A record number of users are now accessing the internet via a mobile phone or tablet device.
Most of them have previously been using desktop PCs, and have seen what these are capable of and what they can do. Consequently users have become more demanding and now expect that same sort of usability and a similar level of features in mobile applications. The mass adoption of social media platforms by the public has also had a massive impact on mobile website design. Most of the population now tweets or follows, friends or connects to other users and to businesses too. This mass usage of social media has created an insatiable desire for instant and real-time communication amongst the mobile population. They want to know what their friends and businesses are doing, and they want that information fed to them as soon as it happens.
Because social media has raised expectations, website designers have had to respond to these demands particularly for the mobile market. 2011 has seen many innovations in website design: some of the trends will no doubt be forgotten before long and superseded by other fancier ones: others, however, are here to stay and will be an integral part of both website design and mobile website design for many years to come.
What follows are 5 trends that will definitely endure.
Designing for All Digital Platforms.
All web designs are not equal. Some mobile website designers may have a great, creative, and interesting layout for their websites, but they need to make sure that these designs can transfer over to the small screen. Some companies, especially startup companies, fall into this trap because they design their websites on a desktop computer. However, consumers now use eReaders and mobile phones to surf the web. If there’s too much going on (3D images, turntable images, large files), the website is certain to irritate anyone using a mobile device. Therefore, it is important to think simple, and avoid any over-large or over-elaborate website designs.
The use of Footers.
Website designers are calling ‘big footers’ one of the biggest web design trends of 2011 particularly for mobile applications where space is at a premium. Most companies see footers as yet another way to draw in visitors, so it is important to utilise and maximise the impact of the footer with cool logos, lots of information for those interested in learning more, and of course, the traditional copyright information and business phone number. Headers are also important: users usually decide if they are going to stay on a page in the first ten seconds, after all. Yet companies can spend too much time over-developing the headers and thus neglect the footers. Website designers have recognised this, and have taken steps to rectify the problem.
Incorporating Social Media Icons.
All website designers will now include social media icons when they’re laying out a website. It’s expected as has become virtually compulsory. Most companies only have about three to five icons, but the problem is that there are an infinite number of social media platforms available. Website designers can’t include icons for every social media network, so have had to limit the number they use, sticking with the ones that are most appropriate and useful for their clients. The important thing that designers need to do is make sure these icons are easy to find, and add a note that asks visitors to get involved with social media. Many top websites also make sure that these icons are clustered together to avoid visitor confusion.
The popularity of social media has also placed additional demands on web designers. It is extremely important in 2011 that companies incorporate interactivity into their website. This can be achieved by building in capacity for visitor comments, uploading videos, featuring surveys, and even simply utilizing 3D imaging to help the visitor feel as if they are involved. The tricky part about this trend, however, is making sure that your website is still appealing to those using small screens. In other words, keeping it simple, but also staying on trend with all of the interactive opportunities.
Getting Creative with Typography.
This year typography has been even more interesting because of the many font replacement methods that were put into effect. In the past many browsers did not support more than a few fonts, but 2011 proved to be the year that brought more choices. Utilising fonts correctly—using certain fonts for important messages, new items, and basic content—is one of the easiest ways to get a website noticed, and if a website gets noticed, that’s usually good for business.