Website Design Trends for 2011
The line between design and development gets ever blurrier as we move into this next decade. These days, the average Internet user requires more than a beautiful site. The way to impress your visitors is through beautiful usability.
2011 is less about pretty and all about function.
The ultimate goal of any web design team these days is not to dazzle, but to entangle visitors in an environment that charms and captivates them to the point where they forget the 'back' button and work further into the site. Sort of like Alice falling down the rabbit hole – highly successful website designers will combine intuitive design, easily accessible content, fast response times and a beautiful layout. In addition, website designs much now contend with the ubiquitous smart phones, net books, tablets, e-readers, and more.
So, what does a trendy website design contain these days?
- Simple, but harmonious, color schemes. Truly remarkable designs and be done with just a few colors that work well together. Limiting your color palette may feel uncomfortable at first, but the effects are highly remarkable and impressive.
- Dimension and depth perception. When done well, dimension adds a new aspect that magically creates a faux 3D effect. Parts of your website look nearer than other parts, and elements nearly jump off the screen. With well-placed shadowing and layering effects, a 3D view is relatively easy to create.
- More CSS3 and HTML5. Web design teams are finally letting go of Flash and replacing it with the magic of HTML5. Gone are the days of website designs done entirely in Flash (thank goodness!). HTML5 cannot yet replace everything Flash brought to the design table, but it comes close in a lot of ways.
- Mobile readiness. It's been said once and for all – mobile is happening and web designs have to catch up. Smartphones, net books, e-readers, and more mean your website design has to be responsive to multiple viewing ports. Creating a mobile ready web design is not simply dumbing the site down – it involves a lot more. Forecasters predict smartphones will outsell personal computers from here on out, so bullet proof your design to meet the new demand.
- Touch screen design. Technology is becoming more and more tactile, and less about the accessories. Usability is shifting to touchscreens and away from the use of mouse devices. Trendy web designs need to account for the loss of hover and drop-down menus with touchscreens.
- Liquid layouts. Standard website designs are horizontally positioned, but this no longer works on an iPad or e-reader that is vertically oriented. Now, website design teams are no longer concerned with screen resolutions because visitors can change their viewing orientation from vertical to horizontal and your web design must meet that challenge.
- Photographic backgrounds. The background photo captures the visitor's eye far more completely than those large-scale backdrops ever did. The audience can't help but see the photograph and have an impression of it. Trends point to soft and slightly transparent images that don't overshadow the content but works with it instead.