Last December marked 25 years since the very first website was launched, a website that is still ‘live’ today, created by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, for CERN – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.
A lot has changed since then in website design and, the same as with most other things in life, it’s all about trends.
But while trends in fashion, interior design and music tend to keep going around, that’s never likely to happen in web design on the Sunshine Coast – for good reason!
Web design firms are gearing up for some very important changes in website design on the Sunshine Coast as 2016 takes hold.
Whereas trends in fashion, food, music, movies and so on are largely based on taste and emotion, website design must respond to changes in technology, and in how we live and do business. And that’s why it has to be an ever-changing and fluid science.
Meeting user expectation
Web design firms have to be across it all – the latest technology, client expectations, user expectations and, of course, whatever Google is doing!
For example, during 2015 we saw Google update its search tools to favour mobile-friendly websites – itself a reflection of how we use the internet these days. Smart web design teams on the Sunshine Coast responded accordingly, tweaking their clients’ sites to fit the criteria.
Those websites that did not adapt risked sliding down the search-engine rankings.
The mobile-friendly trend will continue in 2016 in several ways, the underlying theme being KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!
As web design took off over the years and we suddenly had the tools to create fancy graphics and twirly headings, we went berserk! The more you could jam in the better!
But the need for sites to be mobile-friendly, and responsive, lead us back to the flat design trend that took off last year, and will continue to trend this year.
Again, taking a lead from Google, we know they flattened out their logo, getting rid of the bevels and changing the font, to make it cleaner, and easier to read on smaller devices.
Google also launched Material Design last year. That’s basically flat design, with a bit more movement and depth, and we will see a lot more of it in 2016.
Good design & innovation
Google says it came up with Material Design to create “a visual language for our users that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science”.
Whatever the reasoning, it works, and its use is already becoming apparent in website design on the Sunshine Coast.
What is becoming clear this year is that users are less bothered by what a site looks like in 2016, and more interested in how it functions.
Designers, however, are bothered about how their work looks, so there will be plenty of scope for creative and smart thinking this year.
Speed & efficiency
Out will go that complex typography that makes pages appear cluttered and hard to read. Stick to one or two.
That trend is also likely to see a reduction in complex load screens and overuse of images.
On that subject, web design firms are also changing the way in which pictures are used.
In what I believe is an excellent trend, we are seeing the use of one big hero shot on a page, immediately creating impact, minimalism and, of course, faster loading.
Galleries & slideshows
So as an offshoot of that we are likely to see greater use of galleries and slideshows, a very effective way of running multiple images without overloading the system – and the user.
A website design Sunshine Coast debate that’s likely to roll on through 2016 is the fact that a lot of websites are starting to look the same. But remember, this has a lot to do with the rise of WordPress sites and easy download themes. And it’s one of the many reasons why it is always better to engage a professional web design firm, rather than choosing the DIY approach.
While still simplifying the design to increase functionality, a website design expert on the Sunshine Coast knows ways of creating visual interest without slowing the site down – such as animation.
Animation is nothing new, of course, but we are likely to see some clever new techniques coming through over the coming months.
Other trends likely to continue and pick up speed in 2016 are module design and hamburger menus, while the big question of the year will be To Scroll or Not To Scroll.
Some say scrolling increases readership; others say short scrolls are better. And then there’s parallax scrolling.
Confused? That’s why the only way to stay on-trend is to talk to those in the know!
Simon Jones is a journalist and professional writer with many years’ experience in news reporting, editing and feature writing. Isobel writes extensively about trends in website design on the Sunshine Coast.