When kicking off a web redesign or brand refresh, clients tend to come to the table with ideas, requesting every new trend they’ve seen in years past, from parallax scrolling to the hamburger menu. The problem is that adopting a new trend isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. For every project our agency takes on, critically analyzing the brand and its goals is time well spent when strategizing what new trends will be the right fit. Driven by user patterns and the rise of mobile, designers, developers and marketers will be on their toes in 2017 to determine which digital market patterns to implement in order to maintain an optimized web environment. Here’s a look at a few web design trends to familiarize yourself with in the year ahead:

Journey Mapping

As the saying goes, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Unless you have a well-mapped-out pathway to a destination, getting there might result in a dead end. Customer journey mapping enables a better experience by helping to understand and anticipate the twists and turns your user encounters when interacting with your website.

Identify a set of user and business goals and then, using the existing navigation, determine how the user will get there, taking into consideration varying users and their emotions. Get creative. There is no one way to journey map; sketch it out in pencil, storyboard or whiteboard. This framework uncovers the most direct route to creating the ideal web experience, keys into areas that need improvement, and leads to an overall better relationship with the user.

Scrolling

“Above the fold” is officially dead. Driven by user preference on mobile, the long scroll is now widely accepted. A longer scrolling page now offers ease of navigation on a single page and is even more intriguing to designers, as it’s a way to deliver a powerful immersive UX design right from the start. Websites that were once static, leading to multiple inner pages to tell a story, are now providing an anticipatory experience with scrolling, resulting in a more conversion-driven website.

 Image-Based Design

Show, don’t tell. A picture can tell 1,000 words, and with users’ ability to create high-quality photography via platforms like Instagram and the advanced capabilities of today’s handheld technology, basic imagery won’t cut it. Making yet another case for intuitive design, websites will be using more experiential imagery in place of content.

Yes, a narrative is needed, but it will be pared down to the most basic of verbiage. In particular, luxury lifestyle and beauty brands have recently adopted this trend, applying immersive, and often trend-based imagery that is relevant to their vision, allowing the consumer to better “imagine” themselves experiencing the product.

Digital Trust

Building trust in the digital environment is everything; It’s not enough to rattle off a brand promise or display an “about us” page – though both should be accessible. Consumers want the assurance that a website will put its money where its mouth is.

According to a recent study by Mintel, nearly 70% of consumers now rely on the consumer community and recent reviews before making a purchase. From direct chat to a robust community engagement strategy, connect with customers in the most authentic way possible by offering real support and information, which are two keys to earning digital trust.

Micro-Interactions

Working with clients on user experience strategies across platforms, we learned recently that simplicity isn’t enough anymore; it’s about streamlining the entire experience, and micro-interactions may well be the answer. With apps and wearables automating many of our daily tasks, micro-interactions serve as the conduit for these experiences.

 Ranging from a notification ping, pulling down to refresh your Facebook feed, or giving a thumbs up to a song streaming on Pandora, micro-interactions are a series of actions leading to another – and they are everywhere. Emerging as a best practice in UX design, micro-interactions serve essential functions, but often go unseen and take mere seconds (if that), acting as second nature for a user.

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2016/12/27/web-design-whats-trending-for-2017

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