At the time of writing this, the web is almost 24 years old . From what started as a strange science project has grown into a media consumption and human expression engine like the world has never seen before. The internet is a constantly evolving machine that has reached roughly 40% of the world and growing, without showing any signs of stopping or slowing down. Every business, from multinational brands and corporations to mom and pop shop’s need an online presence. Some stand out and some don’t, but in today’s world if you don’t stand out you just drown in the rest of the noise that humans have learned to tune out. Here are the top web design trends that we are seeing in preparation for 2015:
A STRONG CONCEPTUAL DIRECTION
The days of boring static content displaying your offerings with lists of text and boring stock imagery is coming to an end. With the endless choices of sites for viewers to spend their limited time on, no one has time for boring content. Taking a cue from the advertising industry, the web is becoming more entertaining and thus there is a need for concepts. The conceptual direction of the site should focus on entertaining the people that you want as customers and brand ambassadors. To create a lasting impression the content should not only be relevant but also worth watching or reading. Here a few examples of awesome concepts.
Withings launched their #NoMoreSnooze campaign to promote their new Aura alarm clock. The site entertains the viewer with awesome videos of different alarm clock being destroyed in different ways while educating the viewer with fun facts about sleeping and health. The Aura is a different type of alarm clock that uses light instead of sound. Their unique content strategy beautifully matches a unique product.
JACK DANIEL’S BAR STORIES
In this example Jack Daniels speaks to their core audience that frequents dive bars with an entertaining display of bar stories from around the country. Jack understands their target market and this microsite shows that perfectly.
Warsaw Rising combines video, scroll interactions, and smooth modern animations to create an amazing experience that tells the story of Warsaw, Poland during World War 2.
BEYOND CHARTS: DATA VISUALIZATIONS
While static charts and graphs still have a place in the world, dynamic and interactive content is leading the way in web engagement. Interactive data visualizations are not only interesting and beautiful to look at, but also entertaining to play with and fun to learn from.
Here is beautiful example of population growth around the world that displays the power of WebGl in an awesome 3D Chrome experiment (Google Chrome only).
This is an awesome example using three.js to simulate the neural network of the brain. The viewer even has the option to customize the visualization with a series of options such as color, size, and speed.
LARGE BEAUTIFUL VIDEOS THAT TELL STORIES
A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes they just get scanned over, or they are too conceptual and the viewer has to decide what they are looking at. Videos add another layer of depth to your content that when done right can help tell the story of your brand or give another layer to your messaging. Here are a few examples of videos done right:
We2Print’s target market consists of traditional printers looking to expand their business into the digital market. By displaying the familiar video of a press at work with a catchy tagline overlayed the landing becomes more interesting than any other company competing in their space.
Kientzler consulting’s workshops revolve around collaboration between team members within an organization. The background video of a team collaborating not only becomes an interesting texture behind an overview of the process, but also lends itself to the creative nature of the experience.
THE OBAKKI FOUNDATION
The Obakki Foundation shows a powerful, beautiful introduction video of water being brought to Africa to quickly set the tone of their organization upon landing on the site. The context of the videos are quick and self explanatory, but it also sets the tone for their branding as a whole. Clean, modern, and sophisticated.
UNCONVENTIONAL MESSAGING AND GRAPHICS
Unless your target market is the entire world (if you say it is we should be having another conversation), your message should not attempt to reach everyone. You should instead choose to craft a message that speaks directly to your audience as if you are in the same club.
Creative agency Purple Rock Scissors uses “Every Day We’re Hustling” to bring their own personality to the forefront of their site. While taking the risk of possibly scaring off certain clients, they will be instantly recognized by others as creative and fun to work with (on purpose).
German creative firm Hochburg uses aggressive graphics with an emphasis on hand done vs digital imagery that sets them apart in a way that may seem too risky for some, but exactly what another client may be looking for.
Buttery smooth animation is an absolute must for any effects added to your website. Glitchy, slow, or dysfunctional animations instantly turn away viewers. With all of the high resolution screen devices on the market today choosing the right framework is key. A few libraries that we recommend are:
HIGH QUALITY IMAGES
15 years ago it may have sounded like an awesome idea to be able to go online and type in “Business man holding chart” and having an endless array of various hands, in various colors, posing in various positions popping up on the screen. The only problem with that is the whole world caught on and now stock image is a style. The environment is clearly staged with actors pretending to be doing something professionally, with a slight hint of blue if it’s in the medical or business category. Instead either opt for hiring a photographer, selecting more conceptual images, or just take a look around at what’s in the high quality public domain. Here are a few of our favorites:
So step it up a notch
It’s not just enough to have a clean professional website anymore. You have to create engaging content that has an intentional purpose. Whether you are looking for new customers, launching a new product, or spreading a message, bring content that has a soul and personality or be ignored.