Web Design Trends 2009. Part 3

I continue to reveal the secrets of popular tips and styles for web design in the current 2009th year. Five more trends will be reviewed today. Let me remind you that you can find the previous parts of the material on the links: web design trends (part 1) and website design trends (part 2).

So let’s get started.

11. Custom designs

There has been a strong trend towards more personalized and creative designs lately. Instead of using conventional approaches, designers experiment with how information is structured, how it is presented to the user.

In these “Not boxed” In designs, creativity is often more important and memorable than attention to detail. However, usability, typography and visual design are rarely forgotten and these points are also carefully worked out. Creative designs are often used for portfolios, advertising agency sites and promo sites (commercial events of large companies), and are also very popular on blogs.

When it comes to creativity, there is a very thin line between a user-friendly and an uncomfortable user interface, so usability testing is of particular importance – after all, creativity can harm a website. The right decision is to find a compromise between a creative approach and a classic, traditional design; a balance has to be struck between impenetrable (boring), user-friendly design and innovative awkward designs. Please be aware that innovative ideas take some time to mature: must be thought out, adapted, and then integrated into the design.

In general, it’s good when designers go beyond the usual “box”, experiment with new approaches and risky crazy ideas, showing what they are capable of.

12. One-page designs

An alternative way that site builders often use to impress their visitors is called “one page design” (one-page layouts). These layouts use just one page to present site content. Moreover, this does not mean at all that such works are performed in a minimalist style (according to the principle – the less the better). Quite the opposite – such projects are quite complex, contain bright images, animation effects and take some time to load.

When the user navigates through the menu items, the page changes partially and the new content is displayed in the area that was previously occupied by the previous one. Navigation in such templates is implemented using sliding and scrolling effects from common JavaScript libraries. The main benefit for users is that they need to make fewer mouse movements and clicks to get the information they want. Since this approach is relatively new, there is, of course, the possibility that some visitors will find themselves confused by unconventional navigation methods. In this case, an alternative (static) option will be very useful, which will also be well received by search engines and those who have JavaScript disabled in their browser.

13. Designs with multiple columns

Sites with a large number of columns (3 or more) do not necessarily have a complex structure. On the contrary, if the author has done everything properly, the multi-column layouts can be quite enjoyable for users – they provide a better overview of all available navigation options, which greatly speeds up the search for the information you want.

In the past few years, we can observe an “explosion” in the amount of content on the Internet, which has led to the problem of reducing user attention and the time that guests are willing to spend on a particular website (author – read an article that on average the visitor spends the first 10 seconds). Therefore, it is not surprising that designers are trying to find ways to present information more compactly, so that users stay on the site as long as possible, and can quickly find the content they want.

One way to achieve this goal is to create designs with a large number of columns that are next to each other. The approach is quite reasonable. After all, screen resolutions have steadily increased lately (although the rise in popularity of netbooks such as the Asus EEE PC may change this), giving users more and more horizontal space to fill with content.

As a result, many designers are now increasingly using multiple columns. This implementation can often be found on magazine and portfolio sites. Chunking is used to provide and emphasize a balanced site structure.

14. Huge illustrations and bright graphics

Just as huge typography continues to dominate modern web designs, large illustrations are becoming increasingly popular for professional and personal projects.

Designers try to convey the “message” of the site using interactive (embedded video blocks) and visual elements (introductory blocks, illustrations). Illustrations have taken up a lot more space in layouts lately than they used to, and tend to complement huge typography. Generally they are more attractive, vibrant and therefore more memorable for the visitors.

Along with this, designers also use bright graphics not only for the background, but also for other elements of the layout, applying different styles and graphic approaches: grunge, collages, scrapbooks, decorations, retro style, stamps, watercolors, organic textures and photographs.

15. More free space

This trend is one of the most predictable, but extremely useful – over the past few years, the amount of white space on sites has increased significantly. Indeed, never before have we seen such large padding for content areas and menus. Wrapping between 20 and 25 pixels for text boxes is becoming the rule, even large padding is often considered acceptable.

That’s all for today, to be continued. As a reminder, this post is a translation of an English-language article from smashingmagazine.

PS Review of the review service for cafes, bars, restaurants and other establishments in any city is a promising and serious project of UANet.

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