Design Trending in 2016

Trends in web design are like fashion, they come and go. A site designed on trends will quickly become outdated or “out of style” as stated in the fashion world. A decision to use trends should be based on the needs of the users and the business, not on fads or what the cool sites are using.

Designing websites with all kinds of bells and whistles tend to compromise performance, SEO, security, functionality and most importantly user experience. The use of flashy animations, graphics, rotating imagery, scrolling backgrounds, hamburger menus, popups, etc. often require heavy JavaScript usage that can also have an impact on a sites integrity.

Here are some web design trends that are being carried over into the design world in 2016, that you may want to consider before using.

Front-page Carousels
Carousels have become a very popular trend, they eliminate page clutter and can add visual interest. However due to their popularity, websites designed using carousels appear to be cookie cutter. Here are some significant reasons why carousels should to be used very carefully and optimized to ensure that they don’t compromise UX and accessibility.

Carousels can hurt SEO ratings and performance.
Google no longer crawls meta keywords. The lack of content on a page makes it difficult to get meta information into a page. Due to the high resolution of imagery, carousels can adversely affect the performance and slow down the load speed of the front page, not a good thing for visitors.

Parallax Scrolling
Parallax scrolling is another trend we have been seeing a lot of. Parallax scrolling is a technique that allows the foreground and background content to scroll at different speeds, which creates an illusion of depth. Parallax scrolling makes for a good page effect, however it has a few undesirable issues.

Parallax scrolling hurts SEO ratings and performance.
Sites that use parallax scrolling tend to be made up of one page with very little content that can be crawled by the search engines, resulting in poor SEO ratings. Parallax scrolling can compromise page performance due to the heavy use of graphics and javaScript, which tends to get clogged up, resulting in slow load speed.

Mobile devises especially have issues with slow load speed due to the use of too much javaScript. Even though sites that use parallax scrolling are fun and interesting, some visitors have experienced motion sickness when using websites that are designed with parallax scrolling.

Complex Fonts
Designers creating their own unique and complex fonts is a growing trend. However the use of too many different font types can create a site to appear cluttered and confusing, which can reduce readability and often times the legibility of the content. Interesting and unique fonts can enhance the look of a page, however they can be hard to decipher.

It’s best to keep the number of font types down to a minimal and stay consistent. When using interesting and unique fonts, it’s best to increase the letter spacing and keep with the same font families that work together. Just like colors, fonts have an impact on peoples emotions and feelings, for instance sans-serif font types feel reliable, script font types have a feeling of being traditional and haughty and Sans-Serif fonts types have a feeling of stability.

The Overuse of JavaScript
JavaScript has been a popular trend and is used everywhere these days. Social plugins and the majority of WordPress plugins heavily use JavaScript. JavaScript can be highly functional, it can be used for a lot of elements of functionality that other languages can’t, they can create nice load screens. JavaScript can be found in many of the modern libraries and some of the most popular used frameworks such as Backbone.js, Angular.js and Knockout.js. However there are many reasons that the overuse of JavaScript can hurt a site.

SEO
Search engines do not crawl JavaScrip, therefore it misses some of the keyword rankings.
Security
Like many other languages and scripts JavaScript can be exploited. The reason being, is JavaScript often calls to other sites in order for it to work properly, such as social plugins, which can be subjected to malicious code injection that is usually used to steal information.
Performance
Load speed is affected due to plugins, sliders and other functionalities and elements that create a lot of different JavaScript files. Mobile device browsing is adversely affected due to the load speeds.
Functionality
JavaScript can easily affect functionality, it can break parts of the site due to a bug.

JavaScript in general is not a bad thing, It allows designers to create some very cool and functional sites. However by reducing the amount of JavaScript used on a site will make the site more searchable, more secure and faster to load. When using JavaScript for responsive sites, only load the scripts that actually need to be on mobile devices, it will make the site much less painful for mobile device users.

Trends are just that, Trends
Some trends are a requirement, such as responsive design, which is a necessity for mobile devices. Other trends are industry shifts, such as the change back to flat design.

Web users are like TV remote channel surfers, they surf the web bouncing from site to site to get the information they need. If a site is slow to load due to bloated graphics and all the trendy bells and whistle, most likely the users will not stick around to wait for the page to load and will move on.

