Welcome to 2017! Currently websites, like calendars, are in the process of changing to reflect the new year. New trends, new colors and new technologies abound, and to help you navigate the changes we’ve compiled a list of the five biggest trends that will dominate the ‘net in the new year.

1. More and Brighter Colors

Websites have been getting monotone in recent years, playing up a sophisticated, tech-y vibe with muted colors. Not so for 2017 – colors are back with a vengeance, with an emphasis on duotone imagery and graphics.

One example is Spotify, which recently redid their site palette and now boasts a bright magenta-and-purple ombré effect on their homepage.

 

 

2. Increased Emphasis on UX

It’s not enough to slap a site up on the web – it needs to be crafted and geared towards the visitor experience. The lines between web design and UX design are becoming increasingly blurred, and sites are being designed around the user’s journey to increase engagement, interaction, and conversions.

Among the UX changes? An increasing number of chatbots and deliberate micro-interactions that use humor or animation to engage users and personalize the visitor experience.

 

3. Increased Animation

With the increased emphasis on UX comes an increase in the use of animation, .gifs, and cinemagraphs in websites. These elements are an eye-catching addition to sites that work to engage and interact with users. Functional animation, or animation that serves a specific purpose, will be integrated into websites as they soften transitions, highlight next steps, and provide visual feedback.

Want some examples? The money’s paw high-five animation that you see after you hit “Send” on an email in MailChimp is a perfect example of using animation to provide feedback and reinforce an action. The Nature Conservancy’s rainwater cinemagraph at water.nature.org shows how including an animation as a backdrop can immediately engage users and communicate the site’s purpose.

Nature Conservancy Example

 

4. Mobile-first Design

You’ve probably heard the statistic that more people access the internet from their phones than from computers. With this development, site design is adapting according – many sites are now designed specifically to be accessed from a mobile device and adapted to larger screens later.

Navigation trends are also changing to reflect the mobile-first principle. Simplified navigation and scrolling sites are the word of the day, to make site navigation easier on a small, mobile screen.

 

5. Increased Transparency and Authenticity

What do brands like Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Patagonia have in common? They’re transparent and authentic, and it’s seriously paid off. Today’s site users, like consumers, want that authenticity and transparency in the brands they buy from and sites they visit.

Concrete steps down this path include forgoing stock photography for original pictures that give visitors a glimpse into your organization’s inner workings, and replacing written testimonials with authentic, unscripted (or at least, not obviously scripted) customer or user videos.

 


 

The world of website design is constantly changing, and what’s popular one year may be on next year’s “Do Not Do” list. However, the overall trend is toward a more user-friendly, engaging and interactive web experience as websites move from static holding-places to dynamic conversion machines. Make sure your site is easy to access, visually stimulating, and provides compelling content to keep visitors engaged, and your website will be an asset to your brand.

Let me know what trends you’re seeing. And what you think of them!