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This list is a summary of the web design tips we believe are relevant for 2015.
- Mobile First
There is no doubt that responsive web design is an absolute requirement now. The range of devices and the time we all spend using them demands that we design websites that are completely functional on mobile phones and tablets. There are a number of web design frameworks that employ a mobile first methodology; our favourite is Bootstrap.
- Simple Flat Web Design
The current trend for web design is to use flat colours without drop shadows or gradients. We see this through user interface design including iOS, OSX, Windows and some Linux distributions. Simple and clean is here to stay.
- Full Page Photo Sliders
This is a trend that provides instant visual appeal. The use of very large and high quality photography can sum up your product or service in a second, before the visitor has an opportunity to read an opening statement. Keep to 2 or 3 images though as you don’t want to slow load times down.
- Video Backgrounds
A relatively new technique is to use video backgrounds within wide bands or sections with text or a call to action floating over top. Video backgrounds can also be used as the ‘hero’ banner visible when the homepage loads. Video loops under 30 seconds are now quite achievable with relatively small file sizes and are a great way to add movement and enhance your brand.
There are so many new web design icon sets available that there is simply no reason not to include some as visual clues within your web design. If you can articulate a message or direction by using an icon then do so. Icons help to keep web design clean and professional. Just make sure you are using icons that match your corporate identity.
- Large Maps
The use of maps within websites has been commonplace for some time. There is nothing worse that a small map on your contact page that is difficult to navigate within and can be very frustrating to the website visitor. Make them big. Full screen width and as deep as necessary so a user can zoom, scroll and use it properly.
- Type Size & Font Choice
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older or that usability is becoming more of a concern globally but type sizes have increased recently. It’s common the see body text at 14px now where as only a few years ago it would be 11/12px. It probably has something to do with mobile device use as well. Make your type legible. Titles can be large and body text can be reasonable too. In terms of font choice there is really no reason to stick to Arial or Verdana anymore. So many fonts are available via online services that you are really play with the way your type looks in your website design.
I’m honestly tired of grey, black and white. Let’s get some real colour into our web design layouts in 2015. Strong, vibrant and full of imagery.
- Caching & Content Delivery Networks
While not strictly related to web design but very much related to how your website performs, caching and use of a CDN is really mandatory now. There are very affordable solutions that will see your sites load times at a fraction of what they were previously if you tune your website to perform. Speed is very much key to online success.