2014’s Hot eCommerce Design Trends
With HTML5 and CSS3 positioning themselves as must-have web technologies and customer preference moving towards handheld devices, plenty has happened in the past year. We expect even more significant rumblings in 2014, not least amongst leading eCommerce platforms. These are the top 5 eCommerce design trends you should watch out for in the next 12 months.
Mobile Responsive Theme
Your website’s design should cater to your user, not the other way around. And that’s what responsive design is all about. The website ‘responds’ to what the user does and to the device that is being used to access it – the dimensions will shift, expand and shrink accordingly based on the screen dimensions. This means that every user will get a site that looks just as it’s intended with easily accessible info that you don’t have to scroll around to find on your smartphone screen.
If you want to reach as many potential customers as possible, then responsive design is an absolute must. There is a clear upward trend of online smartphone and tablet usage and by 2017 it’s expected that less than 20% of searches will originate from desktop or laptop devices. Do you really want to miss out on 80% of potential web traffic?
In line with the trend of more users moving towards handheld devices, we expect eCommerce stores to place a lot of emphasis on finger-friendly navigation.
What does this mean for designs that we’re currently used to? Expect to see the exit of small buttons and links, sliders, and anything else that may require a larger screen or pinpoint mouse accuracy.
Fixed Navigation Bars
HTML5 and CSS3 have together made it possible to change the way navigation menus work. You can now effectively have two styles – the first being the one presented when you first land on the site, the other when you start to scroll.
This allows the designer to ‘fix’ the menu at the top of the screen at all times, much like ‘freezing’ a row in Windows, giving customers the opportunity to navigate the site without having to go all the way to the top again to find the info they want. It’s a small tweak, but it’s incredibly effective in keeping users engaged.
The traditional text-based navigation is slowly being phased out by a lot of retailers. Instead, creative use of photography is coming to the fore. Masonry layouts are best understood by having a look at Pinterest, the site that first made this type of navigation popular.
The reason this style is a particular hit with eCommerce sites is that it helps sell products – it’s much more enticing to be presented with gorgeous images of merchandise over simple walls of text. Now that most homes have unlimited broadband and smartphone data packages, file-size considerations aren’t as important as they used to be.
It’s not a new technology per se, but expect it to explode in the coming year. Parallax design gives the illusion of depth through a relatively simple code change – by having one layer move down the screen faster than the other while scrolling, websites can give users the impression that they’re ‘moving’ in 3D.
This adds an impressive visual element to a website, not to mention the opportunity for the store to guide the visitor from A to B to C. It makes it possible to properly show off a product’s features, culminating with a call to action that really stands out. One exemplary use of parallax is Apple’s Mac Pro – check out how they’ve taken this design principle to a whole new level.
- Joe Chilson
- January 27, 2014
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