Web Design Tips for 2016

People can (and will) talk about SEO and AdSense and long-tail keywords until the cows come home, and though each of these are fundamentally important when constructing and maintaining a website, they should not be given overdue attention at the cost of crafting a top design for your site. Your site programming can be as smooth as silk, but if your pages are ugly, no-one is going to hang around.

Due to the ease in which one can set up a blog on WordPress with web hosts such as 1and1.co.uk, we are seeing more and more amateur and professional blogs making use of top-quality templates. If you are not using WordPress however, you will have to design your site alone.

web design

Crafting a design is more often than not more fun than the backend programming. That being said, it is just as intricate, and requires a considerable amount of thought. All great art is fashioned with certain regulations and boundaries in mind; the same applies for top web design. 2016 looks to be the year that the internet comes to host over a billion websites. The choice available to web surfers is vast. We have amassed some timely tips to help your web design attract visitors away from your competitors.

Responsive Design

Now that accessing the internet via a smartphone or tablet has become more commonplace than via a desktop computer or laptop, responsive design is no longer a trend, but a prerequisite for any website worth its salt. Responsive design essentially means a design that responds to the device from which it is being accessed. At face value, you may think that all which needs to be done is for the design to be squeezed a little so to fit upon a smaller screen. Naturally this is not the case.

For one thing, certain practical functions simply aren’t possible off a computer. For example, the process of provoking a response from a website by hovering over an icon, picture or piece of text, is naturally impossible to do on a touchscreen.

responsive design

What is equally important to consider is the potential open to web designers to make sites that are not just functional on smart phones and tablets, but beautiful too. The introduction of the ‘hamburger menu’ has been widespread. This is where a menu that appears in the form of tabs on a computer screen is condensed down to one icon (more often or not the three horizontal lines, hence the label ‘hamburger’) which expands when clicked upon. Deep pages, whereby one simply has to scroll down to access the majority of the site content as opposed to opening brand new shallower pages, has also become common.

Customer-Centric Web Design

The term ‘User Experience’ is most commonly associated with Jakob Nielsen, a pioneer in web development and user interface. User Experience, or UX, encompasses all aspects of a user’s interaction with a company, its service, and products. For our purposes, it is highly applicable to web design.

customer centric design

Though the best web designers have always kept UX in mind, this will only become more pronounced in 2016. Customer-centric design will see webmasters, designers and programmers envisioning a site visitor or customer’s journey through a site, to allow for the utmost ease and efficiency on every page. Don’t make your visitors work to get something out of your site. There are plenty of other websites around that they can bounce over to in a heartbeat.

Cinemagraphs and Illustration

Pictures and videos are always popular. It is easy to find plenty of both that draw people in and, unlike text, require utterly no effort on the part of the site visitor. That being said, both come with drawbacks. The burgeoning of Pinterest has seen its use of picture tiles being taken on board by a score of other sites (see Lonely Planet’s for example). This has led to image overload. As for videos, they take up a lot of webspace and can slow down your site loading time.

Because of this, in 2016 we welcome cinemagraphs and illustration onto the scene. The former is a photograph with one segment of the image crafted into a seamless, kinetic loop. They look beautiful, require no time to buffer, and take up very little webspace. Illustrations are rising in popularity too, injecting a personal touch to websites and an antidote to photo-overdose.