Nothing stays fashionable forever. If you don’t refresh the clothes in your wardrobe occasionally, your style will begin to look dated. If you haven’t swapped out the furniture in your home for a decade or more, it could even affect the value of your home when you come to sell it! Most of us know that, and yet we fail to apply the same logic to the design of our websites. Fashions and trends in web design change all the time, and if it’s been a few years since you underwent a revamp, the odds are that your website looks behind the times compared to that of your competitors and rivals.
Nobody is exempt from this rule. Even the biggest websites in the world have to make changes every now and then, as we’ve recently seen with Facebook and its brand new user interface. That means that every now and then, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and either change the look and feel of your site, or pay someone else to do it for you.
Redesigning a whole site can be a big job – especially if you don’t know where to start – but that’s what we’re here for! We ensure that we’re always up to date with what’s hot and what’s not in the world of web design, and here are five easy-to-pick-up trends that will help you make sure that your site sets the right tone for the 2020s.
Too many web designers spend all their time thinking about layout and images, and not enough time thinking about fonts. That’s a huge mistake because the text is what your visitors have come to your site to read – and it sends out a message about who you are and how you do business. That’s why all fashion websites have broadly similar typefaces – there’s a definite look and feel to fashion fonts. Right now, the trend is to have less text on your home page, but maximize the size of what’s there. All the text on the ‘first fold’ of your homepage should be large for two reasons; firstly, to catch the eye of your visitors, and secondly, so it’s easy to read and stands out from the background. Keep the finer details for ‘below the fold’ or other pages – speak in headlines on your homepage, and make those headlines big and bold so people don’t miss them.
Gone are the days when designers used to agonize over whether their site would look better with a bright background or a dark one. These days, the best approach is to design the site with both looks, and give your visitors a free choice. ‘Dark mode’ is everywhere now, from Twitter to YouTube and Facebook. Those enormous brands might have led the way, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t follow. The trend began on mobile phones, as sites used ‘dark mode’ as a way to allow people to browse their content without the strain of screen glare, but it’s since crossed over into desktop design as well. Introducing a ‘dark mode’ option is easy to do – just replace all your light shades with blacks and grays, and have a clickable tab at the top of your page which allows users to toggle between the two.
A modern website – especially one that’s connected to entertainment or design – shouldn’t be static. When you visit YouTube, you’ll notice that a brief preview of the video you’re about to watch will play when you hover your cursor over it. That’s the style you should replicate for your site. You may not have video content, but you should be able to have your static images or clickable content do something when your readers linger on it. Aside from YouTube, this is becoming an increasingly popular approach with online slots websites. It’s essential to the purposes of an online slots website to appear exciting and dynamic when someone visits the site with money to spend, and so either information about an online slots or a preview of the game in action often happens automatically when the cursor pauses over the ‘play’ button. Even if it’s just a pop up offering further information, put something there.
Soft shadows are an easy shortcut to making your site appear three dimensional. Whether it’s images or text, the appearance of a soft shadow behind or around your content makes it seem like it’s floating above the page, and provides a sense of depth. Flat websites look increasingly basic, but a fully three-dimensional website isn’t always desirable or appropriate for the effect you’re trying to achieve. Using soft drop shadows provides a ‘lighter’ 3D effect while at the same time allowing you to give emphasis to pieces of content that you particularly want the viewer to focus on. If you have a special offer or a new product you want to draw attention to, soft shadows are the easiest way to do it.
It’s generally not a good idea to make your website look too clinical, unless, of course, you’re running a clinical website. Having every edge of every image and page appear clean, sharp, and precise can have the unintended effect of making your site seem sterile and characterless. Tiny, deliberately-introduced imperfections can be the antidote to that effect. Examples of this in action we’ve seen recently include having text that slightly overruns onto an image, or using hand-drawn, scratchy icons and link labels instead of solid, professional images. The use of strategically-introduced, less-than-perfect imagery can make a creative website come alive, and communicate a sense of your personality to the person who sees them. We’re not saying you should allow your five-year-old child to draw the icons, but a little rustic charm never did anybody any harm.
None of these changes or trends should be difficult to introduce for a qualified web designer. We haven’t even suggested anything that couldn’t be achieved using the most rudimentary of tools available to you in WordPress. Experiment with your site a little, and have fun doing it. After all, if you can put a little fun into the process, that sense of fun ought to transmit to whoever visits your site in the future!