I’ve been working on a few website redesigns lately and visiting sites that sell themes has been like arriving in a new world. Much has changed in the conventions of web design, most for the better when it comes to creating highly-usable sites.
As recently as a few years ago, the goal was to present web design with a sense of depth. We used effects to make images and content seem to lift off the screen. Drop shadows abounded. No more.
Today, clean edges, primary colors, and white space dominate the web landscape. Designs support usability and allowing visitors to quickly access content is the primary concern.
Flat design also works well on all devices – laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. – and is the twin sister to responsive design. When a site is responsive, it changes depending on the device it is being viewed on.
The same website presents different elements depending on whether the user has the larger screen of a computer or the smaller window of an iPhone. This means more than resizing to fit, it means being strategic about what each user is likely to want to do and making those tasks easy to accomplish.
Large, beautiful background images and videos are so popular that it just about confirms for me that a site has been redesigned within the last two years. These images can draw the user into your site. And, the adage about a picture being worth a thousand words is still true–a great picture can tell your story for you.
Retina display, a concept introduced by Apple, refers to screens that have a higher pixel density. The available pixel density differs by device. New designs maximize on the available pixels in the screen being used.
Many sites present content in chunks that look a lot like playing cards on the screen. Think Pinterest or Tagboard for an example.
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Card design really lends itself to responsive websites. Cards are a great way to keep things modular and allow you to rearrange columns without things losing visual balance or getting disorganized. Cards help users to browse and scan and make it easy for them to drill down and see more. They are clean and simple with a lot of versatility.