Top 5 website trends for 2017
At Luminous we are always tracking the latest thinking from around the world on digital trends. Here is a collation of the top 5 trends and our perspective on them.
1. Fewer menu options
In 2016 many websites were re-designed with a reduced number of menu options. With fewer options, the user’s eyes are much less likely to scan past important items, making it much easier to find exactly what they’re looking for. In 2016 Ikea reduced menu options from 10 to just 4 and incorporated dropdowns, giving the site a much sleeker look and feel with improved user experience.
For example: ikea.com/gb/en/
What we think: It’s a question of getting the balance right between ease of scanning and reducing click-throughs. Research has shown that short term memory holds only 7 items, so this should be an absolute maximum, but generally we would recommend 4–6 options for simple and effective navigation.
2. The rise and fall of the hamburger?
So what’s the hamburger icon? It’s the three horizontal lines used to neatly tuck away menu options on a website. The ‘hamburger’ debate is a big area of controversy at the moment with some agencies predicting an increase in the use of the icon and others feeling the hamburger is history! Those predicting a rapid demise believe this ‘hidden’ menu stop users from being able to instantly grasp what you do, where they might go next or why they might stick around. A handful of iconic brands including NBC news have ditched the hamburger in favour of traditional menu tabs or dropdowns.
For example: nbcnews.com
What we think: At a time where the hamburger has (just about) become part of the everyday interface experience, it should be left alone for the foreseeable future. Many corporate websites are still lagging in terms of responsiveness, so any intuitive visual elements understood by users should be welcomed and cherished. At least for another year…
3. Increased use of video
In the era of digital transformation, it is now more critical than ever for a company’s website to reflect the values of the business, and there is no better way to bring your online story to life than a powerful corporate video. Wave goodbye to generic stock imagery and embrace the power of video!
For example: luminous.co.uk (a cracking site!)
What we think: The proof is in the pudding! Research by Forbes states that 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text. Video has also been proven to increase ‘average session times’, which indicates video generates a greater interest in your content. If a picture can paint a thousand words just think what a video can do.
4. More progressive web apps and fewer native apps
It seems that progressive web apps (PWAs) could be the next big thing for the mobile web.
PWAs use modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience by bringing features we expect from native apps to the mobile browser experience. PWA technology removes unnecessary page components that are only required on desktop screens, improving page speed to 2 to 4 times faster than a native app. PWAs allow users to install web apps to their browser homepage, receive push notifications and even work offline.
For example: https://pwa.rocks
What we think: The research looks convincing. According to Responsys, marketers achieve 50% higher open rates on push notifications versus email and 70% of consumers found push notifications to be valuable. And because a PWA is a website as opposed to a native app, it will be more discoverable in search engines.
5. Bespoke illustration and animation
In today’s increasingly crowded online marketplace brands must stand out. One way to achieve this is through bespoke illustration and hand-drawn elements. Illustrations are full of personality and can be tailored to a specific brand style, creating a truly unique look and feel.
For example: dropbox.com
What we think: With an increase in usage of UI design patterns and a rise in the popularity of pre-designed themes many websites are starting to look and feel very similar.
Once a disctintive illustration style has been created this can be developed into an animated video (and indeed, rolled out throughout the entire brand experience). It seems bizarre using hand-drawn elements on a website in today’s hi-tech world – however, it’s a truly effective way to provide a unique online brand experience.
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