Trends in web design, plus more Google changes coming

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Website technology and design change fast. And as companies get a better sense of how people are interacting with websites (not to mention where and how they’re viewing them with mobile devices), designers are creating websites to match.

Here are three of the latest and biggest trends in website design:

Large photo, image and video background

Big photos and full-screen illustrations – especially for banners and backgrounds – are big. Apple was one of the first major companies to use this style of layout, but the idea been picked up by many other firms, including one of my clients, SA Power Networks.

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In addition, many sites now use full-screen video backgrounds on their home pages, including sites for organisations like Australian Open, AirBnB and Australia.com.

Both of these options provide an opportunity to make a strong visual statement for viewers. In addition, they tend to be clean and uncluttered, and they often feature simplified menus that help direct people where you want them to go.

However, be careful when choosing these layouts, as one of the most common problems with large backgrounds is that they don’t always work in all screen resolutions. If you go this route, be sure to view the layout in all possible screen resolutions, browsers, devices, etc.

Parallax and scrolling websites

Scrolling websites have been around for a while now: longer website pages where you flick up and down (similar to how you use your mobile device).  I did this website nearly a year ago which still looks very current: www.khouryconsulting.com.au

But what’s very cool is the use of parallax scrolling which results in the background moving at a slower rate than the foreground. This technique was originally used in 2D video games to create an illusion of depth, and it’s now being used to create a 3D visual effect as you scroll down the page.

Here’s a good example: www.alexandrinafarm.com.au

When done correctly and sparingly, these sites can be really eye-catching and memorable – but when done incorrectly, they can come across as overdone (or even overwhelming) for viewers. So go careful. Also, if you decide to use parallax scrolling for your site, be sure that the layout is mobile-compatible, as this technique often looks great on desktops and laptops, but doesn’t always achieve the same results on smartphones or tablets. And on that note . . .

More Google changes coming: 21 April 2015

There’s additional urgency to make sure your site works on mobile devices. Why? Because Google will soon penalise you if it doesn’t.

As I’ve mentioned before in some of my blog articles, Google often updates their algorithm to improve the overall “search experience” for all users. Google has announced that they’re updating their algorithm once again beginning 21 April 2015, and this time, in an update nicknamed “mobilegeddon“, they’re penalising sites that aren’t mobile-responsive.

In other words, if a site isn’t designed to adjust for a smartphone or tablet viewer, its search ranking could drop.

The good news for Breathe Marketing clients is that we’ve been using mobile responsive website templates for a long time now, so they’re all safe.  But other companies will need to act fast in order to avoid being penalised and potentially losing customers.

In fact I’m one of them!  Rather like the plumber with the leaky taps at home, my own website needs an overhaul to make it fully mobile responsive (it was designed about 3 years ago).  Ironic isn’t it?  So keep an eye out for the new, updated Breathe Marketing site coming soon.

Have questions about these trends? Interested in using one or more of these techniques for your site? Contact Breathe Marketing today.

AUTHOR

Anna Nixon-Smith

All stories by: Anna Nixon-Smith