Several popular web design trends this year place greater importance on providing a better user experience. This is achieved by reducing load times and presenting content to the visitors using less traditional methods. Some of the most popular trends include:
Infinite scrolling to reduce load time for heavy content pages
Infinite scrolling is fast becoming the preferred method to deliver a large amount of content on a single page without an increase in initial load time. By detecting the users current scroll position on the page, additional content can be loaded only when required. Although there may be a slight delay while the new content is retrieved, the initial load time is significantly decreased compared to loading all the content at once. This new technique is known as “infinite scrolling“, and has become quite common and can be seen on a number of popular sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, in Google Image Search results and many more. For more information and examples of infinite scrolling, check out this article.
Content delivery networks or CDN’s for better visitor experience
The goal of a content delivery network (or CDN) is to improve the overall user experience by providing faster page load times. This is generally achieved by reducing the amount of content that requires downloading. As the technology has matured, additional benefits are being realised, such as providing the ability to offer 100% uptime by delivering the content from the most accessible location for the person browsing.
Traditionally, a CDN offered developers the ability to reference content from places like Google Code. Then, when the visitor navigated to another website referencing the same content, they would already have a cached copy of the content, removing the need to download it again. This has proved an invaluable tool for increasing page performance and it’s no surprise it’s become very popular, however now we’re seeing this technique extend to entire websites being delivered from different servers around the world. The request is analysed, and the content delivered from the closest server available. This reduces the possibility of errors, and also reduces the time taken to load the website.
Presenting your content in a unique way with Parallax design
Every day more examples of parallax designs are appearing on the web where delivering content in a professional, yet visually interesting way is preferred. As you scroll down the screen, the background moves slower than the foreground content making it appear as if the site is a 3-dimensional canvas. New content is presented as if you were viewing slides (almost like a Powerpoint presentation or a View-Master slide). This allows the designers to present multiple backgrounds, content and images without the need for multiple pages.
Helping users find content quicker through minimalist metro design
The release of Windows 8 inspired a new flat, minimalist website layout called Metro web design. This design type adopts the principle that “less is more” approach, to allow visitors to find what they are looking for quickly and easily while presenting a professional interface. Metro website design is becoming increasing popular with big corporate companies looking for a simplistic yet professional, modern design.
Responsive Design provides an optimal viewing experience
Responsive design displays a website at the optimal size for different devices and screens. More importantly, it replaces the need to manage two or even three different websites for desktop, tablet and mobile devices by detecting the viewing window (viewport) width, and adjusting the styles dynamically. As an increasing number of Internet users move to mobile based browsing in Australia, due to its convenience and our advancement in mobile technology, there has never been a greater need to provide your visitors with the best possible experience and increase your website’s accessibility on whatever device they are using by implementing a responsive web design.