A website is a powerful, robust, and flexible marketing tool for any business. It is a platform that can reach millions of people, without huge spending on advertising.
The company has total control over the content. This gives tons of flexibility to the marketing team. They can use it to showcase products and services. Blogs and whitepapers are also fantastic ways to build authority in the industry.
So, an impactful business website should have some critical elements. The content should be relevant and provide enough information on the business. Pages must be fast loading and easy to navigate.
An e-commerce website design has specific requirements. Such include the proper arrangement of page elements to allow for easy browsing. Think of it much like an aisle or counter arrangement in a brick and mortar establishment.
There must be a contact page for anyone who needs to reach the company. Tech-savvy companies are integrating some technologies to improve the user experience.
AI chatbots, for example, assist customer service. Voice search provides convenience to online visitors. It works well for those who prefer to speak rather than type requests.
But, there is so much more to website design. Our article explores some trends that could have a significant impact on a business.
Why Web Design Matters
Why should web design be such a big deal? In seeking answers, we spoke to Chromatix web design and conversion agency founder and CEO Irwin Hau. The Melbourne-based digital agency has been in operation since 2009.
This is what he had to say. “Web design is more than the act of putting together different elements. There must be a thought process behind everything the web designer does.”
He goes on to say; “a business website is a robust sales tool. It needs an engaging design, and user engagement persuasion techniques to achieve ROI. The web designer must have a good grasp of human psychology and human behavior to achieve this.”
The business website design matters because it should elicit a specific response. Think engagement, interest, interaction, persuasion, and finally conversion.
“Staying on top or in the know about the latest trends is not negotiable. It is a requirement for modern web design companies. There is so much competition, noise, and clutter in the online space. The designer will be doing the client a disservice in using outdated practices,” concluded Chromatix CEO Irwin.
We went on to ask the web design specialist what he felt were some impactful business website design trends. Read on to see what they are.
1. Accessibility is Taking Center Stage
We will place accessibility as the number one trend for business websites. To make it in the business world you must reach everyone.
That means taking into account people who may have disabilities or specific impairments. The site should cater to those with visual, hearing, or mobility challenges.
Screen readers, special keyboards are some elements that can help. Others are descriptive alt text in images and easy-to-read fonts. What you may not know is that your business can get into trouble if you do not consider accessibility.
There has been a significant rise in lawsuits within the last few years. In the US, there were 11,053 cases in 2019. One case involved a blind man suing Domino’s because he could not use the website.
Federal agencies have been on the receiving end as well. Such include Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG), standardize compliance and accessibility issues. What we are calling a trend right now, may very well become a must-have feature on all business websites.
2. Technology in Web Design
Business owners need to take time to understand the online user. The first thing is that there is so much content in the digital space. Competitors are doing all they can to get to the target audiences.
The modern, tech-savvy consumer is more demanding. Your offering must evolve beyond the basic product or service offering. What do you have that will set you apart from everyone else?
The competition is now revving up. It is becoming commonplace to find some of the latest technologies in web design. Such include:-
- AI chatbots to assist with customer service. Online visitors get prompt responses to queries or concerns. The chatbots can also recommend products, based on past purchasing behavior. They are also a fantastic way to collect data that helps in decision-making.
- Voice assistants provide convenience on the website. They help in communication, fulfilling orders, and responding to other customer demands.
- Voice search for those who prefer not to type out requests.
- Virtual and artificial intelligence to provide immersive shopping experiences. Customers use the technologies to explore products without touching the tangible item. You can try on makeup virtually before deciding what to buy. IKEA has an AR app that allows you to pick and arrange furniture in a virtual room. It helps customers in decision-making. It is easier to buy when they see what the pieces will look like once in position.
3. The Mobile-First Approach to Website Design
The reality for businesses is that many people use mobile devices to browse the internet. Research shows that as of 2020, there were over 4.28 billion mobile internet users.
Without a doubt, the number will keep on increasing. The figures show that mobile internet traffic stands at over 55%.
Astute web designers realize the importance of a mobile-first approach. That means they design for small screens and scale them to larger ones. The whole idea is to get the layout right for mobile devices first.
And, search engines like Google use mobile-first indexing. That means they base their ranking on how the website looks on such devices. When designing for mobile there are some critical things to have in mind.
The design should be intuitive and simple. Navigation and links must respond to finger scrolling. Font sizes should be easy to read. Image sizes should allow for quick loading while maintaining clarity.
4. Minimalism is Here To Stay
If there is one web design trend that remains relevant year in year out, it is minimalism. Just look up the best web design trends, and it is sure to come up.
