Do you remember the times when online magazines and websites in general were basically trying to “copy” the print publications? A decade ago a stylish web design meant no pixels, no harsh colors, sophisticated, often complicated features, and of course never-ending scrowling. Then something changed – not only in web design, but generally in popular culture. It’s enough to take a look at glossy magazine covers, or even brand labels from the early 2000s – and compare them with today’s layed back, “homemade” style publications. Aligning the latest trends, let’s take a walk down web-design memory lane and see how the professionals took it to a next level – so by now the tide has turned, and print mediums are ripping off the most popuar online platform designs.
1. The Future Is Now – Moving Images
Not so long time ago opening a newspaper and seeing mobile images was a luxury online science fiction heroes and Harry Potter could enjoy. Thanks to GIFs, now popular online magazines – such as BuzzFeed and all it’s many mockery sites – can feature moving photographs, giving the illusion of watching a short video. The funny thing is GIFs are nothing new under the sun – only the use of the format has changed. While it was neglected for years by web design and content professionals, labeling it as a tacky way of catching the attention, thanks to Instagram and Vine – where uploaded videos last only a few seconds – the more advanced step bro of JPG emerged into the spotlight.
2. Shameless Highlights – To Make Sure We Actually Read
It took us years to accept the fact: even the most popular online publications cannot keep the web surfer’s eye on the screen with the regular, tiny letters books and prints made us get used to. Font sizes in general rapidly started to grow, horizontal spacing became more airy, and – as if it was highlighted by a marker – texts with background colors became the sign of a “must read” line. While content editors struggle creating articles where the highlighted texts only can make sense and give a clue about the content to the readers missing the rest of the feature, users are happy as ever: we don’t need our reading glasses to brows our favorite sites.
3. Look At The Big Picture – Visuality over literality
Another interesting tendency, originated from the very same root as seen in the previous point. The “non-reading” users demand to get stunned by images, possibly large ones, with minimal explanation and maximum exposure. If it can’t be explained by photos, it doesn’t worth the reading – says the ironic slogan, yet all of us giving services, or offering information on our web pages, we must find a way to deliver the message to our followers. Contemporary web design’s answer to the problem is raising up the “slide show generation” – by now major magazine pages – such as Marie Claire and Vanity Fair – use large photographs and few-line texts followed by the arrow icon bringing us to the next photograph. A win-win solution for all: more eager readers, and frankly, more clicks per visitor on the site.
4. Less Social Media – More Unique content
It’s almost shocking to think back how social media wasn’t a part of our everyday life even 5 years ago – it was not an obligation to highlight the Twitter-birdie, or the Instagram feed box of a brand on the official website, and even in the first few years of Facebook taking it’s baby steps, actual information was given via websites and not social platforms. It’s no exaggeration to state: Facebook, Twitter, and the rest grew on our heads. Now days users expect all the content through their news feeds – that’s why companies decided to back off from supporting the trend blindly. Earning followers is of course important, but does not worth much, if the readers won’t click on the links, just “like” the Facebook posts. In most countries Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and of course Facebook are literally more popular and visited than Google’s local search engine itself. This is why eye-catching social media feed boxes are replaced by “trending articles” and “most recent posts” text boxes – and this is why detailed descriptions of posts turned into “We can’t believe she said that”. Teasing is the one thing that will always attract the followers not to be too lazy to leave the comfort of their Facebook wall.
5. The House Of Cards – App-like Menus On The Main Page
It all started with just a static frame, listing the columns and menu points in the middle – that’s how we shared information online back in the 90s. The 2000s brought new trends: the menu appeared horizontally on the top of the page, or vertically on one of the sides, and the middle of the site turned into what we call “blog format”, giving the possibility of endless scrawling. The pretty, but not-so-user-friendly appearance had to change as no person would actually take the time and make it by the bottom of the page to turn to the next bunch of articles (not to mention that slower computers and smart phones easily get stuck while trying to bowl down to the end of the page. Thanks to the visual and technical developers of the smart phone industry, now days the welcome-page of a popular website is often composed by card-like boxes, resembling the outlook of out application management system on our touch-screen. This allows more stories to be displayed at once, and gives an opportunity to get a fast and powerful first impression about what the site in question is really about.