With approximately 1 billion websites across the World Wide Web begging for our time and, more importantly, our engagement, we immediately and often subconsciously make decisions on how much to invest into a website when we first come across it. These decisions can be based on content, design, and usability.

A survey by Adobe found that 38% of visitors will leave a website if the content and or layout is unattractive. In other words, you could be losing sales or referrals simply because your website isn’t appealing to look at. So let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here are five of the latest trends in digital design that, when incorporated the right way, will help keep visitors engaged with your site and your brand.

Flat and Material Design

As minimalism takes hold in many facets of life – from fashion, to tiny houses, to interior design – it has also gained favor in digital design. Flat designed websites emphasize bold colors, crisp visual elements, and strong typography to succeed. Without these elements, it could simply fall flat – in the uninteresting kind of way.

Pioneered by Google, material design is a recent evolution of this trend and adds a more creative and dramatic effect to flat design. Through light and shadow elements, responsive animations, and grid-based layouts, designers have more style options to work with to create a welcoming and engaging experience for visitors. While material design was originally created for Google’s Android system several years ago, more recently it has become more popular in web design.

Websites designed along these lines – flat or material – scale seamlessly from desktop to mobile, see faster loading times, and have exceptional readability due to the crisp typography.

Mashable_Flat Design
Mashable.com

Bright Colors

Much like minimalism, bright colors have also infiltrated many aspects of our lives. In the past, bright colors were often relegated to creative websites and seen as less than professional, but now they are gaining favor across mainstream websites, as the benefits are better understood. For instance, bright colors create obvious connections and changes between sections of content or topics. Additionally, with an increased use of monitors and mobile phones using 24 and 32 bit displays, designers are no longer limited to using the traditional 216 “web safe colors” as they were in the past. This advancement in technology allows for more specific color options – millions actually – to draw a visitor in.

ClimateRealityProject_Bright Colors
ClimateRealityProject.org

Larger than Life Photography

The traditional image sliders we’ve seen for years are out; big, beautiful photography is in. As technology advances with faster bandwidth speeds and improved image compression, frustration over slow load times for large images has practically disappeared, opening the door to this trend. Full-screen images have the ability to instantly grab a visitor’s attention and create deep emotion. This trend presents itself with the photography as the center of attention or used as a background image. Overlaying a large image with a bright color allows text to pop out and creates a strong one-two punch.

Lobagola_Photography
Lobagola.com

Long, Infinite Scroll

Social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, conditioned us on infinite scroll. Prior to the meteoric rise in popularity of these social networks, there was a strongly held notion that the most important content had to be “above the fold,” a holdover from the days when everyone read printed newspapers. This design concept works best with images and headlines to quickly identify and consume content that is of particular interest to the visitor. Infinite scroll simplifies website architecture and encourages users to interact with more content than they might otherwise.

Visit Maine_Infinite Scroll
VisitMaine.com

Eye-catching Animation 

Gone are the days when animation relied on GIFs (limited capabilities, large files) and Flash (requiring a plug-in incompatible with a large percentage of devices). Today, CSS and JS (two coding languages) are used together to produce smooth animations, which load quickly and produce eye-catching movements that seamlessly add dimension, without distraction, to the overall experience. The shaking of a pop-up when you enter the wrong password is a basic, and common, example of animation that enhances user experience. However, the movement of images or other visual elements can also guide a visitor through the content of a website, as demonstrated by the website for Seattle’s Space Needle. The key with animation today is that it serves a purpose and elevates the experience without creating a distraction.

http://www.spaceneedle.com/home/

SpaceNeedle.com

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