Saturday, 18 October 2014 22:35

2014 Web Design Trends That Actually Make a Difference

Trends happen, especially in changeable realms such as website design and optimisation. Some end up staying; others fortunately fade out, giving way to more effective ways of designing websites. This year, there are obvious trends. We've found that quite a few of them have actually helped improve a website's usability, effectiveness and search engine optimisation.

Design With Retina Display In Mind
With a lot more people using their smartphones to go online, you now need to consider how your website will look on retina display. In the past, the trend was to lower image resolution as much as possible. The limit was 200 ppi.

Today, your website needs to jump out from the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. Dull design is likely to increase your bounce rate. So, updated web designers in Penrith and other regions have taken to using images with higher resolution.

In addition, newer more responsive designs have ditch skeuomorphism in favor of flatter designs. This is because Apple's iOS7 favors flat interfaces. Skeuomorphism makes use of a lot shadows, gradients and similar design elements to add texture to surfaces. The trend now favors clean and functional designs, instead of elaborate ones.

Design Responsive Websites, Instead of Mobile Versions
There was a time when website design costs doubled because not only did you need to design for desktops. You also needed to design mobile versions and redirect hits from mobile devices to these versions. That's a lot of time and funds wasted even when, most of the time, mobile versions didn't have as much functionality as their desktop counterparts.

The trend now moves toward responsive design. Responsive design considers the contextual experience of the viewer. It adjusts to your device, screen size, and browser, among other factors. This creates a better experience for the user. At the same time, Google and other search engines “reward” websites with responsive designs since it's presumed that the design lessens load time and decreases the possibility of duplicate content.

So, when you get your website designed, start with mobile computing in mind. And then, work on “the usual” from there.

Text and More Text? Not Anymore!
There is also a move toward lesser text on web pages. This does not mean an end to optimised web content and content marketing, of course. It just means that readability and “stickiness” are key. To do this, you need to incorporate a lot of visuals in your website. Instead of blocks of text, you need to organise your content into readable portions, accompanied by images, videos, infographics, and the like.

Text content should not be shunned, of course. This is still very important for any website, be it text-driven or visual. But, you need to consider the short attention span of people online. Images and videos make you web page more engaging. It keeps the focus on what you're trying to say. Infographics, on the other hand, tells your story in a more visual way – which is how many users now prefer their data served.

When you do this, don't forget to optimise for search engines. No matter how advanced search engines seem to become, they still can't see images and videos. They rely on meta content to know what you're trying to show on your web page.

Optimise, Yes; But Not Through Copywriting
In the past, webmasters who wanted to optimise their websites turned to SEO writers who could churn out hundreds of words at a time, usually for the price of a pint of beer. Text content was stuffed with keywords. Meta content was likewise stuffed with keywords.

With Google's crackdown on content for SEO sake, it is a bad idea to write text content with SEO in mind. After all, you have to think about your real audience: humans. So, when you write, write engaging readable content. Keep your keywords in mind but only use them naturally. In writing content that focuses on your target market, you will logically use keywords that they search for, anyway.

Use your content to get your message across. That's the whole point of it, after all. Develop your branding and engage your target market.

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