Form Follows Function – Mobile First Is Becoming the Function That Design Is Following – Time Spent With Mobile Apps Has Overtaken Browser Use
Changes and What They Mean For Your Website
Here is a quick rundown of some highlights we will go into with details in this article. Scroll to your priority or enjoy reading the whole in-depth article.
- Mobile First as Design Priority and What This Means As Desktop Use Falls,
- Clean, Uncluttered, Minimalist Design for Easy Smartphone Viewing,
- Images of All Types Bigger and Better Quality,
- Quality Content More Necessary Than Ever for Search Engine Optimization As Google’s New Algorithms Weed Out Sites Without Original Content Offering User Something Useful,
- “Sticky Websites” More Important Than Ever to Keep Customers Busy on the Site and Returning for Info, Develop Relationship With Them For Eventual Business Interaction
- Storytelling to Differentiate Your Brand With a Multimedia Narrative,
- Menus Get Creative,
- Relevance for User and Personalization of Sites as Competition Gets Tougher,
- Adding Mobile Apps for Your Website Since App Use Now More Popular Than Browsing Becomes Important
- Interactive Infographics With Clickable Images For Users To Do Something and Increase Site Engagement
- Flatter Graphics, Some Block or “Card Style” Like Windows 8 Look or Apps Look
- Scrolling Now More Popular Than Clicking and more.
- Total Internet Presence Means a Multi-Faceted Approach to Your Online Presence Where the Website is Just One Facet of It.
Examples of Website Design in 2015 at Popular Websites
Browse This List to See Examples and Get Ideas for Your Own Website or Blog
Take a look at some of these current designs styles of popular website and blogs on the web in 2015 to visualize how these trends are taking shape.
You will notice the clean, uncluttered look.
The sites are easy to read and navigate on mobile devices.
Remember though, specific needs of individual business brands mean you do not need to follow the trends. Do what is appropriate for your company style and needs.
Websites and Blogs
- Seth Godin Marketing
- Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress
- The Moz Blog Internet Marketing
Google Now Ranks Sites According to Including Mobile Usability In Addition to the Other Qualities
After weeks of reading predictions, looking at graphs and seeing objective analytics there are certain directions for change that are taking place. These trends are not opinions but based on concrete, objective stats over the years and today.
Feel free to scroll through this article like a reference and focus on the aspects that are a priority for you. Bold titles help the individual subtopics stand out for you.
This article is focusing on user experience and visual impressions of the websites.
Security and Privacy Issues Will Be Covered In a Different Specific Article
Security and privacy are of course also at the forefront of website creation needs for obvious reasons.
Trends to Make Sites Easy to Read and Use on Mobile Devices Are a Priority
These slides and graphs on Business Insider show mobile use and growth. As you go through the slides you will see the graph labeled “Smart Phone Time-Spend Surpassed PC Time Last Year.
In the same slide deck you will see a graph labeled Time-Spend on Mobile Overtook TV.
Mobile Usability Is Now Part of Google’s Search Engine Ranking System
The saying “form follows function” is true when it comes to websites in general and wordpress website design trends 2015.
Ten years ago we were all designing for desktops and trying to get the largest monitors we could afford. Now the necessity is designing for viewing on the smaller screens of mobile devices.
Google’s Mobile Usability Score for the Website Is Important for Search Engine Ranks
Google has added Mobile Usability as part of its site evaluation for search engine ranking results. To get your site ranked high so searchers will see it in the results and click to visit your site you need to be sure the site is mobile user friendly.
Types of Mobile Friendly Site Menus
If you already up to date with a mobile responsive website and mobile menu then you can skip this part and scroll down to the Classic, Major and Additional Ongoing Trends. This portion is specifically for those who may not understand the mobile website concept and why it is so important to have one as we move into 2015.
This is an important concept to understand. Mobile friendly menus are different from the usual horizontal primary navigation menus we are accustomed to using.
Three Horizontal Lines Indicate a Menu That Expands on Mobile When Clicked
This means the site has some form of mobile menu. Frequent styles include the three horizontal lines in the upper right or left which expand when clicked into a drop down menu. The menu has the same labels seen on a desktop version of the site that has the primary navigation as a horizontal list of labels across the top.
Button Labeled MENU Expands With a Drop Down List of Labels From the Primary Navigation Menu
Another mobile style menu adds a button labeled MENU to the top of the website when seen on a smartphone or tablet. Clicking the MENU label causes a drop down list of the primary navigation menu labels.
