The web continues to grow and evolve and businesses and personalities from all walks of life are increasingly dedicated towards providing the perfect user experience for clients, readers and prospects. We understand now more than ever that a great user experience (UX) is oftentimes directly proportionate to sales and other conversion metrics. More data is proving that poor UX design negatively affects the earning ability of businesses online. 68% of website visitors give up on sites lacking in this department and typically every dollar invested in UX yields $100 in return for businesses. It’s a no-brainer.
That’s why web A/B testing is so crucial in figuring out what customers want and what works. Simply put, without investing in expensive tools, a quick shout-out to peers and customers via social media requesting opinions of your presentations can yield very insightful feedback. At the end of the day, it’s about making your audience happy; that’s the foundation.
For your inspiration, here are examples of trends in some of the most impactful areas of web design and UX that have taken over 2014 and will go beyond. Taking note and applying some of these should be worth the results regardless of your niche.
Developers and designers are becoming more liberal with the creation and use of fonts in web design. We’re no longer limited to the use of web safe fonts as technology permits us to woo users as aggressively as we see can dream. In addition, in the broad majority of trendsetters, we’re seeing a preference towards larger, simpler, responsive font styles for grabbing user attention. Nothing too fancy, minimalism works as seen in the example below.
Source – Mixd
Go Mobile or Go home
With Google leading the way with investing a vast portion of its resources on improving mobile experience for its users, we’re seeing a greater demand for quality here. As part of their mandate of providing beautiful, intuitive and sensible experiences for their users, we’re seeing a rise in the importance of companies adapting their online assets to mobile as it’s becoming more of a critical SERP ranking factor. The logic is this: if you don’t care enough for users to provide a decent mobile experience then you’re devaluing the Google search product when they use it to find the things they need. Google will work in favor of sites that fulfill that mobile experience need.
Over 1.2 Billion people now access the web via their mobile device; you do the math.
Less Text, Larger Images
Large pictures and background images are becoming more popular, opposed to using patterns for texture. And with the increased availability of retina screens, users are able to enjoy rich viewing experiences.
Images simply make things more interesting and Facebook proves that the use of images on the web and on social networks increases engagement and conversions.
Scroll Initiated Animation
Parallax based scrolling animation is taking over the web and arguably one of the most beautiful demonstrations of this design trend in action is on the Sony website where they breathtakingly animate the intricate details of the construction of some of their most popular products. You simply have to see it to believe it.
Another awe-inspiring example is on the Ronseal website where they ingeniously present the company’s history from the late 1700’s to present. Ronseal doesn’t necessarily have the sexiest products on sale or garner a horde of millennials clambering to buy their products, but their website and the magnificent UX will win over any.
Brands take note.
Highly Optimized Landing Pages
Deeply focused and conversion-centric landing pages are becoming an international standard for anyone trying to sell anything online or capture user feedback. One company was able to increase lead generation by up to 3,000% and an increase in digitally-driven revenue by 350% by employing the use of a strategic and comprehensive landing page program.
Landing pages when compared to traditional standard content pages perform better because of the focus on delivering only the specific content and calls to action necessary to elicit action from users. It’s a growing trend that is working wonders for businesses.
Flat User Interface
The use of flat design elements is another attractive trend which is taking over not just the web but traditional media. Beautiful and functional CSS3 has allowed designers to create much flatter buttons using natural box shadows, text shadows, or rounded corners. This flat UI pattern has transcended into form inputs, navigation menus, even animation and other forms of rich media.
Here’s an awesome video highlighting the differences between flat UI and UX and realism; rationalizing their application in modern web design.
I’ll be honest; I oftentimes criticized minimalist designs as the result of designers who were too lazy to spend time creating great content and experiences. It pained my heart to see an extremely generous use of white space. However, majority of the web has acquired a taste for it and depending on how you wish to present your products, minimal may be best.
In recent times, it takes talent to pull off a beautiful and attractive minimal design as it’s the result of strategic design directing the audience’s attention where the dollars are gained; managing the click flow.
Minimalism is great for getting users to complete very specific actions on-site, making ideas standout. Less is oftentimes more!
These are some of the most popular web design trends in use in 2014 that are certain to last for the years to come. As you experiment with design within your business, ensure that your decisions are driven by performance and the accomplishment of your KPI’s versus solely aiming for beauty; unless that helps you sell more stuff.