2017 Web Design Trends: Keeping Current

Gone are the years that a simple website - everything condensed into one page with funky word art and neon highlighter colours - was enough to keep your business operating. You didn’t even need a website to be successful; the internet was more for individual pleasure than for business. Then came the introduction of Javascript, HTML5 and other interactive applications that switched the focus to a more personalized approach. Now, turn that upside down into a world of online shopping, and it’s almost impossible to create a flourishing business -- unless you’re still running your mom and pop corner store -- without an online presence.

There was a short period of time in the 90s, known to some as “the time that shall not be named”, when websites became overcrowded with graphics, scripts, and art (not to mention bright fonts on backgrounds containing the same tiny picture over and over). Visitors easily became overwhelmed to the point that the actual information sought out was not actually found. You’d get your click count, but did your information actually reach anyone?

More companies today are using a minimalist approach towards website design, seeing that viewers are more interested in the content itself than how it is set up visually. Although some designers don’t agree and feel like design has lost its touch, the simple design is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon.

Some trends that have grown popular and are predicted to take off in 2017 are:

Live chats; the virtual help desk. 

Talking to a person in real-time has become a convenient way for consumers to quickly ask their questions and get immediate feedback. Inspired by the chat widgets that were used near the end of the 00’s, the live chat option was inevitable. It was a way for businesses to quickly close sales and gain a relationship with their customers. This feature works perfectly for companies with a large customer-service base, such as Rogers Communications. Keeping customers happy benefits the company in real time.

Responsive adaption.

When all computer monitors were the same size, it wasn’t too difficult to have all your content align perfectly and smoothly on the screens of readers. Using smart televisions and smartphones for internet browsing created an issue for websites. You were faced with the issue of too much white space or content overlapping, and needed to make sure that what you could see on your computer screen was the same format when someone visited it on their mobile in the other room. There were still limitations even when businesses created different versions of their website. With responsive adaptation, you have one website and then insert a variety of CSS rules that then automatically changes the format of the webpage, depending on the size of the screen. You will be able to see this response of the screen in real-time as you scroll through the website.

Experimental layouts and personalization. 

Businesses have begun developing their websites around their target audience, creating unique graphics and optimization that creates an easy journey through its pages. Sometimes making an impact on your actual audience (your niche market) is more productive than making sure your website reaches the largest population, some of which won’t have a reason to visit. Testing your designs is important in making sure you’re on the right path to making the biggest influence on your chosen market.


Web design trends that are dead and should no longer be used in 2017:

Click scrolling. 

Depending on the age of the reader, you should remember the old-fashioned right scroll bar that needed to be clicked in order for the page to go up and down. You were usually only a professional if your mouse had a scroller on it.  Now, successful websites focus on scrolling (with your finger or mouse) as an advantage of getting content to visitors quickly with less pages to click on.

Digital skeuomorphs.

Unlike flat images, skeuomorph, made popular by the late Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.) is the use of familiar interactive objects on the screen that replace traditional concepts. Examples are the use of a picture of a radio that makes the user scroll the volume key, making the actual volume change, and the audio “camera snap” when you take a photo on your iPhone. The reason why these should no longer be used is that they take up too much space, can make it difficult for people to understand and concentrate on other content, and are unneeded noise and distractions from valuable content. The idea of skeuomorphism is a great one if only there were a way for it to be used more creatively.

Overused, bad stock photography.

 The reason why paying to have a professional design your website pays off. Stock photography are photos that you can legally use for free or for a small fee in your website etc. Some photos have been so overused that they become almost predictable to see in certain situations. You should try and use your own photos as much as possible, especially for blog posts and websites. This will make you unique and stand out from other competitors websites. Using stock photography is okay, though, as long as it’s the good stuff. Stock photography has become a competitive industry and it is easy to find good photos that will enhance your website instead of making it look unprofessional to prospective clients.

Have we missed any new trends you think are on their way up? What are some old trends you hope to never see again?


Kimberley Falk - Multimedia Writer


If you have any questions about how Spark can help get your website up to 2017 standards and ready for beyond, contact us.