It goes without saying that on a smartphone the website that expands across the screen when viewed on a desktop is reformatted into a long horizontal column to fit the smart screen shape and size.
Definition of the Words Responsive, Mobile Friendly, Mobile Usable
The words Responsive or Mobile Friendly mean the site automatically detects the users type of device and screen size when someone lands on the site and it instantly rearranges itself for easy use according to the device and screen size.
A. First, A Few Words About Trends and Websites
The Importance of Making the Design Appropriate for the Type of Business
Remember, while trends indicate a current popular design there is no rule that a website needs to follow the trends. Individual needs of businesses and users vary so much. The one rule is to make the design custom tailored to fit the type of business, the internet presence goals, and the users whom you wish to attract to the website and business.
The definition of Trends is the direction in which something is developing or changing.
Custom Tailor Sites for Specific User Audience
Businesses have unique needs so the design of the site has to be custom tailored in a situation specific way to fit their needs as closely as possible.
Know Your Audience and What They Need and Want
Knowing your audience, knowing the needs of your typical user, and designing to make a website that is a good fit for the users is the priority.
The design, ease of use, relevance of the content and unique characteristics that your audience will relate to are important. A website for a senior citizen center would have different needs than a site for 20 year olds.
Corporate Image Versus Homegrown – Suite the Site to the Goal
If you want a corporate image or a homegrown, homestead type image the design concepts will need to fit that image goal. A friendly, local Mom and Pop business with homemade items will need a different style design from a corporation that makes electronics. Artists websites look different from news websites.
So making the design appropriate for the type of business is a priority.
Typical Internet Users Are More Varied Now, Not as Many Sitting at a Desktop With a Large Monitor – Mobile Devices Predicted to Take Over Popularity From Desktops This Year
The typical internet users used to be all sitting at their desktops. Now the market has divided into plentiful varieties of devices and screen sizes. Design needs to meet the needs of the current users.
WordPress Trends for 2015 Show Designers Meeting the Needs of the Users
A survey of WordPress Design Trends 2015 shows that mobile device use is influencing the overall designs. Ease of use and fast loading are priorities. Mobile payment systems and security issues are also at the top of the trends.
Mobile Device Use is Influencing the Overall Design of the Websites
This year is predicted to be the time when mobile device use overtakes desktop use on the internet. Therefore the priorities for designers are to put equal emphasis on meeting the needs of mobile device users.
Instead of Designing for Desktops First With Mobile Use Also Included Mobile First Is a Priority for 2015
In the past design often met the needs of desktop users first and then a secondary priority was to make the sites usable on mobile devices. This year designing for mobile and desktop will be equal priorities. Mobile may well take over as the top priority.
B. WordPress Design Trends for 2015 – Classics, Major and Additional
First, the classic design principles and ongoing trends.
1. Quality Content That Is Relevant to the Users Needs – Original, non-duplicate articles and other media with useful information that makes a positive contribution for the website visitor.
Re: Quality Content, Search Engines and Traffic
As search engines become more sophisticated and read websites more like people they are weeding out the poor quality, duplicate material more than ever in the search engine result rankings.
More than ever it is important to have some type of Content Management System (CMS) with articles, photos, videos, graphics, etc. in order to get a high ranking with Google.
Search Engines Are More Particular About Seeking Quality Content Than Ever for Ranking
Quality content, meaning original content that cannot be found elsewhere on the web because it is not a duplicate, becomes more important each year.
Quality Content and Blogs
To provide quality content having a blog on your website becomes a priority. The blog is where you can keep adding fresh, up to date, original, unique content to impress the search engines with the quality of your site.
Use Quality Content to Get Higher Search Engine Ranks and More Website Traffic
Getting traffic to your site through high search engine ranks is still one of the priorities. As always, tricks are not the way to do it. The best quality content you can create is the way to get high search engine results rankings.
Sharing Quality Content on Social Media to Get Site Traffic
Having quality content also gives you useful content you can share on social media to help bring visitors to your website that way as well. Social media is becoming more important each year. Building a fan base and a strategy are important for any business planning a strategy for the future.
2. Responsive Web Design – Websites that detect the device and screen size of the user and reformat automatically for easy use.
3. Easy Navigation – Menus or other links leading to the rest of the website or blog are easy for the user to find and use.
4. Clean, Uncluttered Design – The presentation of the website makes it easy for the eyes to use it without feeling it is a busy, crowded page.
5. Easy to Read – Make sure the text is easy to read. The website needs to be easy to follow and not confusing to the user.
C. Major New WordPress Design Trends Taking Shape for 2015
Note: This article is focusing more on the visual design of the website. But it goes without saying that security and privacy issues are priorities in creating the sites.
