As we approach the end of the year, it’s time for Zen Den to look back at some of the trends that emerged in web design in 2011. While trends varied from streamlining to playing with new fonts to adding 3D graphics, the one unifying theme with new and redesigned websites was an enhanced user experience: websites are exploring novel ways to draw in viewers, keep them on the site, and make them want to return again. Zen Den highlights 3 major trends in web design and development in 2011 that illustrate this shift towards designing websites with the user in mind.
1) Simplification. Instead of drowning visitors in information, such as crowded menus, long pages of text, and repetition, many websites are discovering what Zen Den has known all along: less is more. Our design philosophy is defined as creating “powerful, clutter-free, and easily navigable” websites, an approach that works because it draws in viewers instead of overwhelming them.
For The Art of Health, a website dedicated to the relationship between creativity and wellness, Zen Den created a simple, yet beautifully designed and animated landing page that illustrates the core philosophy of the organization without saying a word.
2) Social Connectivity. One of the biggest advantages websites have over traditional print media is that they can be interactive. Why confine your website to blocks of text, when it could be a media-rich environment with videos and plugins that encourage viewers to share the site with their friends?
We recently created an eCommerce site for handbag and accessory designer Paulina Carcach that is loaded with interactive features. A video explains how the handmade purses are created, from concept to leather cutting to finished product. A photo gallery gives shoppers ideas for how to wear the bags. And the shop is equipped with a plugin that allows proselytizers to “like” or “send” any product link via Facebook.
The whole Paulina Carcach experience makes it easy and fun for shoppers to explore what the brand has to offer and share things they like with their friends. Soon, shoppers will even be able to design their own custom handbags on the site!
3) Mobile Websites. Nielson estimated in July that 40% of mobile users in the US have smartphones, and that number will probably become a majority by the end of the year. Smartphone owners love the convenience of pulling up a website from wherever they happen to be, but hate trying to navigate a website that’s not optimized for mobile devices. As we explained in an earlier post, 3 Reasons to Have a Mobile Website, creating a mobile site will enhance user-experience, improve SEO, and drive sales.
MagiCubes makes 3D promotional products designed to stand out from the crowd. We helped them expand into mobile eCommerce with a mobile site that optimizes the way users watch videos, browse products, and read reviews on their phones.
If you think your website is not as user friendly as it could be, contact us to talk about these and other new web design ideas for improving the browsing experience of your customers.