially thanks to the implementation of Google Fonts at nearly 600 typefaces. No need to stick to Arial or Times New Roman any longer to ensure that the site looks the same on all devices. Big, in-your-face typography has been around for ages and it’s currently enjoying a resurgence. It’s legibility on smaller devices and compatibility with minimalist, flat design makes it a natural choice for your website.
2. Let the sidebar die
Some things stick around a little too long. Sidebars look outdated and are best reserved for blogs, not your professionally designed homepage. Readers don’t generally focus on what’s in the sidebar anyway. Integrate important navigation or calls to action more centrally into your design instead of banishing them into the seldom clicked sidebar.
3. Cut out clutter
The sidebar is just one aspect of the outdated, over-cluttered webpage. Many business owners fall victim to wanting too much on their homepage. Focus on what’s important. Utilize minimalism and negative space to provide your visitors with a sense of calm–not anxiety. Easy navigation, easy to find call-to-action and less text are all great rules of thumb.
4. Custom imagery does wonders
The imagery on your website is quite possibly the most important aspect of the design. Stay away from generic looking stock images. Your business loses a lot of credibility if a viewer has just seen the same happy family stock image on the last dentist’s website. Viewers want to see original photography and design that reflect your actual business. Hire a professional photographer or if you must use stock imagery, find images that aren’t immediately obvious to the viewer. Go one step further and implement video into your design or design custom, hand-drawn icons and graphics.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/25/2016) Jakob Renpening (Flickr)