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Sheri Hebbeln
 
March 23, 2015 | eCommerce , Site Design and Management | Sheri Hebbeln

New trends in website design

The world is getting flatter
With the rise in dominance of smartphones and tablets, mobile is no longer a separate aspect of website design, it is synonymous with it.  The design of your website should reflect the fact that more and more people are using mobile devices to view online content and shop. This is where the concept of “flat” design comes in. 

Coming into prominence in 2014, flat design does away with a lot of the so-called "skeuomorphic" elements previously associated with site and app creation, which gave elements of websites the feel of real world settings and objects. These include realistic textures for buttons, drop shadows and characteristics of real objects. In its place, according to Web designer Luke Clum, are cleaner spaces, less text and busy imagery, and other minimal design elements. These designs are far more receptive to the small screen of a mobile device than prior iterations of Web apps and sites, which favored desktops.

This year, expect these elements to evolve to better suit the online behavior of consumers. For example, Elegant Themes notes the rise of ghost buttons, which are simple outlines used as buttons to press or click on. They're subtle and easy to create. Additionally, the use of gradient color and layers to give your site a more colorful appearance is becoming popular. Google has referred to this approach as "material design," giving flat elements more tangibility.

A beautiful image
With mobile devices, images are more effective than text, hands down. There's a good reason for that: Images are much easier to review quickly without the need to adjust size to be readable like text. An increasing number of websites are focusing heavily on the use of pictures and other imagery.

Images of wine are a great form of visual content. The bottle shots in your store should be consistent in size and style, however.  A jumble of different sized bottles has a sloppy appearance that will detract from the look of your online wine store.

HubSpot suggests that tiled navigation is an example of image effectiveness. Instead of relying heavily on text to direct people to where they need to go, tiles represent each type of category of wine you sell, for example. This approach favors mobile and is a great marker for navigation. Rather than going through different layers of text and getting lost, consumers can simply refer to the tiles to know where they're going. This is a far more effective means of getting around the site, which helps to keep consumers engaged.

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