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3 Web Design Trends for 2017

Menus that defy navigation paradigms

Since dark ages of web design (i.e. 20 years ago) there have been two standard types of navigation: top and sidebar. With the rise of responsive web design, we’ve seen the addition of the hamburger menu to this short list. The hamburger is a workable solution for mobile, but it’s not perfect. It’s been accused of:

  • hindering user engagement;
  • having low discoverability;
  • being less efficient (both for users and design/development teams);
  • and even of “having no smell.”

With these sorts of mixed, ambivalent feelings, and the continued rise of mobile browsing, we expect to see a lot of menu experimentation in 2017.

Split screens

Vertical division of the screen in two equal parts, with clear visual separation, is something we expect to see a lot more of in 2017. This is a visually-striking trend that invokes an open book and gives the site a natural feel. The trend is also quite versatile; on smaller monitors/devices, the two sections can be  stacked as consecutive blocks or turned into side-panel navigation.

Color with a vintage quality

For the past couple years the web has been dominated by gray: light gray backgrounds instead of white, slate gray text instead of black, and subtle gray shadows to create depth in material design. With 2017 we’re finally seeing the return of colors! And it’s back with a vengeance, with bright, vintage hues.

Choosing colors for a website is complicated and can be influenced by many factors, including existing corporate identity, industry, color psychology and personal taste. Whether you decide you like blue, or are more drawn to orange, just imagine running the colors you pick through an Instagram filter to create a warm, nostalgic feel.


Custom scrolling

We’re seeing a clear trend of sites ditching the traditional browser scrollbar and instead creating a custom on-page experience for their content. Some sites use “virtual scroll,” which still allows users to scroll, but does it in-app instead of giving the browser control. This allows for varied types of scrolling, like the Build in Amsterdam site, which is designed around horizontal scroll, but can be controlled with a standard mouse; scrolling up and down shifts the content left and right, taking the mobile or tablet experience onto the desktop.

Cinematic experiences

Big, cinematic video backgrounds started to trend in 2015. They’ve becoming increasingly more popular, however, as technology improves, allowing for faster video loading times. Advances in WebGL have also allow these backgrounds to become interactive, creating immersive cinematic experiences on the web.

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