Category Archives: Responsive Designing

Today’s Hottest WordPress Design Trends

If you’re a webmaster, you know how quickly a web design can start to look dated. If visitors to your site see an obsolete looking website, it sends a message that you’re out of touch with the latest trends, and if you’re not willing to put the time and effort into making your website look great, they won’t bother to look at it. That’s why you’re always better off having your WordPress themes done professionally, and then making sure that you keep up with what’s hot and what’s gone out of style before your potential customers start rejecting your website out of hand.
Here are a few design trends that are hot in WordPress-based web development right now:

Mobile Ready Themes



Mobile Ready Website
More and more people are browsing the web from mobile devices and tablets, and that trend is likely to continue. Many well-established bloggers and niche websites are stubbornly resisting this trend, but smart webmasters and savvy businesses understand that if you don’t have a responsive website, you’re dooming yourself to a smaller and smaller potential pool of visitors with every passing month. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “responsive,” it means that it automatically resizes itself depending on the screen size of the device that it’s being viewed on. WordPress themes have been at the forefront of responsive design, so users are becoming accustomed to seeing them, and in the not-too-distant future you’ll seem like a dinosaur if your site isn’t viewable on a smartphone screen. WordPress estimates that over 60 percent of new WordPress themes are now responsive. According to Pew Research’s Internet Project, over 60 percent of all cell phone users are currently going online on their device, double the amount from just four years prior. Don’t miss out on these potential customers or readers because your site isn’t viewable for them.

Bold Fonts Are Pushing Graphics Into The Background

Bold Fonts
Not too long ago, almost everyone looked at the Internet through a widescreen monitor. If you came across a website that had big fonts on it, it would seem amateurish, or like a large-print book for the elderly. With today’s responsive layouts, just the opposite is true. Users with smartphones and tablets aren’t going to look at your website at all if it’s entirely written in Times New Roman with 12 pixel heights. It’s annoying for mobile users to continually have to resize text constantly, so larger text and less iconography are becoming standard on more and more websites. According to Smashing Magazine, 16 pixels is now the smallest typeface webmasters should consider. It’s not just mobile users that are becoming used to bigger typefaces, either. Deskbound Web surfers don’t mind being able to sit back in their chair and read your site instead of hunching over to see Arial 10.

Death To The Drop Shadow!

Drop Shadows are Dead
It wasn’t too long ago that cutting-edge web designs featured lots of drop shadows, 3D graphics, wallpaper backgrounds that mimic wood grain or book bindings, rounded corners, and lots of gradients. Now you’re much more likely to see perfectly flat looking designs that rely on interesting fonts and layouts but with lots more whitespace and cleaner and simpler feels. This trend reaches its ultimate examples with super-minimalist designs. The days of Flash splash pages are long gone, and designers of text heavy sites and portfolio themes that are supposed to showcase the site owner’s work, not the web designer’s work, are letting the content carry the site, and getting out of the way. If there are a lot images on a site, using images for navigation just adds visual confusion. Even the venerable New York Times realized that its online pages looked too busy, and redesigned accordingly.

Beware Too Many Mouse Clicks

Stay away from themes using to many mouse clicks to navigate
If you’re choosing a WordPress theme for your website, remember that an increasing amount of users are going to be viewing your site using touchscreen devices. It’s foolish to continue relying on mouse clicks for all the navigation on your pages. To make it easier for everyone to navigate your site, look for ways to allow touches, swipes, and taps to move around your web pages. Users that are viewing your site using traditional desktop arrangements won’t mind using their mouse to click on links and commands that function well on touchscreen devices, but mobile users will soon get tired of navigating around your site if you ignore them. Look for designs with easy, clear, and big navigation. Users without mouses like image galleries that automatically cycle through their component images, or allow users to navigate with a swipe as well.

Scrolling Beats Clicking

One Page WordPress Websites
Since scrolling is much easier on smartphones and tablets than desktops, look for single-page websites to grow in popularity. If you’re got a site with lots and lots of pages that require users to navigate with mouse clicks, you might see users leaving when they reach the bottom of the first page. Hardcore salesmen have used one-page sites for years to keep users from leaving their pages until they’ve reached the end of the sales pitch, and if you want people to keep reading, you should do the same. Just look at the popularity of sites like Pinterest and Tumblr that allow almost infinite scrolling to see where the market is heading.

