Web design trends we can expect to see in 2017

It’s that time of year where we look at the year that was and the year that will be. We’ve seen a lot of amazing website designs this year, and I’m eager to see what 2017 has in store for website and website design.

2017 is sure to bring some amazing website designs, but if we look hard enough, we can already start seeing some trends that are sure to dominate websites in 2017.

Let’s take a look at the 10 website design trends we can expect to see in 2017.

Emphasis on the content

 

We’ve spent years adding things to our websites such as sidebars, headers, banner ads, sidebar ads, calls to action, comments, popups, social media buttons, signup boxes, etc. All of these things have ended up cluttering our websites and taking up more and more real estate, taking the attention away from the entire point of a web page: the content.

In 2017, websites are likely to start moving back to basics and placing more emphasis on content. Whether that means we remove all of the other distractions we’ve spent years adding, or just making them take up less real estate is yet to be determined. Getting back to the heart of a website — the content — will be prevalent moving forward.

The end of flat design

 

I think we’ve reached the point in flat web design where everything is starting to look the same, and we’ve lost our personality and creativity in design. When you strip everything away, you’re left with what everyone else has: the basics that look just like each other.

From my standpoint, flat design has turned from a modern update of skeuomorphic design to a set of design aesthetics that everyone applies (think Google’s Material). Because of this, sites are starting to look the same, and not much differentiates sites from one another. Designers feel that the creativity is gone, and with the desire to create something great, I see flat design ending for the most part in favor of layouts and designs that are more imaginative and unique.

Geometric shapes, lines, and patterns

It seems as though the use of geometric shapes, lines, and patterns have really taken off in the late part of 2016, and I anticipate this continuing through 2017. There are various ways in which geometric shapes have made their way into websites. Be it the use of circles around images, photos that are geometric heavy, or the overall design of the site relies heavily on the use of lines and patterns.

There is nearly infinite amount of ways in which you an integrate geometric shapes, lines, and patterns into your website, and this could be one way in which designers take fat design to a new level (and even add some personality, as mentioned above). Overall, expect to see these types of design styles more throughout 2017.

Imaginative heading styles

 

We’re starting to move away from the basic heading style seen on websites (san serif, all caps, centered heading) and moving more toward imaginative or creative headings. Changing up the heading style is a welcomed way to be unique in your design.

Changing up the justification and layout of the heading, adding unique elements to the heading, or even going without a heading (at least above the fold) are all ways in which designers are starting to experiment with changing up the typical heading style on websites.

Duotone gradient imagery

 

In the pursuit of staying more on brand, more brands are using duotone imagery and graphics for their websites. Even TNW has got the duotone down right, and it isn’t even 2017 yet.

Not strictly duotones, but some designs are even experimenting with two or three colors and using the duotone effect. Think Instagram. While flat design helped us get rid of (most) gradients, using duotone imagery that combines a couple of colors together has proven to be a nice update to the old and tired gradients and solid color areas.

Increased use of animations and GIFs

 

Animations are starting to be used more heavily on websites as they are often a great way to show how something works, how to do something, or otherwise reveal meaningful content. GIFs have been used for this purpose, but now we are seeng GIFs becoming more sophisticated and animations using SVG and CSS to achieve some pretty unique design elements.

I anticipate in 2017 the use of animations will become more prevalent, as more content types are shared and animation helps communicate things easier and quicker than text and video can. Plus, when done right, can often be even more lightweight than several images or even a video.

Navigation diets

 

As being a mobile society, I believe that because most of us access the web through our phones more than our computers, the overall trend to make things easier to navigate has taken over and reformed our navigation on websites.

Instead of overly complicated and long navigations, more and more sites are starting to simplify their navigation down to about four to five items. Keeping navigation to a minimum also helps visitors to focus on the intent at hand, instead of trying to find a way off the page.

Microinteractions


Microinteractions are the subtle, but powerful ways to interact with a website. They are often found in hovers, click animations, scrolling effects, etc. While we’ve always had these types of design elements, designers are spending more time on them, making them are informative and more refined.

Probably the most used integration is the hover/rollover, where a visitor can simply move their cursor over parts of the site to see these microinteractions and interact with the site in that way.

Increased use of hand-drawn elements


Perhaps a different type of web design trend is the increased use of hand drawn elements. These elements include fonts, icons, graphics, buttons and other elements that bring a nice unique touch to websites.

Websites have never been a medium that most would associate with drawing out, but the introduction and the subsequent takeoff of these hand drawn elements have been a nice change from using standard design elements.

More emphasis on landing pages, less on a home page

As we refine content and opt to market and share it more, in 2017 we will likely see a rise in landing page designs instead of a home page design. While every website needs a home page, I think that as content marketing spreads, marketers will want to direct traffic to dedicated landing pages to better target their visitors and their needs.

It makes sense: The idea of content marketing is to increase awareness and conversions, and what better way to increase conversions than to have visitors land on a page strictly made for them. These pages will be as well designed and thought out as others on the site, but target the visitor much more.

Conclusion

2017 is sure to see some great websites, and these design trends will most definitely be seen on some of the best website designs yet to come.

From hand drawn elements to duotone images, imaginative headings to more focused content layouts, to microinteractions to animations, these design trends will dominate web design in 2017.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DeepBlue. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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How to Create an Effective Brand Strategy

This article will define a high-level summary of the most important aspects of your brand: your brand vision, brand values, the identity of your audience, your brand promise, and your brand story

…….

