The school holidays have been and gone… and although we’re clinging to the last rays of sunshine and hoping for an Indian summer, here at Plinkfizz HQ we’re already looking ahead to 2017.
As well as planning next year’s fantasy holiday destination (Hawaii here we come!), we are also looking at how we can get the best out of our website designs in 2017.
The world of web moves at a similar pace to Usain Bolt, so if you’re not moving forward with your website’s functionality, content and style, you will soon find yourself three steps behind your competitors.
So what should you be considering to keep your website on trend and at the forefront of innovation?
The use of cinemagraphs has become more widespread over the last 12 months. Sitting firmly between a flat image and a video, they add a sense of wonder through movement and don’t eat up bandwidth in the same way a greedy video would.
The art of creating a cinemagraph is to isolate specific movements in a continuous loop. By doing this we can tell a story, highlight a moment and put the focus on the product, brand or experience.
These powerful visuals enhance the desired mood of a website and mesmerise your audience. They set a scene and tell a story. Imagine capturing a still image of a group of friends sitting laughing around a campfire – an emotive image itself but through cinemagraph technology we can allow the flames to flicker and glow, adding a real atmosphere.
They also drive engagement. Research has shown that Cinemagraphs can drive click through rates five times more than static images.
2. Parallax adoption
Parallax has been huge in 2016 and we forecast that this trend will only continue into 2017. If you’re not familiar with parallax, it is a way of bringing movement and depth to your site. When scrolling, different elements of the site move at different speeds and fall into and out of frame to allow for an immersive web experience.
Parallax provides a perfect setting to tell your story. It creates an immersive experience that user’s can explore at their own pace. Static elements can be brought to life, drawing attention to important elements and creating an exciting user journey.
The use of parallax on a site allows for a much greater sense of user engagement. By putting your visitors in charge, they take an active role in their interaction with your site and are more positive and more open. There is a degree of ‘what will happen next’ as the user takes a journey through your site. Along the way parallax can highlight and guide the user to your call to action.
3. Custom made illustrations
It’s all too easy to grab an icon from an existing vector pack or a stock illustration to save time and money, but originality, personalisation and authenticity improve customer engagement, provide a deeper level of trust and will give you a far better return on investment in the long run.
We all crave authenticity. Our natural preference is for genuine leather, solid oak, no artificial colours, authentic Italian cuisine and original art.
Using illustrated elements as part your website communicates personality and originality and creates a unique and distinct look. Whether you create an illustrated background, a sketched font or a hand drawn icon, authenticity gives your brand personality. It’s that personality and authenticity that people buy.
4. Extensive use of videos and graphics
Video is already huge and it’s set to continue.
Reports suggest that by 2018, 79% of all consumer internet traffic will be video and 50% of all mobile traffic is already video based. At some point it will completely dominate the web and all online content.
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words and watching videos or looking at graphics is easier than reading text.
With this in mind, many companies have been integrating videos and graphics to their website designs to make them more attractive and engaging.
A moving image instantly captures the users attention, drawing them in and making them more interested in your story. Using sound and movement appeals to the senses and hold’s the viewer’s attention for longer than static imagery.
It’s such a huge trend that those who don’t embrace it are likely to be left behind by their competitors who do.
We think this example produced by Eyeforce is simply awe inspiring.
5. Enlarged category list and navigation
Now an established web design trend, the enlarged category list and navigation is here to stay.
These two equally important things are the first elements of a site that an online user notices, so if the product or service they’re looking for isn’t in the relevant or expected category, they will lose interest immediately. The last thing you want is continuous bouncing from your site.
The right design will help you to attract and target more customers.