What’s New In Web Design For People That Aren’t Web Designers

 

Web design is getting to be a complicated business, while at the same time its becoming easier than ever for webmasters to handle. That’s because the complexity of web design is making it almost universal for websites to use pre-made themes designed by professionals. It’s just too difficult for a business or opinion website to handle their own back end while still producing the goods, services, or content that makes the site worth visiting in the first place.
While out-of-the-box templates take care of a lot of the complex and sometimes dreary work that goes with creating an attractive website, it’s still useful for webmasters to understand at least a little on what’s going on behind the HTML scenes so they can choose a template that will give them the most attractive website. Here’s a look at some web design trends that can affect a visitor’s opinion of your site now, and in the near future.

Beware Hover Buttons

Cascading Style Sheets were a boon to web designers that wanted to make websites more interactive and attractive. Designers invented an interesting class of commands that made holding a cursor over an element reveal hidden content. Making single elements do multiple things was a great and innovative use of everything on the page, and users reacted enthusiastically to discoveries of little Easter Eggs of information. Hover buttons, when new, had a measurable effect on users, and they encouraged users to click on elements of the page. Now there’s a problem.
Hover Buttons
Hover Buttons

Hover functions are intimately tied into the use of a cursor, and while the cursor is far from dead, it’s certainly on life support on mobile and tablet platforms. Touch sensitive screensreally don’t have much use for anything to do with the hover command, and so its usefulness is diminished. In addition, if you’re relying on hover commands to impart essential information, you’re essentially breaking the functionality of your website for users without a mouse.

Designers are beginning to pick up on this, and a few are actually defining hover commands as bad practice in web design, and more are likely to follow suit. Designers that like hover commands for information are, at the very least, encouraged to avoid using them for vital information or navigation commands. It will never be bad practice to offer more information, but hiding it in places where it’s not easily accessible is a waste of time. Beware hover commands. Even sites devoted to hover commands like Pinterest warn against their overuse.

If You Don’t Know What The Mobile Web Is, Don’t Worry; It’s Dead Anyway




Mobile Web

Many webmasters aren’t even familiar with the term Mobile Web. When smartphones started making big gains in Internet browsing market share, some cutting edge developers decided that the end of the world for desktop browsing was at hand, and started designing website themes strictly for handhelds. Mobile Web sites are meant to run in tandem with a traditional desktop site. Running one website is getting to be a lot of work for any business that wants to stay up to date with best web practices. Running two is a recipe for disaster. It relies on detecting the platform of the device that’s visiting the web address to display the correct version of the site, and everyone knows how that goes. Even people that have never heard the term Mobile Web knows what it looks like when you get a mobile version of a website on your desktop, or end up scrolling endlessly just to get past a header and navigation if your mobile phone gets the desktop version.

Of course so-called Responsive Designs for websites are the answer to this question nobody’s asking anymore. Businesses need to concentrate on the usefulness of the content, and never worry about the configuration of the website on different platforms. It wasn’t too long ago that web designers had to optimize themes for every browser version under the sun to make it display properly. Mobile Web is like a return to those bad old days. Business Insider says they’re dead because of the emergence of apps, anyway.
Savvy web designers know that if a business truly needs more than one version of their website, it’s only because different content needs to be displayed on them, not because the same content needs to be displayed differently. Separate content needs require separate, stand-alone sites.

Flash Is Dead. Long Live Things That Look Like Flash



Adobe Flash
Flash is dead

A few years back, web designers fell in love with splash pages that used Flash to draw viewers in with moving pictures of some sort. The novelty of it was enough to excite visitors – for a while. Pretty soon whoever was in charge of the Search Engine Optimization for the site noticed it was killing the site’s page ranking, and as rich media on the Web got more common, it lost the wow factor pretty quickly anyway. Websites got more restrained and businesslike, and everyone forgot about Flash.

Now HTML5 lets rich media make an appearance on websites again without breaking usability or lengthening load time much. If you’re like me, the first time you saw PayPal’s little sign-in page theater projects, you knew the web would be full of websites that would follow their lead to reintroduce rich media to static webpages.