What's happening in Web Design? (Part 1)
12 January 2015

What's happening in Web Design? (Part 1)

Web design, web site layout and content has evolved rapidly over the last 12 to 18 months. So much so that even new websites, launched in the last few months, can look a little dated if following traditional web site layout and design rules. Whilst we understand that some clients are looking for a website design with a traditional look and feel. For clients looking for a website with a modern feel the following design elements are those we would implement to achieve this.

Hero areas replacing sliders as the focal web design element

If you asked the team at Webfuel what the number one trend in web design is today if would be hero areas.

A hero area is a term borrowed from print design and refers to the intro area of a website homepage and is often a large image with a small amount of text. Hero areas on website home pages are running rampant and it is a trend we don’t see going away for a while. They are replacing the real estate on website homepages that has traditionally been occupied by sliders and as they become increasingly creative are the new attention grabbers.

Long, scrolling websites

Users are now very comfortable with scrolling through a website to read and find information. A few years ago, it was common place to have long scrolling sites that were content heavy, for the purposes of seo. Now we are again seeing website designs incorporating long scrolling pages.

With responsive web design and the use of design techniques such as increased white space the content is more organised and in a much easier format to digest. A long scrolling website page doesn't have to be boring, using layout and colour changes as part of the design ensures the design changes up throughout, and users don’t realise how far they are actually scrolling.

Dropping the sidebar

A feature now becoming commonplace in web design, often in conjunction with hero areas and long scrolling website design is the omission of any kind of sidebar. This works very well for blog or magazine-type web site designs with many of these web sites dropping the sidebar completely. This allows for a more visual impact with content, easier responsive Web development and makes the reading experience more pleasant. Another reason for dropping a sidebar in modern design is the increasing number of users who are viewing websites on small screen mobile devices, where sidebars simply do not work.

Simplified content

Simpler content has dominated web design in 2014 and we suspect will continue to be a common feature of websites in 2015. Simplified content means short bursts of content. With the use of social media users are now accustomed to receiving information in compact packages and over the years as a population, our attention spans have become shorter. Web designers have compensated for this by putting content in short bursts instead of long narratives. Aside from blog posts, not many areas on websites these days have more than about 250 characters. This is because it is easier and faster to read for users who like to scan the page.

Part 2 of this blog post will be published in a few days ...

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