Think about some of your favorite websites and mobile apps today: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram…what do they all have in common? Besides being immensely popular, they all have a visual appeal that includes killer design elements and easy-to-navigate interfaces.
This kind of visual storytelling has become essential for any content marketing campaign. According to a Mashable article by Chuck Longanecker, the “beautification of the web” era is upon us. It’s important now more than ever to shift your marketing content towards “showing” and not “telling.”
This web beautification is the result of the Internet growing into its own skin. The “old” web was based on design elements from print newspapers and magazines. Today, the online and mobile worlds come first, which means more cohesive and intuitive interfaces, more visually appealing design elements, and more creative special effects. According to web designer, speaker, and author Elliot Jay Stocks, this doesn’t mean you should fall into the design clichés of reflections, soft-focus effects, diagonal lines, color gradients, gloss/sheen, and beveled edges a la:
Rather, be creative in how you present your brand online. Here are some of the emerging trends of 2012 that will help you figure out how the shift toward visual storytelling affects your marketing campaign:
- Apps: Mobile apps viewed on the tiny screens of smartphones are forcing designers of web content to be more creative and innovative. Google and Facebook must compete with these design-savvy apps, and are now hiring designers to give users a more visually appealing and interactive experience. Users like to look at something that looks good; you should be sure that your content does.
- Special Effects: People spend more time on smartphones and tablets than they do on traditional desktop computers and laptops. And now, thanks to technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3, web designers are creating more complex and cunning visual effects that allow users to have a more interesting, engaging, and interactive relationship with websites. These effects include interactive buttons, sliding and fading visual elements, parallax scrolling, augmented reality, and these specific 2012 trends:
- Less Is More: Users are drawn to minimalist designs. They are less complicated and more user-friendly than their content-packed counterparts, and as a result the “less is more” theory is popping up all over the web. Some great examples of this are Simple, Square, and Dropbox. The ultimate goal of these sites is that you forget you’re using a website—the sites are laid out in such a way that users can simply browse instinctively.
It’s important to consider that when designing your website, users may want to access it from a smartphone, tablet, PC, or television. You must make your site compatible with all of these platforms. Designers are being creative in adjusting sites based on different browsing experiences, so the content a viewer sees depends on where they’re viewing it. This is the future of the web. Keeping in mind the trends above, get started today by making efforts to pump up your content marketing! What other web and mobile design trends do you foresee coming into play in 2012? Let us know in the comments.