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?
You might be a designer who has never really had to deal face-to-face with clients before, or you might be a client who is seeking design work for the first time. For whatever reason, talking about a graphic design portfolio can actually be a difficult and intimidating task – you don’t want to use terminology that the client won’t understand and you don’t want to insult their work after all.
The first thing to understand is that this is not easy, especially for designers, but it is certainly a good skill to learn. Try not to be afraid of making mistakes when discussing a portfolio; instead, treat each meeting as a training opportunity that teaches you what is and isn’t okay to say. For a designer, the aim is engage potential clients in your work. For a client, the aim is to gather more information.
Clients will like to discuss your graphic design portfolio because they are trying to determine whether you possess the skills to undertake their project, whereas designers will like to discuss it so that they can show you that their work is of a high quality. By being aware of these reasons, you can ensure that you don’t alienate the other party during the discussion and that you answer all queries.
Finally, you must be aware of how the person (or persons) you are speaking with is reacting to your comments. As a designer, watch for the clients’ reaction when you briefly explain a project that is similar to their own. As a client, look for the artist’s reaction when you ask them questions about their graphic design work or experience.
If your website has been hacked in the past, you will know better than most how much work goes into fixing the chaos that the hacker managed to wreak before they were caught. The question that arises in many people’s minds, however, is that they have chosen a reputable web development company to build their site, so how on earth did it still manage to get hacked?
- Your web host is vulnerable: More often than not, a number of websites that are all hosted by the same company will be hacked together. If this is the case, the problem lies with your web host, who is vulnerable; report hacked websites immediately.
- Your computer (or your developer’s computer) has been compromised: This is a reflection of the vulnerability of the computer and not the site itself; malware can be used to steal passwords and infect uploaded files that in turn affect the website.
- Your code is poorly written: If your web development company has not properly coded all aspects of your website (from its forms, dynamic pages and even its CMS), it is likely that security holes will result. Code should always be tested before being released.
- Your content management system has security holes: If your CMS has not been kept secure, it’s likely that a hacker has found holes that they have been able to exploit. Whenever the developer releases a new version, make sure you update.
Unfortunately, no website is going to be completely hacker-proof, even if you have the most reputable web development company in the world working on your code. But by ensuring that known of the above issues has arisen, you can take active steps towards making it as difficult as possible for hackers to gain access to your private information.
If this is the first time that you have been involved with the creation of a website, you might not have understood what members of the team meant when they mentioned the alpha and the beta stages of the web development process. These stages are actually part of the cycle that brings a website to life, and they are vital if you want to ensure that the client is happy with the finished product. So, what are the alpha and beta stages?
This stage is the part of the process that involves the web development team presenting their ideas to the client, who will then approve any ideas that they like and dismiss those that they don’t. This will not only include the design; the client also has final say on the functionality, layout and other elements of a website.
This stage is the part of the process that involves the website being coded and tested. The designs approved by the client in the alpha stage are coded so that they are completely functional on the internet; the client is then provided with a copy of what the website will look like and testing commences to make sure that everything is working as expected.
These are not, of course, the only stages involved in the web development process – there are many other steps that must be completed before and after the alpha and beta stages to ensure that the finished website meets the client’s expectations, including: the pre-alpha stage (which involves idea conception) and release stages (which involve the site being made ‘live’).
With more and more people accessing the internet from the smartphones, web developers are finding themselves required more and more often to create websites that cater to these devices. This creates a number of problems for developers who are forced to change the way that they work and code to ensure that smaller screens are catered for.
But how can web developers overcome these challenges and ensure that they provide a mobile-friendly experience with all projects that they work on?
- Customised CSS coding is a good way of adjusting the content of an existing website to fit onto a smaller screen.
- Create stylesheets that hide elements that are unnecessary for mobile users; this reduces the clutter of a smaller screen.
- Use the <viewport> meta tag to enable users to flip the website from portrait to landscape viewing.
- Download some of the tools on the market that enable developers to test how their websites are working in mobile and other small screens.
Even though the increase in the use of smartphone devices for internet browsing has created a number of challenges for web developers, there are a number of tools and techniques out there that enable these challenges to be easily overcome. With internet access via mobile devices expected to rise over the next few years, developers could use all the help they can get.