Chat bots, micro-interactions, big, bold font and content-focused designs will be some of the most important web design trends of 2017.

So many exciting things design-wise happened in 2016. Video content and mobile-optimised websites came to the fore. Sites getting stretched out into long pages which encouraged lots of scrolling, became popular, and we saw the rise of chatbots (Skynet, anyone?), heralding the rise of a new way to interact with customers.

But that was all so last year. What new fangled features should we be jumping onboard this year?

Well, the overall movement has been toward smarter, more human-centric designs. People are cottoning onto the fact that if people do not like using your website, they’re going to leave pretty quickly, so the easier your site is to consume, the better it is for you.

“But Josh,” I hear you say, “I’ve barely caught up with last year’s trends, and now you’re telling me there are more things I need to change about my website?”

If you’ve ever read any of my previous rants/blogs, you’ll know I’m huge on data-driven decision making. This means constant improvements and iterations should be made to your website to improve the user experience. Consider testing these 7 new design trends we predict will become big (or bigger) in 2017.

1. Bold Colours/Duotone

With Material design aesthetics becoming increasingly popular, bold, bright colours and duotone imagery are likely to continue to trend upwards. UX wise, it’s a great way to teach users what colours indicate interactivity, i.e the colour of primary buttons you want users to click. It’s also a great way to distinguish the important elements from popular minimalist designs.

In other interesting news, Pantone has released the colour of the year: Greenery. Whilst we don’t expect all websites built this year to be green, this definitely speaks of the general trend towards popping colours.

2. Chatbots

We saw chatbots start to becoming mainstream last year, with Facebook and Shopify amongst others launching major initiatives into this area.

We’ve known now for quite some time having live-chat on your website is an excellent way to engage visitors in the here-and-now, and provide them with a chance to ask any immediately burning questions. According to research, over 90% of users believe live-chat are useful features, and over 60% would come back to use a live-chat feature. Chat-bots up the ante by giving users quick responses, even allowing users to purchase things from the interface straight away.

Riding this wave are some startups building ‘build-your-own-bot’ platforms, making this wizardry to the masses. As more people see the undeniable value in chatbots, we’ll see more becoming integrated into websites, if not becoming one of the main value-adds to an online presence.

3. Big, Bold Font

We’ve seen a continued shift towards clean, big, bold font. However, if you think that’s just a typographical choice made by some hipster designer who thought Helvetica was too mainstream, think again. Driven by the need to communicate information as quickly as possible in a world full of distractions, and to let the content shine, clean fonts help businesses communicate information better.

One of the most important things in web copy writing is to be as concise as possible. Research shows people only take 50 milliseconds to form a first impression about a website, if they don’t quite understand what you do or where they’re meant to go, they’ll leave, often for good. Clear statements in clean fonts help communicate that information.

It’s important to note when we say ‘bold’, we aren’t referring the weight of the type, rather, the design.

4. Complex graphic-driven designs

Previously, the web design workflow would look something like this: a designer would dream up an amazing design. This design would then be passed onto a programmer who would bring the designer back down to Earth because some ideas were just not feasible. The ideas would bounce back and forth until the end result is something very far removed from the initial design.

With now Internet Explorer jumping onboard and supporting flexbox, we’ll start to see more experimental, complex designs that are designer driven.

Flexbox allows for more fluid and efficient ways to distribute space amongst elements, even if the sizes are unknown. It also makes it easier to position things within your page. Therefore, we’ll be seeing more creative designs as people try to push the boundaries of these new features. Asymmetrical designs, broken up boxes and floating elements will be increasingly popular.

5. Focus on content delivery

Previously, the design was massive differentiator between businesses and products. That’s where trends such as skeuomorphism became popular. It no longer was a last-minute, sprinkle-on-the-top afterthought.

Now, the shift has come back to delivering content. Google led efforts towards flat and material designs, and the popular minimalist approaches, have been focused on displaying content in the most intuitive, efficient and “delightful” way possible.

The shift has been driven by a number of factors, especially a stronger focus on human-centred design and design thinking procedures. Crafting mobile-friendly experiences have been pivotal to this movement. The importance on content marketing as well has been a major driver.

6. Micro-interactions

Micro-interactions are the product moments that revolve around a single use. For example, if you ‘Like’ something on Facebook, that’s a micro-interaction.

While micro-interactions, like their namesake, are small, they add up to affect the user’s mood and experience. It’s all in the details.

We see there will be an increased focus on these tiny details, such as animations when a user clicks a button, that surprise and delight.

7. Collaboration

While not necessarily a design trend, collaboration is going to become increasingly important to how teams develop and design. While people are going to argue the efficacy of designers needing to learn how to code and vice versa, what they can’t argue is how many new tools are combing these two separate disciplines together.

Tools such as UXPin and Invision mean there is less of a gap between the hand-off from designers to developers. In fact, many tools allow for a designer even to export fully written code for the developer to implement.

Ready to take on 2017?

Come talk to us about how you can start your own journey in web development!