A brand strategy is a plan to communicate the unique value you offer customers. It can be reflected in your logo, your customer experience, or your company culture. A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments. The Brand Strategy Guide is a simple framework for creating and communicating your brand strategy.

Components of a brand strategy:

Your brand vision is the ultimate goal of your company.

Your brand values are the non-negotiable core beliefs you hold.

Your audience profile determines how you position your brand to the marketplace.

Your brand promise is the tagline you use to tell your customers what you promise you’ll do for them.

Your brand story is the sum of all of these parts.

Each component of the strategy process leads up to defining your brand narrative.

Vision, Mission and Values

Your Vision or “Why does your business exist?”

The vision describes the future your company is working to achieve. This is the reason for your existence as a company. It should be positive, motivating, and fun to talk about.

  • “Advancing man’s capability to explore the heavens”. (NASA)
  • “To live in a healthy, honest and supportive world”. (Core Foods)

Customers & Competition

Target Customers

Who are the people that will connect with your vision and values? Who will connect with the idea behind your business? Demographic based descriptions like “Females 18-30 in San Francisco” do not effectively describe target customers. Instead, focus on what specific needs your business solves, and the people who have those needs.

  • Traditional furniture retailers employ sales staff, but at Ikea, the customer experience is self service. Customers navigate huge showrooms with many products on display, pull items off warehouse shelves and assemble them at home. Ikea serves people who are happy to trade service for cost and are willing to complete some of the manufacturing steps themselves.
  • Southwest Airlines offers friendly service, and short, frequent, low-cost flights for customers traveling from midsize US cities and secondary airports in large US cities. They serve price sensitive customers who value convenience.

The Competition

When running your business it can be easy to forget about the context or landscape that it exists in and miss the external forces that affect it. Competitors can offer substitutes to your product or service. By learning more about who you competitors really are you can develop a brand strategy that is different and that only you can own, so customers have no choice but to come to you.

Your Competitive Advantages

Your competitive advantage is what makes you different and better than your competitors. Companies achieve competitive advantage by performing activities differently, or performing different activities than rivals.

  • Jiffy Lube specializes in automotive lubricants (oil changes) and does not offer other car repair or maintenance services. Their focus allows them to provide faster service at a lower cost.

Focus & Differentiation

The Big Idea or “What is the essence of your brand?”

A brand is a collection of thoughts and feelings based on your experiences. Thoughts and feelings are “intangibles” while your products and services are “tangible”. Tangibles you can touch, see, smell, hear, and taste, but intangibles you just feel.

  • Riding a Harley-Davidson Motorcyle feels liberating.
  • Sending and important package via FedEx feels safe.
  • Experiencing Disney World with your children feels magical.

What does it feel like to interact with your business? It’s easy to underestimate feelings and focus only on the tangibles, but people are emotional beings. We make decisions based on feelings, so you need to be able to express what you’re all about as concept or idea that is emotionally engaging. This is The Big Idea. It needs to be focused and it needs to be different.

  • Think Different (Apple)
  • Expect more. Pay less. (Target)
  • The world’s online marketplace. (eBay)
  • Adding vitality to life. (Unilever)
  • Safety. (Volvo)
  • The world on time. (FedEx)
  • Rider Passion. (Harley Davidson)

Brand Attributes or “What does your brand look and feel like?”

Really, brand attributes are just adjectives used to describe your brand. For example, IBM is seen as “older,” while Apple is perceived as “younger.” Apple is almost known entirely for its brand personality: innovative, stylish, intuitive, cool, casual, easy-going and friendly. Defining your brand attributes is important to help you differentiate yourself from competitors, as you would want to focus on those attributes that help you stick out. They also help make sure that your activities are inline with your brand. Together this group of adjectives gives you something to evaluate things like messaging and the look and feel of touchpoints.

Brand Promise or “What are you going to do for me.”

A brand promise is what the company promises to the people who interact with it. But it isn’t a literal description of what a company does. It’s a description of the company’s character. It’s the feeling the company conveys to its stakeholders. A brand promise can be explicitly articulated to the public, or it can be come to life more subtly in the delivery of the brand experience. A few years ago, FedEx declared that it was the only choice “when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”—an overt promise that still resonates today. The ultimate goal of branding is loyalty. A loyal audience seeks repeat brand experiences and recommends the brand to others. Brand Loyalty drives most purchasing decisions and loyal customers are willing to pay a premium for their choice. Branding is defining, promising and delivering. When you promise and then consistently deliver you generate loyalty.

  • Your package will get there overnight. Guaranteed. (FedEx)
  • You can own the coolest, easiest-to-use cutting-edge computers and electronics. (Apple)
  • You can hire the best minds in management consulting. (McKinsey & Company)
  • Empowering you to save the wilderness. (The Nature Conservancy)
  • To be the premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together, connecting them socially and emotionally like no other. (NFL)

Positioning

A well positioned brand clearly defines the category of the business and describes what makes it different. It borrows from the journalistic model of storytelling: WHAT, HOW, WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHY?

  • WHAT is your category?
  • HOW are you different?
  • WHO are your customers?
  • WHERE are they located?
  • WHEN do they need you?
  • WHY are you important?

Conclusion

Once these brand elements have been determined and applied towards your brand strategy you will be taking the first steps in creating true brand value for your business.

Frank Farris

Frank Farris is Founder and CEO of DeepBlue. He has been an active thought leader in the application of emerging web technologies since 1998 and is a champion of the movement to make the Responsive Web Design approach the new industry standard.

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