The 8 elements of modern web design (and web design trends to watch)

Every year new elements and styles appear in website design.

Some elements, when taken thoughtfully, help tell stories and explain your business. Other elements improve the appearance of content on a given device. While it isn’t necessary to pick up every trend on your website, many of them have the potential to improve your visitors’ experience.

With so many options, however, it can be difficult to determine which are really worth considering. To help you narrow your focus, we’ve detailed eight key elements of modern website design that you can add to improve the performance of your website.

8 elements and trends of modern website design

1. Unique and great typography

Most companies have a specific font or typography that they use to help their customers instantly identify them compared to their competitors. In recent years, designers have been given a wider variety of fonts to choose from, making it easier for brands to express themselves more accurately through typography.

For example, The New Yorker is instantly recognized by using the unique Adobe Caslon Pro font. While more unique fonts like Blokletters-Balpen are used by startups and tech companies like Zero.

modern web elements unique and big typography

Why is it useful?

Typography uses a design trend on the website to guide readers to different parts of the page. For example, the New York website guides visitors from one section to another based on typography and font size.

In creating your company’s branding, your choice in typography can provide subtle clues about who you are. Are you funny or serious Functional or informative? Regardless of which font you choose, make sure your designer considers browser and computer applicability. Choosing a font that is not supported by popular browsers and computers can make your website look uncomfortable on various devices.

2. Large and responsive hero pictures

You don’t have to go far beyond the popular publishing website to see an example of a great hero image:

modern web elements large and responsive hero imagesBig pictures like this one eliminate the need for the concept above and below the fold. By just focusing on the image with text instead of a CTA or social button, Medium creates a powerful visual experience that encourages you to scroll down to read more.

Large hero images are also often placed in the background, with text and other content overlaid, like on Uber’s website. Whichever approach you take, large pictures can help tell your story visually without relying solely on text.

Why is it useful?

Your customers come from everywhere and have high expectations. They may not be sure if they can find your website from their phone, tablet, or desktop computer. The image using medium above is extremely powerful. However, if it is only visible from desktop computers, it may be overlooked by many people.

However, making sure your images are responsive makes for a good user experience. Website visitors can view different images – whether they are background or product images – and have the same experience regardless of their device.

3. Background videos

Videos that automatically play in the background can add a lot to a page. They can be used to tell a story and greatly reduce the amount of other content needed to explain your business.

Take the Wistia website, for example. When you land on their homepage, a large video will automatically play in the background. If you hit the play button, you’ll get a deeper look into Wistia:

modern web elements background video

This background video is a great way to get the visitor to click on the main video.

Why is it useful?

Background videos focus on enticing the visitor from the moment they land on your page. The video enables your visitor to understand the key points of your business without ever reading a single line of text.

In addition, our brain processes video 60,000 times faster than text. While people often hesitate to read heavy blocks of text, videos appear effortless and can be consumed very quickly. It also helps connection speeds increase and mobile devices grow in size, resulting in better video experiences.

4. Semi-flat design

In 2013, Apple fundamentally switched to a flat design. Put simply, flat design is any element that does not contain or perceive three dimensions such as shadow. Flat design is not only easier for users to understand, but it can also load faster on websites without any complicated or overly technical elements.

Many other companies – both large and small – have followed in Apple’s footsteps and turned to the flat design. However, companies like Uber have given the style their own twist by adding subtle shadows and dimensions. As you can see in the image below, the boxes have a depth element with shadows around them without overdoing it:

semi-flat design of modern web elements

When you scroll over any of the boxes on the Uber homepage, the shadow disappears, relieving the picture behind it.

Why is it useful?

Flat design helps the visitor understand your content faster and adding some depth elements can bring it to life. Whether you are making your website entirely flat or using shadows and other elements, it is important to be consistent across your website. Make sure your home page, product pages, and other important areas of your website use the same design features so visitors can instantly understand what they are viewing.

5. Hamburger menus

It is likely that most of the websites you come into contact with have a long range of options. This has the advantage that the menu can lead the visitor directly to where they want to go. The downside, however, is that they generally take up a lot of valuable screen real estate.

The hidden or hamburger menu changes this. This menu was common in web applications before web design. Even in Google Chrome, you can find a hamburger menu on the right.

Hamburger menus for modern web elements Source: UX Movement

Wondering why it’s called a hamburger menu?

If you use your imagination, the three stacked lines look like hamburger patties. Got it?

Why is it useful?

The pages of your website should contain a path that is unique to the user. Removing busy navigation makes the experience cleaner and less distraction. These enhanced experiences help increase the likelihood that the user will find the information they need to take a desired action.

6. Huge product images

You may have noticed that many B2B websites display large product images on their websites to highlight different features or parts of their product. It’s not a coincidence.

Let’s take a look at the HubSpot website platform product page to give you a better idea of ​​what we are talking about:

modern web elements huge product images

There is a large image at the top of this page and as you scroll down the page you will see additional detailed product images. The images are also responsive, which aims to ensure an optimized experience for viewers coming from different devices, as mentioned earlier.

Why is it useful?

Larger product images help designers highlight various features of a product more efficiently and effectively.

This approach amplifies the benefits of a feature by providing the opportunity to highlight the most valuable pieces. For example, in the second picture, you’ll notice that the picture contains numbers that correspond to the benefits of certain features.

These large images are also easy to scan. They help visitors develop a solid understanding of the various product features by conveying them through pictures rather than words.

7. Card design

With the rise of Pinterest, designers and marketers alike have become intrigued by cards. Individual cards help disseminate information in a visual way so that visitors can easily consume bite-sized content without feeling overwhelmed.

The Brit + Co homepage is a great example of card design in action:

modern web element card design

By dividing different content into cards, users can choose which articles to expand on. This helps keep the homepage feeling clean and organized without relying on a lot of text.

Why is it useful?

The card design is becoming increasingly popular on B2B and B2C websites as it helps to provide easily digestible blocks of information for users. Using this design on your website can help highlight multiple products or solutions side by side.

Remember, your cards should be responsive. This means that the number and size of the cards displayed should adjust accordingly as the screen size gets smaller or larger.

8. Short product or feature videos

In addition to background videos, companies also use short product or feature videos to highlight a specific use case. These short videos are great for bringing your solution to life without overwhelming the visitor with a long experience to go through.

A strong example of this are the InVision employees. They show this short illustrator how easy it is to use their product by dragging and dropping a design directly onto their homepage:

modern web elements short product or feature videos

Why is it useful?

According to Inc. Magazine, 92% of B2B customers watch online video and 43% of B2B customers watch online video when searching for products and services for their business. Therefore, B2B companies need to create videos explaining their products as it affects the buyer’s decision making process.

With these short videos, your prospect can quickly understand the value without looking at a really long and in-depth experience. Sure, both have value, but the shorter videos allow for a quick grasp which is best for the top of the funnel.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for completeness.

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