Web Design Trends for 2011

Web designs continue their evolution into the realm of software interface and the increase in bandwidth (and mobile device bandwidth specifically) will push the envelope for bigger, more visual sites.   The more bandwidth we can expect as designers, the more likely we are to grow the imagery to make a splash.

It also helps that the latest web browsers are playing nice with each other.  Internet Explorer 6 support is all but dead for most design shops and that leaves IE7, 8, Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers left in the mix.  It's a fairly big mix but they all react similarly to quality HTML code.  So all that's left to play with is the images.

The more bandwidth and browser compatibility we have, the better able we are to deal with larger images in designs without slowing things down to a crawl. Therefore, we have a trend:

1. Over-sized Headers

It's not uncommon to load a new website and see an image that fills the width of the browser.  In 2010 we started filling the browser completely with imagery and the top calls to action.  More photo & logo leaves less clutter.  Big, clear calls to action to the top products & services fill the remainder of the top fold.

Want to read the home page text?  Plan on scrolling down a bit more as time goes on.

2. One-Page Layouts

The online business card is beginning to make a resurgence.  While this isn't a good practice from a search engine optimization standpoint, it is an effective way to project an introduction to your organization.  Businesses are able to present a large image, clear logo, and zero-clutter as an introduction.

3. Magazine Layouts

Newspapers and magazines are wrapping up their slow-painful death and as they do, more websites are turning to the online magazine layout.  This layout can be an effective way to organize varied content into one, cohesive design.  Three columns are the most common format.

4. jQuery Replacing Flash

The days of the extended Flash animation is coming to a close.  jQuery provides more flexibility for content management and the interactivity is supported by more mobile browsers.

Look for animation to continue in websites, but Flash will become the go-to platform of the past.

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