Modern web design for the 21st century is very different from what we were working with back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Simply put, we have come a long way in the last 15 years. The modern website is now the engine of modern business rather than just an electronic calling card or digital Yellow Page listing. And in order for a website to actually fulfill its mission-critical purpose, certain essential elements have to be included during the design phase.
Designing a website is a lot like building a world-class luxury resort. Designers must first figure out what their customers want for the best experience possible. Then they build multiple layers of code, one on top of another, to construct everything from the mechanics under the hood to the user interface that will eventually define the customer experience.
Like a luxury resort, a properly designed and constructed website will have visitors returning on a regular basis. Loyal visitors will tell others as well, driving traffic and improving the site’s online reputation.
There are five essential elements that should be part of every website online:
Modern web-surfers share the impatience of a child. They want information fast and bounce right away if the purpose isn’t served.
A minimalistic layout features clean web pages that aren’t stuffed with clutter. Clean pages emphasize what the user wants.
The website revolves around user-centric design philosophy that provides users a crux of what they are looking for while keeping the focus on limited information. Effective use of white space, informative videos over text, plain typography, and animations are some of the elements that form the part of the minimal approach in web designing.
The use of SVG or scalable vector graphics is booming and the designers that have ignored their significance still struggle with pixelated images when the website is resized at a certain zoom level. Incorporating SVGs in the web design enhances the overall impact of the page as they are resolution independent, have smaller file size, and improve the load performance of a website.
SVGs scale in size perfectly without compromising quality and are very well supported by all browsers, except internet explorer 8 or its earlier versions. However, even this matter can be resolved by converting SVG code into the format supported by Raphael.js.
Today’s impatient ‘infosnacker’ doesn’t want to scroll through your whole website. Surfers demand relevant information to finish an action as soon as they land on your page.
Companies or web designers that have understood the significance of a de-cluttered layout have effectively incorporated the Hamburger Menu (≡) or the ‘Navicon’ on the top corner of their website.
The Hamburger Menu offers clear and direct navigation and lets the users refer menu from any page of the website. Big brands like Ebay and Stella McCartney have integrated ‘Navicon’ in their web design to enhance the overall UX.
Not just that, the hamburger menu could also be seen on the top right of Google Chrome.
Big Hero Images
Big sized high-resolution images have become an integral part of the modern web design. Huge responsive images are being used as background or foreground of the websites to present the content in a crisp manner without putting too many words to it.
The websites with hero images win the focus of the visitors fast, as the arresting imagery put more impact and inspire them to explore more.
Personalizing content by utilizing information gathered through stored cookies isn’t something very new; however, the extent of personalization is increasing day by day to suit each visitor’s preferences. Web sites are focusing on creating an experience that is personalized as per the past behaviors of the customer. Using customer-specific information like location, browsing patterns, and buying history, allows the marketers to tailor the user experience of each visitor on their website and enhance conversions.
People are reluctant to read chunks of unneeded verbiage today as videos are more approachable to them and convey the value and vision of a brand in just a few minutes. By incorporating the videos that play automatically in the site background, you can offer the visitor a more engaging and influential interface without using any text.
It’s been a year since full-screen videos with vital text overlaid are in trend. They have enhanced the user experience and given many websites a modern look and feel.
Social Media Tie-Ins
Including social media tie-ins throughout website content reigned as one of the must-have web design trends in 2016. At the very least, a website’s homepage needs to provide the appropriate links to encourage visitors to share content on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Additional tie-ins might also be valuable.
For example, a website offering a tremendous amount of visual information may want to tie into Pinterest and Snapchat. YouTube is a good tie-in for sites with substantial video content, while LinkedIn is vital for business connections. To ignore social media is to ignore one of the most important marketing tools of modern web development.
Lastly, today’s web users expect a modern looking design in the websites they visit. A site that looks like it has not been updated since the 1990s is one that will not be taken seriously, regardless of the value of the information it offers. Therefore, essential web development builds on the mechanics of underlying code to create a visually appealing presentation that users find pleasing to look at.
That said, the visual presentation should never hinder performance. Numerous studies that were done over the years clearly show that website visitors who perceive it takes too long for a page to load will have no problem abandoning that page and moving on to another.
Modern website development is critical to the success of business. How is your site doing?
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Author: Anurag Gupta
Anurag Gupta works as an Entrepreneur for Weblink.In Pvt. Ltd. and has been instrumental in designing and implementing the company’s digital marketing strategy.