With 2015 drawing to a close in the next few months, we thought it was time to take a look at the web development trends that emerged and blossomed over the year. We also believe that these trends will continue on into 2016 and beyond, as they’re all about making the user experience more enjoyable. And it’s no surprise – we have seen how user engagement can make or break a website.
- ‘Flat’ Design
A trend that has been gaining momentum since 2014, ‘flat’ design offers a clean and simplified style that is popular because it allows for optimised performance on mobile devices.
- Background & Full Screen Videos
We prefer to watch than to read, so it is much easier to tell your story and create emotion with motion graphics than it is with paragraphs of text. This has resulted in more background and full screen videos.
- Mobile Apps & Social Media
We have actually seen websites become less important, as users are spending more time using apps (such as games) and browsing social media. Content is being shared more and more often on these platforms.
- Interactive Webgraphics
Over the year, we’ve actually seen static infographics be replaced with interactive webgraphics. These allow the user to interact with the content, which builds a more engaging experience.
Basically, this is the name given to small interactions that help to accomplish a single task (such as posting a status or liking something). These interactions encourage engagement.
- Less Coding, Yet More Websites
We have actually seen a decline in coding because new tools have been released onto the market that allow pretty much anyone to create websites without coding.
- Big Images & Video
The time of carousels and sliders is no more. Instead, we’re seeing a lot more ‘hero areas’ in the form of big images and video. Ghost buttons is another trend that is emerging.
- Better Responsive Design
There can be no denying that responsive design has been a must for a number of years, but now the focus is more on improving performance. Include only the necessary elements and ensure they are optimised.
- Functional Web Typography
The need for more functional, responsive and versatile typography has also become apparent. Whilst designers had already embraced web fonts, larger type and variety has been common over 2015.
So, which of the above web development trends have you incorporated into your website this year? If you haven’t incorporated any or if you feel that there is still some room for improvement, remember that it’s never too late to start. As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, we believe that these trends will continue to evolve in 2016, so what are you waiting for?
Before we get into the pros and cons of responsive websites, we thought it was important to first explain what they actually are. Basically, this is the name given to a website that automatically resizes itself based on the screen resolution it is being viewed on. There may be 3 columns on a desktop, which condenses down to 2 on a tablet and then down to 1 on a smartphone.
- You can eliminate clutter on smaller devices (such as smartphones), as you only have room to display the most important information.
- There are higher chances of your website leading to more conversions, as all sorts of customers can access your product or service.
- You can cater to the significantly large (and continuously growing) audience who are browsing on mobile devices more regularly.
- Visitors to your website will receive the same quality browsing experience across different browsers and devices.
- As it is still a single website entity, you can use the same SEO strategy and won’t need separate ones for each screen resolution.
- You won’t have to manage multiple websites, which can greatly reduce your time and maintenance costs.
Link can easily be shared via social media across devices (previously, a link shared via desktop could not be opened on a mobile device).
- As the website automatically resizes itself, you don’t have to worry about designing a whole new site every time a new device is introduced.
- If the design has not been done properly, it may not look great in smaller devices (navigation is especially difficult to set out).
- Loading time for mobile devices is usually higher, as HTML and CSS code that isn’t being used must still be downloaded.
- As it is still a relatively new concept, only limited resources are available and it may take a while to find solutions to problems.
Even though there are certainly advantages and disadvantages associated with responsive websites, it is important to consider the needs of your users when determining whether responsive is the way to go or not. As a side point, it is also worth noting that Google now penalizes websites for not being mobile-friendly, which could have a significant impact on your rankings.
There are a number of reasons why a web designer would want to use an HTML5 template, the key one being that they need a little assistance in kickstarting a project. If you have never used a template before, you might be unaware of how to find a good one. We have shared 5 of the best template providers that will have you designing for HTML5 in no time.
This is a mobile-first template that has been designed to deliver premium experiences on mobile devices. The provider also offers support for tablets and desktops, allowing you to ensure that the website looks great on all platforms. One of the main reasons this provider is so popular is that it forces you to think about what content is important.
