Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions showing a pen and paper

I often receive lots of questions on various different social media networks and websites like Quora¬†and instead of spending time answering the same questions over and over again, I have created an FAQs section to collate everything together. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask me about web design or website design trends, including anything graphic design related, please fill out the form at the bottom and I’ll get in touch.

What makes a website look modern?

This is often a question asked by customers looking for a website. Most websites which look modern have a number of correlating features. One of the easiest ways for a website to look modern and contemporary is the typography (font) which is being displayed.

Many large brands, including promising start-ups will use sleek new fonts and in most cases, these are readily available as web fonts. Some companies such as Amazon, Google etc, will also update their logo every 5 or so years to a different style of font. These differences are usually very subtle, but are what gives it a sleek edge vs. competitors.

Another area which is particularly the case for web design trends in 2018, is the use of high quality, retina sharp imagery. This is a real challenge for web design agencies because the higher the quality, the higher the image file size. There are workarounds though – SVGs are a relatively old format, but have become increasingly popular for icons and digital graphics because they are a vector format. This means that the images can be really small in size, but in theory could be blown up infinitely large.

Another area which I feel makes a website look more modern, is the use of negative space. Having been a web designer in the past, clients will sometimes struggle to understand why an area is empty, when in fact it is intentional. Google, Apple and other high end brands will make use of empty space to put emphasis on the content that is there, whether it’s an image or a title.

Finally, I think the one area which is often overlooked on cheap websites, is the use of subtle CSS3 animations. These must not be overdone, otherwise you risk the website looking very amateurish, but subtle use on buttons, hover overs and on images can really make a website ‘pop’.

Are there any trends which have lasted more than a couple of years?

Unfortunately, yes. There are quite a few which have stuck around for years. One of them, which I still find on occasion is the boxed layout. Many years ago when websites were not responsive and had limited space to work with, fixed grid layouts were used. One of the most popular sizes was 960px, but this has now pretty much been phased out.

In a more recent age, where the majority of users are using mobile devices, it’s still common to see web designers using a boxed layout, despite being responsive, just for the design. It’s true that in many industries which are more traditional, it’s a good choice to use something which the target audience may relate better to. In fact, one of the more recent websites which I designed before retiring was for a law firm. Their audience demographic was 50+ which required them to have a familiar look/feel to their old design to avoid confusing potential and existing customers.

Why have you chosen just inspiration from Spring for websites?

Good question. To be honest, there’s not an awful logic to it other than the fact that I needed to pick a specific niche. If there’s one thing i’ve learn’t over the years, is that it’s better to specialise in a particular area than be too general; the same goes for writing a blog. I love the season of spring – the colours and the fresh flowers I feel all represent new change and essentially that’s what’s always required in web design!

How can I identify website trends?

The best way to do this is to look at a particular industry. Certain areas such as law, consulting and professional services will reflect different similarities to that of design, marketing, estate agency etc because they’re not necessarily competing online for business as much. The best way to do it would be to pick you industry and then search for it. Pick the top twenty results and then make a note of the layout of the page, the design of the header, the fonts used and the colour scheme and use of images. You’ll be able to create quantitative results very easily if you use a spreadsheet. Before you know it, you’ll start to see a web design trend!

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