From the desk of Danielle Lebo
In the first part of this series, we covered a few of the big first impression items when it comes to designing your website. If your site doesn't work with mobile devices or doesn't have the overall minimalistic design with eye-catching images and video, a lot of people won't give you the time to really introduce yourself.
Just as we all dress well for moments when first impressions count, a cleanly-designed site with just the right amount of flash (style, not the software) sends out the message that you are a brand with some authority, and you run a place worth sticking around in.
But page design doesn't end with these broad strokes. There are a number of finesse points that can make your site that much more attractive and bring in those new viewers.
1. Bold, Strong Typography and Iconography
Larger, simpler type usage and fonts on websites has the double benefit of being trendy and also eye-catching. It aids in the process of developing a minimal design and allows designers to place emphasis and call-outs on a site in a clean, organized, catchy way. Plus, with more font resources than ever, designers are able to call on more fonts for usage, allowing many designers to move out of the box of what used to be only a limited number of options, many of which were not as versatile as those we see available today.
The use of icons as a design is on the rise as well. Icons create simplified visual interest in conjunction with headline text or as stand-alone items. As with photographs, icons help encapsulate your identity at a glance in a way text simply isn’t able to. Although you want to avoid cluttering the page with too much, a few choice icons—combined with a suitable font—can save a lot of space and make the text you do use stand out more.
2. Hover States
A hover state is an action that occurs when a user mouses over a particular item. A common example is with navigation menu entries: when moused over, often times the color of the item changes.
But hover states can be so much more. Examples of these include size changes upon roll over, icon swaps, images fading, or blurring. Indeed, this is becoming increasing popular as a means to engage users in conjunction with minimal design framework. Hover states just make things “pop.” These simple, little animations add small areas of interest to a website and add a hint of creativity to a website without being overly distracting or relying on the archaic Flash animation approach (which has been steadily going out of style for a number of reasons for years now and really no longer functions as needed).
These are only a couple simple trends in the world of site building. Design trends are constantly changing as new innovative ideas change how we experience the internet every day. As you can see, at the current moment, it is imperative to adapt to the fact that most websites are accessed via mobile devices.
At the same time, users now expect to see a clean, minimalistic design that delivers information in a heavily visual fashion. Even if you don't personally care about these things in your online experience, it is important to stand out and avoid falling behind in website trends because many people judge a business or ministry from that first impression. Having a site that looks modern and interacts in the way users expect it to can make all the difference between a user sticking around to learn all about you and drifting off to the next link on Google. Make sure, based on their web experience with you, that they don't need to search any further.