Why Simple Is Smart – Simplifying Web Design in 2017

A common mistake web designers make is allowing creativity to overpower functionality.  It’s a challenge to move outside the box, (or the grid) without leaving users confused about how to navigate a site, or frustrated with the difficulty of obtaining key information.  We want to create memorable exciting experiences, but you can’t be memorable if your website bounce rate looks like a trampoline.  Here’s a list of ways designers in 2017 are getting smarter about websites by keeping it simple. 

 

Stop Sliding, Go Bigger

Sliders used to be a perfect way to show more important information and CTAs without using up a lot of potential homepage real estate.  Unfortunately, our attention spans are getting shorter, and users don’t want to stick around waiting for a slider image to change.  Often readers want to digest information quickly to know if a company’s services align with their needs.  

Video content is king in 2017, it’s a great way to grab a viewer’s attention while providing an easily accessible wealth of information. For a more concise and direct message, stick to one main bold hero image.  Use sliders for functional parts of your website such as a menu, or a product image gallery, but don’t complicate your hero section.   

 

Toss Out That Burger

Burgers make mobile navigation simple, but for desktop use, readers are often left unsure where to go.  Last year there was a big shift to burger navigation, and it was assumed that users would grow more accustomed to using them.  The problem is viewers are often left unaware what lies beneath the burger, and site movement grows stagnate. 

Keep the burger for mobile, but switch back to a more standard navigation that is more recognized by users on desktop.  

 

Falling Flat is Still a Good Thing

As a creative type, it’s a natural impulse to want to wow your audience with lots of layers, and complicated imagery.  But the market is still demanding flatter design in 2017.

Flat design keeps messaging well organized by allowing your eye to glide from element to element. This year’s trends are transitioning from completely flat to semi-flat, meaning some extra details of shadow or layers are visible, but the design still maintains that minimalist look and feel.

Try simplifying your page elements with flatter graphics that allow users to easily grasp concepts and content. If you have already been going flat, add a few extra details to increase some depth to your design. 

 

More Negative Space 

Seeking positive conversion rates? Use more negative space. Large blocks of text, and a surplus of imagery can leave a user feeling impatient, and eager to move on without grasping your message.  Lots of great content isn’t useful if a reader is skimming each page without engaging.

Turn your CTA into a bullseye, by positioning negative space around your message to make it stand out.  Slim down bulky content, focus in on less images that say more to a user, and create larger margins.  Readers will find it less challenging to move through your site and stay interested when it’s broken down into more manageable sections. 

 

Being Effective Isn’t Using More Special Effects

Parallax scrolling took the standard scroll and made it more exciting and unpredictable with moving content, and shifting perspective.  While unpredictability can be enticing, it can also be confusing and overwhelming to a user.  Scrolling effects can be distracting and messaging is often lost from frame to frame when used in excess. It can also negatively impact your site’s SEO. 

If your web design is a complicated mess of moving parts, try eliminating some of the movement into a tamer version.

 

Designers in 2017 are moving away from the overzealous use of special effects and keeping it easy for readers to get information.

Laura Fernandes
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