2017 Web Design Trends

The digital world changes so rapidly, it’s important for web designers and developers to keep up, or more importantly, stay ahead. Through shaping new trends and technologies, we can make the web even bigger, better, more functional, and of course, prettier (who doesn’t want to look at a prettier web?).
After scouring the web, looking at fellow designers works, and from observations I’ve seen through working in the industry, I’ve compiled a list of 10 design trends that are likely to appear or become more prominent in 2017.

1.Advanced Animation

Last year, we saw a rise in the use of animation in design, and this year the trend continued to grow. Animation is slowly becoming an expected feature, rather than an added extra, and it’s therefore an element of design that needs to be considered before, rather than after, the first concept is drafted.
Animation is more than just creating attention, it can be used as a directive tool, to show users what their expected to do next. It’s a great way of making the user experience much more enjoyable, and generally that bit easier.

2. Fierce Colour Schemes

In 2015/2016 we saw bright colours take off, and in 2016/2017 this will be taken to the next level. Web design has been fairly limited to clean, minimal, generally very ‘white’ styled website. However, with the increase in screen technologies, such as HD, designers are now able to incorporate much more colour.
Spotify were getting in on the action very early with their year in music, and Instagram followed with their updated bright gradient logo which caused some controversy (because apparently there’s nothing bigger to worry about in today’s world) but the noise quickly died down once everyone’s eyes had adjusted.
Why bright colours? They’re great for distinguishing content, and can be very stimulating to users, especially on a minimal (less busy) website.

3. Just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling..

With the number of different screen sizes getting larger every year, the term ‘above the fold’ is becoming more and more redundant. If you think about the apps you use on mobile or tablet, from Facebook and Twitter, to ASOS, they are all designed to be scrolled through. We don’t think twice about scrolling on our mobile, because it’s thumb friendly and second nature now.
There are several benefits to creating websites designed to be scrolled, such as a simplified navigation, potential for storytelling is greater, and they translate well on mobile devices.
Still not sure? This website illustrates my point perfectly.

4. Microinteractions

If you’re not sure what these are, you clearly haven’t been following our blog. Tut tut. We did a lovey little post a while back explaining exactly what they are, which you can read here.
Microinteractions are small tasks we complete on a website such as changing a setting, leaving feedback, or liking a post on Facebook. They replicate a physical action, which is why we enjoy using them so much, we feel accomplished.
Why are they important? Well, they give users a sense of control, offer guidance, and encourage users to interact with your website, which is exactly why it’s been built in the first place, for users to interact with it.
These subtle little buttons and controls are already in use on a lot of websites without you noticing most probably, and we predict they will only become more popular with designers next year.


Swiping the ‘Download’ button on Spotify is a microinteraction.

5. Video

We don’t really need to say any more about video, other than it’s huge. Video content is everywhere, and if you’re not utilising it, you’re really missing out.
There are negatives that come with video, such as slower load times when large videos are incorporated into web design. There are mixed views on whether this is a big issue, some people argue that it impacts bounce rate, and ultimately the likelihood of conversion, but others disagree and are prepared to wait the extra 5 – 10 seconds load time to view website content.

6. Card Layouts

First becoming popular when Pinterest made it’s impressive appearance, card layouts grew from the basic grid layouts that dominated web design for a long long time. They’re a great way to organise content heavy websites, and are popular with Google.
Subtle shadowing and hover state animation can add an extra dimension to card layouts, and they’re extremely easy for users to understand. They also lend themselves to responsive design as they can be ‘stacked’ neatly on top of one another.

7. Material Design: An Alternative to Flat Design

Last year, Google launched its new style language: Material Design. Using shadow effects and concepts of movement and depth, Material Design creates designs that appear more realistic to users.
To date, we’ve only seen material design used in Google apps, but it’s becoming increasingly popular with designers, and we expect to see a lot more of it next year.

8. Responsive Design

This meme sums it up nicely for us:

9. R.I.P Hamburger Nav

The trusted hamburger nav could soon be taking its last breath on desktop devices. With the rise of responsive design (summed up previously by Ron Burgandy), the hamburger nav was a great way of saving space, yet still allowing users to navigate the whole website fairly easily. In 2015/16 the burger creeped slowly over from mobile to include itself in desktop designs too.
Next year, we expect to see the hamburger nav’s popularity to decline, because whilst aesthetically they look great, they increase the number of clicks needed to reach content (adding another step in the user journey). Although websites need to look good, their primary purpose is to be functional from a user perspective.

10. Breaking the Grid

The traditional grid layout is changing, with designers now using it in more innovative ways. Instead of the typical ‘everything must line up’ and look ‘perfect’ mind set, designer are experimenting and creating a more editorial feel to websites.
Clearly, this trend is not for everyone, and will not work for every industry. Target audience is key when considering web design, and this editorial feel lends itself to a younger, quirkier audience.
That’s only our top 10 web trends we expect to see over the web next year, there are still so many design trends, and advancements in technology that bring new possibilities to web design and development!
Image sources:
UI Movement

Written by Rhian Williams