Let It Go: Say Farewell To These 5 Web Design Trends
Trends come and go, especially in the fast-paced world of web design. Yet sometimes we hold onto old trends for too long when we should really be letting go and moving on.
As technology evolves, it’s easy to fall into the trap of repeating old patterns. The web design industry is constantly moving forward. Holding on to old trends can only weigh you down, putting you behind the competition.
Here are five design trends it’s time to bid adieu and the new design elements taking their place:
Goodbye: Mobile Versions of Websites
Instead of building mobile-switched sites (i.e. m.websitename.com), many innovative designers and developers are now focusing on responsive design. It’s not enough to detect devices and switch users anymore. Mobile users are looking for a more fully integrated experience.
With 68% of Internet usage in the U.S. coming through mobile devices, the best shops are doing mobile-first design and treating desktop and laptop design as secondary. Responsive design allows the layout to adjust based on the contextual experience of users. This means site designs need to be built so they respond to the width of the device, regardless of the gadget type. In more extreme cases, functionality itself can even switch, providing an even more contextually optimized experience.
In fact, Google is even encouraging responsive design to improve the SEO for your site, as it reduces the necessity for multiple subdomains and duplicated content. Mobile versions of websites are a trend of the past; now, you’d be foolish not to design with mobile in mind from the start.
Goodbye: Text-Heavy Sites
As visual media increases in importance all over the Internet, there has been an unsurprising decrease in text-heavy websites. Instead of telling your story in a paragraph or block of text, the trend now is to invest in more visual storytelling. Text has been cut down to the essentials, while visuals are increasingly employed to impart important information.
This isn’t only true for the design of websites. The increasing reliance on visuals has also crept into the biggest social media spheres. With the rapid rise of visually-focused media, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter have all taken steps to increase the prominence and integration of visual media into their platforms.
For sites more text-based by nature, there is a trend towards richer content experiences — text integrated with pictures, video, and interactive functionality. Now, websites are better integrating text with visual components to give users a more immersive and interactive experience. Combining content and visuals to tell a story can help hold the attention of even the Internet’s most impatient users.
Goodbye: SEO Copywriting
For years, SEO copywriting has been a large part of web design and promotion. But Google’s changing search algorithms have made it increasingly hard to keep up with the new SEO guidelines. Keyword stuffing and focusing copy from a keyword perspective is the wrong approach to modern SEO, and will only get you penalized under the new guidelines.
It’s time to say goodbye to SEO copywriting and start developing keyword informed and user-centric content instead. Just like in marketing 101, you need to develop easily understood copy with which your target market will emotionally connect. It’s also important to keep your content on message and use copywriting to build up your brand, instead of focusing on SEO exclusively. Essentially, when it comes to copywriting, you should be embracing a back-to-basics approach.
Goodbye: Old School Pay-Per-Click
Pay-per-click advertising is changing rapidly. New technology helps us better target ads at more and more specific subsections of consumers. The old style pay-per-click is practically obsolete, since tools utilizing new mediums and new targeting capabilities can help you find your exact consumer. Instead of focusing entirely on pay-per-click, the range has expanded to include contextual advertising, online video, and highly-targeted product ads.
For instance, it’s now possible to target people who watch certain television shows in certain geographical areas. It’s possible to target ads to exact age ranges, favorite clothing brands, and even target based on Facebook relationship status. There’s now a wealth of information consumers are self-supplying on the Internet, and this information can help you to pinpoint with more specificity and offer a more tailored advertising experience for your market.
Goodbye: Embracing Flat Design and Moving Beyond 200 ppi
Visually, web design is changing. Apple and Android mobile devices are increasingly adopting retina displays. Unless you bump up the resolution of your design, the quality will be poor on these new displays. The days of designs below 200ppi are gone; retina displays have changed the game for designers.
The embrace of higher resolution isn’t the only way design is changing, though. It’s no secret Apple is a huge driver of technological changes and design trends. When Apple released iOS7, the company ditched skeuomorphism in favor of a flat user interface.
Instead of using gradients and shadows for a more three-dimensional look, most design is now adopting a flat user interface. Flat UIs were already the direction the industry had been heading, with Windows 8 completely embracing the flat aesthetic. It’s time to ditch the gradient and embrace a more clean and simplified design palate.
It’s time to say goodbye to design trends which have rightfully gone out of fashion. Web design is always changing, and if you cling to old trends, you’ll soon find your website left in the dust.