Our Favorite Website Design Trends of 2016
In the beginning of the Digital Age, financial advisors and other small business owners thought of their website as a place to gather all the information their customers would need. They were text-heavy, full of cumbersome elements, and bogged the viewer down with overwhelming content.
Today, we approach websites a little differently. Rather than focusing solely on practicality, designers and marketers now focus more on branding. Your website is a chance to set the tone of your business, evoke feelings and trust in your visitors, and motivate them to reach out. While it may seem like today’s websites have less content and information, they are actually doing more than the early websites; they are a snapshot into the artistry and distinction of your firm.
Our Vice President of Content and Creative Services, Brandon Brown, has extensive knowledge of website trends. “Today, designers use aspects such as minimalism, long scrolling, and big, full-width images to provoke viewers’ emotions. Fewer elements often correlate to more emotion, and more elements are often used solely for functionality.”
Recently, we have seen the “less is more” mantra really gain traction with website design. Minimalist design is the practice of adding less elements and simplifying the user interface to guide visitors where you want them to go and evoke emotion as they are viewing your site.
One benefit of minimalist websites is that it emphasizes content and images instead of distracting elements.
For example, our Newport Theme features three boxes on the homepage that link to interior pages. The boxes only have one line of text and are under a striking image. This example of minimalism directs the visitor to the most important elements on the site without being overwhelming. Some other minimalist design ideas are:
- Big, bold text
- Contrasting colors
- White or negative space
- Symmetry or asymmetry
Another emerging trend is long scrolling, which is when there are multiple sections on a web page that can be seen by scrolling rather than clicking through to a new page. There are many benefits to long scrolling, including mobile-responsiveness, increased storytelling potential, and simplified navigation. One of our newest themes, Santa Barbara, is an example of a site that utilizes long scrolling.
If you look back on a website made a few years ago, you may see a cluttered navigation bar with so many tabs and dropdowns that you quickly lose track of what you wanted to do. With long scrolling, especially on a home page, visitors can see all the key ideas on one page.
Full-width images are a sure fire way to evoke feelings in your website visitors and further the brand you are building. Full-width images are the large images that take up the whole section of the page.
Our Mulholland theme is an example of a full-width image because, as you can see, the image fills the whole window. More and more businesses are using their site to tell a story and create the tone of their firm because we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Promote your brand with a thousand words by adding a full-width image on your site.
Think of website design as tour guides. Having a strictly informative, straight-to-business website is like taking a tour of a foreign country with the help of a tour guide and structured group. You are shuttled to exact points of interest, everything is explained in clear terms, and most people in the group have the same experience.
Having a website that subscribes to modern trends and leaves room for imagination is like visiting a foreign city on your own. You can eat what you want, visit the lesser known attractions, and build your own experience. Each person’s adventure is different.
While neither of these experiences are better or worse than the other, they emphasize different goals. The first is informative and straightforward, while the second is imaginative and personal. Current design trends sway toward the second because websites are putting more emphasis on branding and user experience than ever before.