Minimalistic web designs are attractive for various reasons. They scream professionalism, simplicity, and elegance. Web designers incorporate a lot of white space for a non-cluttered look.
It all goes back to Chromatix CEO Irwin’s position of understanding human psychology. White space is inviting and provides a subtle nudge for the online user to browse through the pages.
Think about it much like you would visiting a brick-and-mortar store. How likely are you to stay if everything is everywhere? The clutter will evoke feelings of confusion and disorientation. Yet, the typical human mind appreciates order. That is why clean aisles with lots of space bring in a calm feeling.
Minimalistic designs aid in easier browsing. The online visitor views each unit independently. Crowding elements together forces the eyes and mind to view them together as one.
But, put some space between each element. The eyes pick and concentrate on each one. It provides a fantastic way to communicate without distractions. The right positioning of elements like CTAs can elicit the right response.
5. Ultra Minimalism is Replacing Minimalism
The beauty of web design trends is that they keep on transforming. While minimalism is here to stay, a new concept is creeping in. And, that is ultra-minimalism. Think about it as an extreme version of minimalism.
The website design team only includes the most basic elements. Think minimalism, then slash it down to 75% or less. Remember the white space we talked about? Now, add a little more blank space. Color use should typically not exceed two tones. Forget lengthy paragraphs, excess details, and so on.
For the business, you get to achieve so much. The most obvious is a professional-looking website that is clutter-free. You also get fast loading speeds because of the few elements on the site. Communicating with audiences is pretty simple with such designs.
And, you get the opportunity to draw their eyes to the products or services, without any distractions. The web designer will focus on elements that spark interest and make you want to click on the site.
6. Dark Mode Adds an Element of Mystery
There is something so mysterious and alluring about the dark mode. It evokes feelings of drama and curiosity while being very attractive. Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are some of the forerunners in its use.
Some people find that dark mode makes screen reading more comfortable. There may be no substantive research to support this. But, those who use mobile devices for long sessions find it more comfortable.
And now, the trend is finding its way to e-commerce website designs. There is so much flexibility, allowing for tons of creativity. The right combination of contrasting colors will make images and fonts pop.
Those who are not ready to make the full transition have alternatives. Such include night shift or low light interfaces. That means the user can adjust the setting depending on the light. Providing toggling options is a great way to get people to engage better with the website pages.
Is the dark mode for everyone? We would say no, but it depends on your target audience. Younger audiences, millennials, and Gen Z would gravitate towards such a site. It has a ‘cool’ factor that is sure to catch their interest.
7. Custom Images Increase Engagement
It is not uncommon to find the same images on many websites. To cut costs, some designers will suggest to the client the use of stock images. Such are pretty inexpensive. And you also have the option of free ones on platforms like pixabay.com and unsplash.com.
But, web design companies are starting to offer clients the option of custom images. There are several options available.
- The first is image treatment. The web designer tweaks or customizes photographs using different treatments. They can include shapes, layers, textures, or colors onto existing photographs. The resulting image is unique to your business website.
- Another option is to use illustrations. The web designer has complete freedom to ‘draw’ images that fit into the design aspects.
- Collage images combine graphics with images. Done in the right way, it provides a powerful way to communicate
- Cartoon characters are playful and fun
- Organic or abstract shapes bring more depth to the pages. Forget straight lines to break sections within the page. Directional wavy lines are a fun and easy way to pull the visitor’s eyes to specific parts within the page.
Taking this approach frees you from the copy and paste culture that exists in the digital space. There is no limit to creativity, which increases engagement.
8. Movement Makes Things More
Image source: https://www.vertbase.com/
The other interesting trend is to add some movement to the website. The advantage is you increase interaction and engagement with whoever is on the site.
There are so many ways to achieve movement including:-
- User triggered micro animations like hover effects
- Shifting shapes or icons
- Floating elements to remove the rigidity of static layouts
- Dynamic scrolling
- Embedded videos, and so much more.
Keeping an eye on web design trends is always very interesting. Some manage to remain relevant year in year out. One of the golden oldies that still trumps newbies is minimalism. It is a safe option for any business that wants a professional-looking site.
But, some new designs show signs of a progressive company. Before making major changes, have a good understanding of the target audience. Gen Z is more accepting of change than older generations.
The latter find safety in the familiar. So, if your business targets such groups, some trends may not be for you.
The best piece of advice we can give is to consult a professional web development and design company. They have relevant experience to advise you on the best options. Consider the cost of hiring experts as an investment towards the success of your company.