5 impactful 2017 web design trends and how to use them on your website

Web design trends

The first thing I’ll say is I’m usually very trend-averse.

‘Stick to the classics and you’ll never go wrong’.

That’s more my style.

All that said, there are some current web design trends that I’m not only a fan of, but I think they’ll be around for a while. So, without further ado, here they are (and here’s how to apply them to your site):

1. Video

Ah video. I have resisted your siren call for so long. But, the stats cannot be ignored. Given views of online video content is now exceeding 1,000,000,000 per day, it is obvious that users preference video content over, well, pretty much everything else.

How can you use video on your site?

Well you can do what Evernote does and use video as a full-page ‘header’ background. This creates visual interest via movement without distracting from the fact that the action they want you to take is to either sign in or sign up for free. But … if you’re going to do this, the video needs to be highly optimised so it doesn’t slow the loading speed of the page, and it also needs to be high-quality and on point. If you don’t have the capacity to create a video that ticks all these boxes, stick to a quality full-screen image instead.


Explainer videos are also a big ‘on-trend’ thing at the moment and are awesome for communicating founding stories or complicated processes in a non-boring way. The Merrymaker Sisters have a great explainer video on their site.

2. Clever use of numbers

Today’s web browser has the attention span of a pea. We all know this because WE are ‘today’s web browser’. Which is why, if you’re trying to quickly and clearly communicate your expertise or standing in your industry, clever use of numbers is the way to go.

WP Curve shows very clearly, above the fold on their home page, just how many people their service has helped. This creates immediate trust.

WP Curve

On James Schramko’s SuperFastBusiness site, your eye immediately zooms in on the numbers 78.5% and 100K which leads you to read the whole sentence in full and again, builds immediate credibility and trust.

James Schramko

Some tips when it comes to using numbers on your site:

  • Use odd numbers to make your site look powerful and authoritative
  • Use even numbers to create more of a softer and visually appealing effect
  • Use numbers to build your social proof.
  • Use numbers below twenty as they tend to evoke curiosity. Note that numbers above 20 are often viewed as time-consuming and complicated.

3. Use custom imagery if you can

Yes, hiring a photographer or illustrator and getting custom images created for your site can be costly, but I believe it’s one of those very ‘worth it’ kinds of costs. First of all, that custom imagery will become the basis of your secondary branding (non-logo branding elements). Second of all, it works to personalise your business.

The Merrymaker Sisters have leveraged this really beautifully on their site:

The Merrymaker Sisters

The costs of getting custom images created for my personal site have been returned to me many times over:

Kelly Exeter

Meanwhile We Transfer utilises custom illustrations to make their site and brand memorable:

We Transfer

4. Prioritise beautiful typography

Ok, beautiful use of typography isn’t exactly a new thing. But, Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit now allow us to render more fonts than ever in html which leads to the same problems we got when access to Microsoft Publisher got everyone believing they’re a graphic designer: too many fonts and weird font combinations.

Resist the urge to get cute with fonts on your website. Whatever fonts you’ve use in your carefully designed and branded printed material, use that in your website design too. This ensures your branding is consistent across all media which, again, creates trust and credibility for your business.

Additionally, if you have blog posts on your site and want people to read them, ensuring the font is easy to read, the font-size is at least 16pt and the line spacing is at least 1.65 will give your words their best chance to shine.

The Helpscout Blog uses all the right font sizes and spacings, along with a healthy dose of whitespace, to make their blog super easy-to-read.


5. Simple navigation

More than 50% of all web browsing is done on tablets or phones in 2017 so the need for site navigation to be incredibly simple and intuitive is more important now, than ever. How do you simplify your navigation?

Where possible, trim down the number of top item menu items to 7 or less.

Rationalise all the pages on your website. Yes, lots of pages are great for Google, but they’re not great for the user. And Google is getting better at penalising sites built for Google rather than the user.

Move non-essential links out of the main navigation menu. Things like Privacy Policy and Terms of Use can happily sit in a footer menu – they don’t need to be in the top menu.

Have different menus for when people are viewing your site via mobile devices as opposed to desktops. On mobile devices, people are looking for a quick answer – give that to them. On desktop devices they’re better able to via highly visual menus like mega menus.

The final word

As I said at the top of this piece, I’m not generally a fan of trends when it comes to design. But, with web users moving more and more towards mobile devices to do their browsing, anything that simplifies a website design will maintaining aesthetics and functionality is a good thing. All the things above do just that and I suspect they’ll be sticking around for a while.

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