On The Hill: Radar Hill Blog

Web Design Trends to Watch For in 2015

Est. reading time 4 minutes

2015 - Happy New Year!

During 2014, the key trends that emerged in web design focused around minimizing pizzazz and cleaning up layouts to help maximize clarity and turn visitors into customers. After all, websites don't exist solely to look pretty; they serve a purpose – to capture the attention of prospective clients and help generate revenue.

With online competition growing for every product under the sun, you need your website to get to the point quickly. With more and more websites being viewed from mobile devices, the need for a clean, uncluttered, responsive website layout is extremely important.

Web design won't take a radically different turn during 2015, but websites will continue to be simplified. The focus will remain on responsive design, and dictate the way the user interacts with on-page content.

These trends will be ones to watch for in the coming year...


Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design

This is no longer a new trend; it is the standard. Responsive web design has been on the list for the past 3 years. Smartphones have been in common use for a decade. It is expected that a website will display properly on mobile devices. If your site isn’t responsive, you need a redesign. Consider it a part of your annual marketing budget now, and consider how it will impact your search engine optimization (SEO).

What's on the horizon for responsive web design?

Home TheatreContrary to popular belief, you aren’t creating your website just for phones, tablets and desktops anymore. Responsive web design is rapidly expanding. Be prepared: in 2015, businesses need to have websites that work well on the aforementioned devices PLUS smart watches, TVs, home appliances, and even cars, to name a few. (With this momentum, imagine where we'll be in 2016!)

If your site is already responsive, well done! But, you aren’t out of the woods quite yet. These new devices (smart watches, etc.) are going to require an entirely different kind of responsive navigation structure than we are all used to. Watch for that to begin emerging around the end of 2015. (Here's a fun YouTube video about "smart homes" – sure gets you thinking.)


Flat Design

Skeuomorphic Icons vs. Flat Icons

This was probably the biggest trend we saw in 2014 – and it is only going to gain momentum. There have been several case studies performed on the benefits of flat design and conversion rate (website visitors who take action and go beyond casual content viewing). Primarily, the trend toward flat design has evolved because of the ways we consume content; the minimalist look of flat design allow sites to appear clutter-free and content focused. Second, because flat design is less clunky, and much easier for a web server to deliver to devices like mobile phones and tablets, accessing content becomes far quicker.


Scrolling (Your Best Friend!)

ScrollingThe term “above the fold” has no place in web design. Unlike a static poster or magazine layout, web pages have an undetermined length. With the rise of mobile devices and tablets, we have all become accustomed to scrolling. Everyone scrolls out of habit. (Don't worry; it's not an inconvenience for your viewers.)

Besides... how do you know where the "fold" is on EVERYONE'S various desktop, tablet and phone screen sizes? There is absolutely no way to guarantee that it will display the same for everyone.

Studies have proven that most people prefer to see all your company's offerings in that first page they access on your site. It definitely makes for a more mobile-friendly experience – as opposed to clicking through a jarring amount of pages and sub-pages to find the information you need. Scrolling is more intuitive for the user, and it allows for more dynamic interaction between the user and your site. Scroll, baby, scroll!

This doesn't mean you should convert your website to a single page; it just means that you should focus more on the benefits of having an informative, keyword-rich home page.

Lastly, think of your home page from Google's standpoint... Having plentiful home page content is more SEO-friendly, period. When Google goes to index your page and rank it on their search engine along with all the other businesses offering your same product, how will it determine what makes you unique if all it sees is a photo of a sunset and a single tiny teaser paragraph of text? (Need advice about SEO? Just ask us!)


Large Imagery

Hand-Crafted TherapyDon’t be afraid to incorporate a big, beautiful background image or video on your homepage to help capture your viewers' attention. (Remember: the fold doesn’t matter!)

Won't large images slow my site down?

A couple years ago, having large imagery on a website would impact its speed, but since this is an emerging trend, the need for increased bandwidth is being recognized by developers and hosts. Expect to see new techniques in responsive resizing and image optimization.



Website Typography

Content is king. For reasons mentioned above, your content needs to grab attention. Our designers are thrilled that typography will be taking center stage in 2015. Simple, bold typographical elements combined with the large images will dominate the web.

Fortunately, gone are the days when we were restricted to using a small handful of web-compliant fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial and Helvetica, or having to purchase expensive font-families. With increasing access to reasonably priced, quality web fonts, designers will be able to apply amazing print-like fonts into your site.


Video & Animation

In case you haven't heard, Flash animation is dead. Big funeral, lots of sobbing design geeks from the 1990s (well, the 5 or 6 remaining who still built websites using Flash). That being said, there are far better alternatives if you want to include some motion and animation on your website. Advances in CSS and JavaScript allow for basic to advanced animations that won’t hurt your SEO or limit who can view your website.

Video Website BackgroundVideo Website BackgroundOr... How about adding a full-blown video into the background of your website! There are so many more attractive ways to present a website these days! (Check out these live samples we stumbled upon! Awesome stuff!)

Thanks for reading, and happy holidays! We look forward to designing (or redesigning) an effective marketing masterpiece for you in the new year! :)