Web design is moving ever closer to the realm of web development. Today, users want the perfect combination of beauty and substance. Traditional websites will no longer be sufficient as more and more individuals are accessing the Internet from their mobile devices. There are two words that will define web design for 2011: Functionality and Flexibility.
The goal of great web design has always been to pull your viewer in and keep them. Any designer can produce something pretty that gets the occasional ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’. In 2011, the focus will be on the elements that truly engage viewers and entice them to return for more: intuitive design, easily accessible information and fast response. To add yet another challenge, these web designs must work equally well for desktops, netbooks, smart phones, iPads and the like. Is the web design firm you work with able to handle that? If not, maybe it’s time you found one that is. 2011 is going to see a lot of new trends that drive the functionality and flexibility of web design, so check out the top trends for this year below and make sure your website is ready.
1. HTML 5 and CSS3
You may be familiar with HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) that is used for Web pages. HTML5 is the next major revision of HTML that will see wider adoption in 2011, both by Web designers and browsers. It will give web designers a real option other than flash for creating extraordinary design.
CSS3 is making short work of text shadow, border radius and image transparency. If you have not already begun, now is the time to really delve into understanding CSS3 and HTML5.
2. Becoming an online newsroom
The average visitor to a website has an attention span that ranged from 8 – 10 seconds. You have that very short amount of time to capture their interest and engage them further. Succeeding in that, you have another 2-4 minutes to present the relevant information your website has to offer. In 2011, changing to, what’s called, an editorial layout will help prevent losing viewers because they couldn’t relate to your website fast enough.
3. E-commerce on the go: Mobile
Too many mobile devices are incredibly popular for any website owner to ignore the need to be available on them. Your web designers should be creating an e-commerce website that works equally well on any medium users choose to view it, especially mobile ones. With the explosion of smart phones, iPads and other mobile devices, it’s clear they will soon be the main method for people to access the Internet, even when they’re home. Quickly adapt to this new wave or get lost under the current.
4. It’s a Touch Screen World
Find web designers and developers that know the current trends. Users will be looking for websites to cater more towards touch screens now. Since every device worth its circuitry has a touch screen, it only makes sense that websites reflect this change as well. There is no hovering on a touch screen, so how will your design indicate links to visitors? What about drop down menus? New ideas are necessary to make website easier to use for the average viewer.
5. Thumbnail Design
Everyone uses Google, so you know all about thumbnail browsing. While most other websites ignore this feature of Google search, yours can take advantage of it in 2011. No longer does one need to click on a link to find out what awaits them. If your design is Flash-based, that is definitely going to be a problem. The preview will not display those elements of your design. Judging a site by its thumbnail will become a common tactic for savvy web surfers.
6. Social Sharing
When people find you, how easy is it for them to share your website and its information with others? In 2011, it better be really easy or you need a redesign. Upon finding valuable information, a user better be able to digg it, tweet it, like it, and more. More and more customers are on social networks. Merchants will need to leverage their customers’ social connections to get share of mind in 2011.
Be prepared to succeed online in 2011 by partnering with a web design team ready for the New Year.
PRACTICAL MONTHLY WEB STRATEGY TIPS