Web design trends seem to evolve at a similar cut-throat rate to trends in the fashion industry. To be sure that your website isn’t dated, dull and “so last season”, it’s important to keep up with what’s in vogue and what’s now old-fashioned. An outdated website can cause more problems than just making your brand appear un-cool. You’ll lose customers because of a slow loading speed, an unresponsive site or a web page that appears spammy. Customers lose patience and trust with your company, and move onto the next site that is much easier on the eye and more simple to navigate. We’re still in the early days of 2018 and we’re guaranteed to see new website design trends in Australia throughout the year. Have confidence in the image that you’re projecting to your customers, by working with a competent web design company that knows how to keep your site on-point.
A Brief History of Web Design
The internet hasn’t always been so pretty. In fact, we’ve come a long way in the design and development of websites. Before we time travel into the future of web design trends, take a look into its history and see how rapidly changes can occur.
1989 – Design looked dire
In the “Dark Ages” of web design, online users were presented with all-black screens. Websites were as simple as could be and screens contained just a few monochrome pixels. Symbols and tabulation were used to make up web design, which was always text-only.
1995 – Tables and images were born
Web designers figured out nifty ways to use tables to create structure to web pages. Putting tables within other tables and mixing static cells with fluid cells became the common way to design the modern web pages at this time.
Although it was the best known way to structure information, it was difficult to maintain the design of tables. Developers had to take the layout devised by a designer and try to figure out how it would work in practice. That said, tables came in useful for features like trying to align things vertically and setting items up in a grid.
1996 – Flash became the designer’s best friend
When Flash became the hot new technology, designers had a freedom like they’d never experienced before. They could now use this tool to create any shapes, layouts, interactions and animations they wished for. Flash contains the end product in a file and sends it to the browser to be displayed.
Of course, this only worked if the online user had installed the latest Flash plug-in, which had to be updated fairly regularly. Whilst it opened doors for fancy features like interactive effects and splash pages, it wasn’t very search-friendly and took a long time to load. In 2007, Apple decided to abandon flash and from there, it started to decay.
1998 – CSS became the best new language
CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, was born soon after Flash. From a technical viewpoint, it offered a better and more accurate approach to structuring web design. The concept behind CSS was to separate it from HTML. While HTML looked after content, CSS was in charge of presentation and formatting.
It took a few years for all browsers to fully support CSS and even then, a lot of bugs were experienced. Most developers experienced issues because of this and the whole process would have been much more straight-forward if all browsers were able to support the CSS declarative language.
2010 – The rise of responsive web design
Ethan Marcotte coined the term “responsive web design” to describe ways of using the same content in varying layouts. For the online user, responsive web design means that they’re able to view a website clearly on their phones or tablets. For a designer, this means the added task of mocking up multiple layouts. A developer would focus on download speeds and how elements are served to the user.
2010 – Flat design took priority
To allow for effective and responsive web design, we got rid of fancy effects and aimed to streamline the process. Flat design is the idea of simplifying visual elements, so shadow effects and other unnecessary ornaments became viewed as tacky. Instead, content was priority.
Now, thought goes into the quality of copy, fine photography, thoughtful layouts and the hierarchy of content.
The Future of Web Design Trends
Now, web design companies in Melbourne and the rest of Australia are taking cues from the past and looking towards the future. Just where exactly is web design heading? And how do you keep up with it?
As mentioned earlier, trends change every year. New tools and concepts can come about without much warning and it’s down to your web design company to adapt to those trends and offer the best possible user experience.
To keep your site looking fresh and modern, here are the 2018 web design trends you’ll want to make a note of.
- 1. Bold Typography – Anchor your homepage with big and bold typography that catches the eye and screams confidence in your brand. Keep it minimal by using just one or two words and see how effective it is for the layout, particularly on your homepage.
- 2. Cinemagraphs – Cinemagraphs are the contemporary way to create movement on your page. They are GIFs or high-quality, looping videos. Use a cinemagraph to add an element of interest to simple pages and show off your brand’s personality.
- 3. Brutalism – Many modern-day websites play it safe with formal and tidy designs. Brutalism is the idea of standing out with unexpected elements and structures. Think asymmetry, non-conforming visuals, a lack of hierarchy and elements that cut off other elements. If it suits your image, this is a fun way to get creative and turn your back on typical designs.
- 4. Vivid colour layers – Select your colour palette and stick to it. However, in 2018, you can be a little bit cheeky with your choices. Opt for staggered, contrasting layers of colour to add depth to your layout. Use websites such as Paletton to find the perfect palette for you.
- 5. Text-only approach – This modern approach goes all the way back to the early days of web design. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but shows how most things really do come full circle. Some companies are choosing to eliminate images and structural features altogether, relying on simple text to tell their story. If you want an extremely uncluttered and minimalistic design, try this.
- 6. Illustration – Delete all stock images and sleek Instagram-style graphics and hire an illustrator or graphic artist instead. Show off your personality with colourful illustrations that are customised to your company.
- 7. Mix horizontal and vertical text – Simple pages aren’t always better. Offer a fun experience to your customer by placing horizontal text next to vertical text. It adds a new dimension that you won’t find in many corners of the internet.
- 8. Serif makes a comeback – Traditionally, web designers in Melbourne and the rest of the world have avoided serif fonts. This was down to screen resolution limitations and a lack of font support on browsers. Now, they’re making a comeback. Serif fonts look modern, clean and sophisticated when they’re done right.
- 9. Organic shapes – 2018 is all about softer shapes and curved lines. Harsh edges and strict grid layouts are a thing of the past. Add vivid colours to artistic designs to add an almost cartoon-edge to your site.
Other Changes to Website Design Australia Should Know About
The website design industry across Australia is constantly making changes to stay relevant. In recent years, we’ve seen some exciting innovations that are changing the way we interact with websites and companies online.
360° video and Virtual Reality (VR) is slowly pushing its way through the noise. For now, it only seems to be having an impact on large companies, but this could change in the near future. Incorporating VR or 360° video onto your pages adds a breathtaking and immersive experience for customers and there’s no more exciting way to showcase your product.
Chatbots are likely to continue to make their mark on web design and the way users are able to interact with your brand. They’ll get even more complex and human-like so businesses are empowered to automate sales and communication, even when they’re not online. Conversational interfaces allow brands to showcase their personality and give customers an approachable, simple method of communication.
Authentic photography will take over and stock photos will continue to decline. Stock photos can reduce the trust that users have in your website. Not only that, but they’re usually about as cheesy as it gets! There’s no need to do a course in photography, though, as websites are popping up with downloadable, high-quality images for your use.
Web Design, Melbourne, for your Small Business
Do you want to stay ahead of web design trends and ensure your brand stays current and exciting? One Stop Media is a web design company in Melbourne that understands that web design impacts every part of the online user experience, so we aim to get it right.
Our experienced designers carefully plan every aspect of your site to ensure you have a stylish, functional and responsive web design. Delivering the best customer service to you and the best experience to your customers, choose One Stop Media for web design in Melbourne and the rest of Australia.
Getting in touch is simple. Send us an online enquiry or call us on 1300 305 619 and we can bring your website into 2018!