As a small business owner, it’s important to have an attractive and user-friendly website in order to compete with the big boys. Like fashion fads, trends in website design change constantly. This poses a unique challenge to small business owners who may not have the budget to undergo a complete website re-design project every year.
With a limited budget compared to the deep pockets of Corporate America, how can you as a small business owner make sure your website remains relevant to your visitors? It starts with staying up-to-date on the latest and greatest trends in web design. By staying informed, you will be armed with the knowledge necessary to make an educated decision when it is time to rework your website. Listed below you’ll find some of the top web design trends for 2018 that you should consider implementing onto your site to keep website visitors coming back.
Use of illustrations will increase
Before 2018, it was common practice for web designers to stay away from utilizing illustrations in their web design projects, and instead opt for pictures of real people. In 2018, many industry experts expect that we will see a shift from this common practice to the wide acceptance and implementation of illustrations to help bring abstract concepts to life.
Implementing illustrations onto your website may be a great way to unify your diverse customers. Research suggests that once you put an actual human being on your website, that person personifies your customer. That means that many of your other customers may feel underrepresented, and thus disassociated with the product or service you are trying to offer. Illustrations help to eliminate the feeling of exclusion by providing visitors with images that they can all relate to, regardless of defining characteristics. In short, illustrations leave many qualities undefined, which makes it easier for a variety of people to relate to your company or brand.
Some examples of companies utilizing illustrations in website design to their advantage include Winter Tidings, The Debiopharm Group, Teal Space, and The Resourcing Machine.
Brutalism will be relevant
If you are like most small business owners, you probably hear the word brutalism and think to yourself, “What the heck is that?” Think of brutalism as a design style that completely disrupts the notion that a website must be trim and clean. At its core, brutalist websites are raw and rough, so it’s not hard to understand why some experts in the website design industry have even referred to brutalism as the “ugly design trend taking over the Internet.”
On the other hand, supporters of this design trend argue that Brutalism challenges our current ideas of what website design should be, by forcing us to break standards in favor of a unique approach to web design. Some characteristics of Brutalism include large images, handwritten HTML, open design spaces, an unpolished look and feel, basic system fonts, and unique scrolling and hovering effects.
Brutalism is not for everyone. In fact, it has the potential to make some users very uncomfortable. Before you commit to creating a brutalist website, check out some examples to help you determine if this design trend would work for your business and target market.
Focus on Animation & interaction
It used to be that websites were no more than printed words on a page that we used to get information from. While that is still true in part today, the Internet has evolved, which has left users expecting more out of their interaction with it. How do you capture a visitor’s attention on the Internet today? You include animation and opportunities for interaction. It’s more important now than ever to not just inform website visitors, but to also entertain them so you can keep them on your site and away from the competition.
While animation can help to hold a visitor’s attention, you should not go crazy with it. You don’t want to overwhelm your visitors. When used correctly, simple animation can direct your visitors’ attention to the content that is most important to your business. A website that provides a great example of animation at work is Black Sheep Agency. The animation on the page helps users understand what information is important, and encourages them to take action based on that information. 3 Drops uses page transitions to help website visitors navigate the site, rather than a traditional navigation menu. Other companies that are using animation and interaction to their advantage include Am, Zero Studios, and Carmex.
Animation may not be right for every business, and should be approached with thought and great attention to detail. If not used correctly, animation could scare website visitors away, and be more of an annoyance than anything else. If done correctly, has the potential to keep your visitors engaged, and increase return visits and even conversions.
Broken grid & full-screen layouts
In the past, having a neat and clean website was of top priority to most business owners. In today’s world, web design is pushing towards a more eccentric approach. Enter the notion of broken grid layout.
Though the idea of broken grid design got its big break in 2017, the design trend has no indication of fading in 2018. Many industry experts predict that in 2018 we will see even more websites with a broken grid layout, as companies attempt to create a unique experience for website visitors that traditional and more conservative layouts cannot provide.
Broken grid layouts allow for images and text to drift across the entire screen, removing the “hard stop” points of traditional web design. When you view a website that utilizes a broken grid design method, you will notice that boxes of images and text often overlap and converge. This type of design is visually appealing to users, and can help the small business owner diversify him or herself from the competition. Some examples of companies who are utilizing broken grid design nicely include Message in a Bottle, Dusko, and Beoplay.
Big, bold, and inventive typography
The year of 2018 will also be a year for the acceptance and implementation of bold, big, and inventive typography. Typography has the ability to influence the emotions of a website visitor when he or she lands on your site. It also has the ability to set the tone of your entire website, and convey what information is important. Since resolution on smart devices has improved drastically over the past few years, typography is getting easier to read. This could spark an increase in custom and contrasting fonts, as well as large letters as the focal point of a website. Nuage App is an example of effective use of big, bold, and inventive typography.
What Does This All Mean
Even if you are not ready to undergo a website re-design project right now, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of website design trends that are set to takeover in 2018. As a small business owner, having a website that is able to compete with large corporations is highly important to your success. While you do not have the deep pockets of large corporations, there are things you can do as a small business owner to help your website stand out to consumers. Speak with your web designer today about implementing some of the trends mentioned above onto your website. Remember, having a killer website in our digital age is just as important as having a clean storefront.