It is very often difficult for small businesses to keep up with the latest design trends because of the cost involved with redesign and the ever-changing interests of their customers (ie. the increasing popularity of mobile devices). But there are a few web design trends from 2010 and leading into 2011 that small business website owners could consider.
1. Keep Flash to a minimal
More and more website designers and developers are staying away from Flash-only solutions for video, animation and navigation. The primary reason – Flash is not accessible on most mobile devices. As a customer, there is nothing worse than visiting a website from a mobile phone only to find that I am unable to access contact information or list of products/services because the content was built in Flash. If you must use Flash, use it sparingly and provide a non-Flash version of the content for your mobile users.
2. Rich Typography
Typography is an important component of any web design and in the past year, thanks to services like Fonts.com Web Fonts, Google Web Fonts and TypeKit, you can use web fonts on your website with very little effort free or very nominal costs.
3. Mobile-Optimized Websites
Is your website small-screen friendly? Having a mobile optimized website means not only will your website load faster over cellular data connections, but that the content is formatted to be viewed on smaller screens. If your potential customers read your website on mobile devices, you want to be sure that your site is displayed correctly for them.
4. HTML5 and CSS3
HTML5 is the most recent revision of the programming code used to build websites. CSS3 is the most recent version for stylesheets. These new versions allow coding to replace Flash, custom graphics and other third-party plugins.
5. Magazine Layouts
Old fashioned column layouts are being replaced with magazine layouts. This also includes web pages with easy navigation, interesting articles, large images, and lots of sub-headlines. You will also see less text on web pages and more succinct messages. You want to give your message in just a few clear words. If you are using WordPress, you will find many magazine-style themes available for download. For ideas: 20 of the Best Free Magazine WordPress Themes
6. Social Media Icons
Social media icons, ie. Twitter, Facebook and Digg, will continue in popularity – the social media landscape is still growing rapidly. To see the various icon sets available: 33 Beautiful Social Media Icon Sets for Designers and Bloggers
7. Lighter Colors
For most businesses, white, beige, tan and grey will be the dominant colors. Text will be dark grey on a white background and accent colors will be brought in through the use of large and vibrant images or graphics.