1. Responsive Design is a necessity. Designing for “Responsive First” instead of desktop first will become even more of a priority.
2. Graphics are flat or have fairly simple amounts of shade and shadow. This keeps the graphics easy to see on small screens and helps make the site load faster.
3. Scrolling Is More Popular Than Clicking. Analytics show people are doing more scrolling than clicking. Again this is related to mobile device use. It is easier to keep scrolling down on a small screen than to keep clicking. This way people don’t need to wait for another page to load. Long pages for scrolling or the infinite scroll plugin are predicted to keep becoming more popular.
4. Typography with variety and flexibility with fonts. Increased font sized are predicted also. On mobile devices larger font sizes make reading easier.
5. Larger Images are another trend. Full screen photos and graphics have already been a trend and this is predicted to continue. Large images, similar to the larger fonts, are easier to see on small mobile device screens.
6. “Card Design” or blocks of fairly flat graphics and images that are clickable are another trend. This looks similar to the Windows 8 homescreen with the large squares that are clicked to get somewhere. The Card Design provides ways to navigate the website or to do things such as give a rating.
7. Minimalist Design Looks Less Cluttered on Small Screens. The classic clean, uncluttered design look works well on smartphone and tablet screens. Of course it also makes the user experience good for people using desktop also.
8. Relevant content for the user will be even more personalized by the “cookies” used by sites to evaluate what the user has read recently or done on the internet. Then the most relevant content will be served up or suggested.
9. Interactive Infographics are becoming more interactive so they are not just static. With clickable elements in the infographic this can trigger changes so the user is more involved, more engaged.
10. Storytelling for brand recognition. It is a top priority in order to tell users your brand’s story and background in an interesting manner that holds their attention is a trend in 2015. Setting your brand apart from the others by having a background story that is memorable has always been important. Like the entrepreneurs on the TV show “Shark Tank” it is a marketing and branding trend to tell your business story well and get people’s attention.
D. Additional Website Design Trends Taking Shape for 2015
1. One or two colors dominating the site. This is part of the trend toward cleaner, less cluttered sites emphasizing simplicity. It is also part of a trend for branding and recognition. Using customized, easily recognizable colors becomes part of a brand identity.
2. Storytelling software and multimedia features to tell the brand’s background and “brand narrative.” To make this storytelling more compelling brands are using more video, photos, graphics, font varieties and interactive elements.
3. Creative Menus. Pop-ups, slide-outs, clickable images and other creative ways to navigate the sites are changing the way menus look.
4. Higher quality images. Beautiful, unique, original photos and graphics are more important than ever. In addition to larger images the trend is shaping up with a focus on higher quality, more unique, more creative types of images. Whether they are photos, graphics, or infographics with interactive elements the trend is to get more uniqueness and originality as well as higher quality.
5. Video Backgrounds for text . We are seeing more large or full screen videos playing while a bit of text sits on top of it which is often clickable. Again, this is another way to navigate the site and to get the user engaged by using compelling images. The goal is to make an impact with something different in order to get the user’s attention and get the user interacting.
6. SVG file format for vector graphics is becoming a trend.
7. Security and privacy issues are at the forefront of the trends. Using the https address format which indicates a higher level of security is one of the parts of this trend.
8. “Material Design” is a trend where graphic images are kept fairly flat but do have some shadows and tones so they are not completely flat. The term “material design” is used in Google’s guidelines now. The goal is keeping graphics easy to read and fast loading.
9. Fewer Drop Down Labels in Primary Navigation Menus. With the trend toward simpler design there is a trend away from long lists in the drop down parts of the primary menus.
10. Fewer sliders and carousels is another trend that has been mentioned across the internet. Again, this relates to users on mobile devices who need less complex, simpler, easy to read sites on their screens.
11. Fixed Width Centered Sites are still popular and are making a comeback. Whether you choose a full width format that stretches from one side of the screen to the other or a narrower, centered, fixed width you are still using a popular style.
12. Adding Blogs (Content Management Systems) to traditional, static websites. With Google’s increasing emphasis on quality content (information that is useful, informs, solves a problem, entertains or make a positive difference in some way for the user) when it ranks sites adding blogs is important.
You can visit these links to see website design awards for 2014 and evaluate the trends yourself.
For more insights visit these sites.
Matt Mullenweg WordPress Founder
WordPress Tavern Partner with WordPress, Get the Tips Here
WordPress Showcase on the WordPress.org site, Presents Top WordPress Sites