It sure is a whole new world, isn't it? It seems like a short amount of time to have come such a long way from the dial-up days, and pages that looked like this:
There's pretty much only one answer to the question of why trends have progressed the way they have:
because of smart phones.
It was a mere couple of years ago that mobile users surpassed desktop users on the web. Now, billions of people across the globe are looking at their hand-held devices to surf, and the trends in web design clearly reflect that. One of the most noticeable (and beautiful) trends is:
The Long Scroll
Because of smart phones. And also because of the social media revolution, which completely altered how we consume content. Instead of having to trudge from page to page, many websites these days simply create a single page, broken into navigable sections. (Ahem, like Hazel Digital Media, for example.)
Though this practice has been around, 2016 is the year that this trend caught like wildfire. And although it's a reaction to the smart phone generation, there's no denying it makes for a beautiful product on laptops and desktops as well.
This also forces the creators of content to condense everything down into it's most concise, most presentable form, which is good for a generation of attention-deficient web surfers.
Because of smart phones. Does anyone else remember trying, at a glacial pace, to load pages on a flip-phone? Back in the ancient era of the early 2000's, if you were trying to have a mobile-friendly website, you actually had to have two separate websites. What a concept!
Instead of having a regular site and a mobile site, each with its own specific build and design, technology finally caught up. Responsive Design allows you to have a single website that modifies itself based on the specific device you're using to look at it. That means your website will be aesthetically stretched-to-fit, regardless of laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Sorcery, indeed!
This is another practice that, although becoming incredibly popular in 2016, HDM has been perfecting for years. We've had a lot to say about Responsive Design in the past, but check out our portfolio if you want examples in action: every site we make these days has the sleek versatility of Responsive Design.
What to look for in 2017
More sites like squarespace will continue to pop up. Sites like these have their advantages, but they also have their limitations.
Though users are technically able to customize certain cosmetic aspects of their out-of-the-box web site, it's not truly a custom web site. These sites are great for students, and can get the job done for those with a meager budget, but be aware of their generic nature.
The more people that begin to use services like these, the more it will force custom web designers to step outside the box, and create innovative new aesthetics and functions.
Look for more animation in 2017. You've probably already begun to notice little animations here and there all over the web. Thanks to innovations in design, it doesn't take nearly as long as it used to for animations to load (though you can still overdue it).
You may see drawings moving in the
background, or you may see icons rushing up to meet you as you scroll
down the Home page (ahem, like Hazel Digital Media, for example).
For our two cents, animation is at its finest when it's subtle, rather than in your face.
Yes, it surely won't be long until your smartphone can create holograms and transport matter. Until then, keep your eyes on the Hazel Digital Media blog for all the latest and best trends in web design.
To see some of these ideas in action, feel free to take a look at our Portfolio.
If you have any questions for us, we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to Contact Us today!