By John Eberhard
There are a number of newer elements in web design today, some functional and some stylistic, which you can consider if you are having a new web site built or a re-design being done of an existing site.
The first thing to consider is making the site mobile friendly. This means that the site elements will respond to the size of the browser screen, and so can display well on a pad device or smart phone. Google is changing their algorithm on April 21, 2015 to penalize sites that are not mobile friendly, so if you are getting a new site done or a re-design done, you definitely want to have the site made mobile friendly. And if you are in the process of having a new site created, that is the perfect time to make that change.
There are two approaches to making a site mobile friendly, responsive web design and adaptive web design. See my earlier article for details on these two. Google has expressed a preference for responsive, but either type will do the job.
This is a new trend that is gaining a lot of traction in the last half year or so. It means that your site goes all the way to the edge of the browser window, regardless of the viewer’s monitor size or screen resolution. And all of these sites done this way are responsive, so they will resize for a pad or mobile. It’s a big change from the previous common method of web design where you had a fixed pixel width to the site content (usually 1,000 or 1,100 pixels wide), and usually had a colored or graphic background that showed on both sides of that content box.
There are a number of technical issues to solve to achieve this. I am in the process of building a few sites this way and have converted my own site to this format.
One big advantage is that you are giving yourself more real estate on your page to place your content and deliver your message. And full screen tends to have a higher impact.
It’s important when doing a full screen design to have any pictures that go all the way across be able to resize based on browser width. Also, any slide shows should usually be full screen width and should be responsive and resize based on screen width.
One aspect of this new style or trend is to make the headlines and body text much larger, often centered, and make the person do more scrolling down the page to see it all.
On part of this new trend that I do NOT agree with, is to make a home page with tons of items on it, where you have to scroll and scroll and scroll. You see this a lot today with some of the themes that you can purchase for WordPress sites.
While it is cute to be able to put a lot of different content on that page and display it in various ways, it violates the idea that each page is supposed have one basic idea or one basic purpose. Search engines expect that and build their whole systems around that. So having one home page that has a bunch of different items on it is not good for search engine ranking or for user experience.
One new element that I like a lot is where you can have tile patterns (basically patterns made up of squares) where each tile contains a picture, usually a headline and sometimes some text. I just put this at the top of my home page, and I am working on a site for another client where we have this on the home page.
Each tile links to another page, and there are options for dynamic stuff to happen when you mouse over the tile, such as the picture zooming in or out, change color, or for text to scroll up.
Recent Blog Posts Squares
Another cool thing is to have a display showing pictures and headlines from recent blog posts. I also put this at the bottom of my home page.
Those are a few of the newer elements that you can put on a web site.