Bottom line, think twice before loading your site up with trendy bells and whistles just because it is fashionable. Remember that user experience and data are the goal and that less is more. Work towards keeping designs simple, clean and flat.

Keep in mind that CSS3 and HTML are always adding more elements to use for adding functionality to a site which can eliminate the overuse of JavaScript, but that’s a whole other topic for another time!

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Latest Website Design Trends

Big and Bold
A big trend on websites right now is big and bold. Big bold text, usually placed over a large photo, one liner text that describes what the company does to welcome visitors to the site. Imagine a beautiful photo on your site that fills up the entire screen, providing your audience with an inside look into your company or business. When done correctly, big background photos can make your website stand out from others and provide an in-depth user experience where your visitors feel connected to you and your brand. The idea of big and bold is becoming popular because of its quick, digestible usability. From websites to mobile applications, everybody likes to click on nice readable words and buttons.

Less is More
No one wants to look at pages that are cluttered and overcrowded with graphics, photographs, texts and random flying objects. A cleaner page is easier to navigate and understand. More websites are now using only one or two colors instead of the eye-popping graphics and animation of the past. The new trend is to use one bright and clean background color. The effect is super minimalist and user-friendly.

Flat Design
Flat was one of the biggest trends to emerge in 2013 and is going even stronger in 2015. Flat pages rarely introduce dimensionality or textures, relying instead on visual clarity and bold colors to communicate. Companies from Taco Bell to Apple are dropping Skeuomorphic design and moving to a flat design by stripping away pretty much any design element that isn’t 100% purposeful in the function of the product. This involves getting rid of 3-D graphics and gradients and basically just using flat shapes and indicators to help the user have a more accessible experience.

Fonts
You can expect to see less boring fonts on websites in 2015, such as the standard serif or san-serif fonts like Times New Roman, Helvetica, etc. More designers are using fonts with uniqueness and personality on websites and in logos. Some of these can be fun and playful while others are artistic but still professional.

Responsive Web Design
Responsive Web Design is another big trend. Designers are working more and more on keeping sites functioning on mobile devices. Things like logins, social media integration, email subscriptions, endless scrolling and many other features are making sites much easier to use on phones and tablets, which is what most users are using more and more of these days.

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Why You Need a Website if you Have an Etsy Shop

Many artist and crafters find some success selling their handmade items through an Etsy shop.  Generally, crafters use Etsy because it’s fairly easy to set up and sell their items without needing a ton of technical knowledge.  It is a quick way to get their handmade items in front of buyers searching for handmade goods, but there are a number of pressing reasons why they should also have a website.

It’s Difficult to Be Unique on Etsy
Etsy is a marketplace of individuals selling handmade items.  Your Etsy shop is going to look like every other Etsy shop, making it difficult to be unique.  You may even find other sellers on the site borrowing your product descriptions, and eventually everyone selling handmade pottery bowls may have similar product descriptions as the other Etsy sellers with similar pottery bowls. When shoppers come to the site looking for pottery bowls, there is little to distinguish one seller over another.

When you have a website to sell your goods, it is less likely that your product descriptions will be copied by other sellers.  Your website visitors are only going to see your own products and not be faced with countless other shop owners selling similar items at the click of a mouse.  It is common for customers to comparison shop, so when they’re shopping through Etsy, chances are they’re going to end up buying based on price rather than quality.

Search Engine Traffic (SEO)
It is harder to get search engine rankings for an Etsy shop than it is for a website. Which results to missing out on internet traffic from people searching for items and products to buy.  Etsy shop owners frequently complain about low sales volume as a result of the competition from other Etsy shop owners.

Google changes their algorithm regularly, but recent updates to the way in which Google ranks websites in the search listings is based on duplicate content. If all the shops on Etsy selling pottery bowls have similar descriptions, they may all be penalized by Google and receive less search engine traffic for having duplicate content.

Etsy Shops owners benefit greatly by having a simple website that has a gallery with photos and commentary of their work, with links to the items in their Etsy shop. This way they can reap all the benefits of a website without the additional cost and hassle of setting up a secondary merchant account.

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