- HTML5 UP
The increase in better platforms and devices has meant a greater need for crosstesting. This has resulted in a flow of fully responsive, fail-proof HTML5 templates that require little to no coding. HTML5 UP is perfect for designers who are short of time or are after high quality results but actually have very little knowledge of front-end code.
This provider is a little different to the others in that it allows you to select a base template, then allows you to select other features that you would like to include (such as Google Analytics, Robots.txt and .htaccess configurations). It also offers support for HTML5 Boilerplate and Bootstrap, which is good to note.
This provider actually offers a pretty impressive collection of over 800 responsive HTML5 templates, which are ready for designers to implement in their projects. The website also offers a good variety of designs that are ready to download in a single client, which is perfect if your skills in the field are practically nonexistent.
- W3 Layouts
This provider offers plenty of great templates that are sure to give your website a good responsive starting point. To make your life easier, all of the designs have been split into categories so that you can browse how you like. The designs have also been optimised for both mobile and desktop browsing for your convenience.
Regardless of the reason you are looking for an HTML5 template, we hope that the above list of providers helps you to find exactly what you’re looking for. These templates are suitable for both web designers with little code knowledge and the general public who would like to tackle website projects on their own. Happy browsing and good luck with your endeavour!
If you own a small business, we are sure that you have already realised that traditional marketing can be a real drain on your funds. If you are looking for ways to connect with a wider audience, we think that social media marketing could be just the solution! We have shared seven steps that you should take to ensure that your social media strategy works for you.
- Do your homework
Social media is all about connecting with your audience on a genuine level, so you should start by defining your audience. Determine three main marketing messages that you want to convey to your audience.
- Coordinate your channels
Treating each social media platform as a stand-alone campaign will limit your success. Prominently display your social icons in the header or sidebar of your website, integrate live feeds and include share buttons.
- Always start small
Whilst you might be excited to jump right in, social media takes time and energy. Start small and with a manageable load – start with one or two platforms and dedicate a block of time each day to work on your strategy.
- Listen and share
Be sure to respond to comments, mentions and feedback – even if they’re negative. To avoid getting bogged down, file away content that you think will be interesting to share so it is easy to find at a later date.
- Create daily plans
Make a list of the activities you plan to do each day – comment on and/or link content on three Facebook pages, tweet and re-tweet three to five times per day, and join groups to target specific demographics.
- Boost with advertising
If you want to accelerate your social media performance, it’s worth looking into paid advertising options. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all offer paid or sponsored advertising options to get your brand out there.
- Lather, rinse, repeat!
This last step is actually the most important – make sure you measure and analyse your results. Google Analytics is a great for this, and make sure you regularly take a step back to assess how things are working.
Whilst using social media in the promotion of your startup or small business is certainly going to be beneficial, it is important to think of it as a marathon rather than a sprint. It’s going to take time to set up your campaign and then to see results, but if you are organised and persistent you will start reaping the benefits very shortly. We wish you luck in your social media endeavours!
As we move fully into April (and mid autumn) we thought it was time we looked at some of the fantastic resources that web designers and web developers have been tapping into over the first quarter of 2014. These resources are still very valid in this industry, so jump on board today!
- Cerberus – With more people viewing emails on their smartphones, it is important to ensure that your email displays nicely and is readable. This resource is compatible with Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo.
- StackIcons – Whilst we can typically only assign a single colour to a font, this resource is sophisticated enough that every part within the icon is adjustable. And the icons come in multiple shapes!
- StickUp – This is actually a jQuery plugin that makes your elements stick to the top of the browser window. It means that, no matter how much you scroll down, the stuck element is still visible.
- Type Scale – This resource is the perfect tool for font scaling. You can set the base font size, font weight, font family, preview text and the scaling method – then get the results immediately.
- WP Job Manager – If your website has been built using WordPress, then you can build a job board! This resource adds a new menu to your Dashboard, allowing you to add new job listings and information.
Whilst there are plenty more resources out there that web designers and web developers alike can take advantage of, we hope that you take a moment or two to check out some of the ones above for yourself. You might just find that they are exactly what you have been looking for.