Astonishingly, a single firm has a strong hold over 59% market shares in Content Management Systems and powers a whopping 76 million sites worldwide as of now. Yes, we are talking about the all powerful, WordPress, the undisputed leader when it comes to website design. Every year, WordPress comes with new and incredible features that draw in developers like a magnet. Last year, we came across a few new WordPress Trends like the one-page sites and hamburger menus.
So, what WordPress features can one expect to become a massive hit in the WebSphere for 2017? How will the new features and plugins impact you as a web developer? What are the trends you must be aware of when designing a site this year? Read on to stay updated with the latest design trends from the house of WordPress for 2017.
#1: Bid Adieu to Cheesy Stock Photos
Photos are still relevant. But the type of photos used on websites has totally changed. You would have certainly come across stock images of happy people flashing their pearly whites. Yes, these images were spread everywhere from the local dentist’s web page to insurance portals. The target audience has now become wary of these images. These images fail to relate with the end-user and do not establish the emotional connect. Cheesy stock images are being replaced by more natural looking images. With the popularity of communities like Death to the Stock Photo, Unsplash and Picjumbo, designers can now make use of beautiful and natural looking images for their blogs as well as web pages. Use the power of natural looking images to establish the emotional connect with your audience this year.
#2: Mobile First Design
This one is a no-brainer. Mobile phones overtook desktops and laptops last year. Mobiles account for 51% of the total usage while the latter has plunged down to 49%. This has led more and more WP themes to focus on mobile first design. Experts predict that the design process is about to be thrown backward this year. Usually, designers first build a site for desktop usage, get the approval of the client and then par it down to suit smaller screens. However, this year, the process is bound to be reversed. Designers will focus on optimizing a site for mobile usage and then later increase it to accommodate big screens. Responsive sites have become the de-facto standard for website design in the last few years. The benefit of using a mobile first design is that you can create a web page that takes into account all types of users instead of segregating the user base into different categories.
#3: Flexibility of Drag and Drop Content
WordPress designers are no longer tied down by the restrictions of specific layouts. Drag and drop helps designers have complete control over the framework without the need for modifying the website’s underlying structure. Furthermore, Drag and Drop builders take the hassle out of web designing. Even amateurs with no prior experience of designing sites can play around with these tools until they get the design they want. Drag and drop builders offer the same flexibility to the sidebar layouts too.
#4: Parallax Scrolling to give an Illusion of Depth
2016 saw the increasing popularity of single page websites and parallax scrolling helps to give an illusion of depth and immersion to this type of website design. A few developers are also of the opinion that parallax scrolling reduces bounce rates and increases user engagement. While these claims aren’t backed by statistics, it’s true that this technique, when used well, can make a website stand out from the crowd.
A word of caution: Don’t go overboard with parallax scrolling as you could end up crippling your site’s usability.
#5: Growing Popularity of SaaS WordPress Plugins
The last few years witnessed the build of several WP plugins as SaaS. Even older plugins were seen rushing to get the SaaS display. Software as a Service Plugins opens up the chance to make use of software that is advanced and better designed. While it’s true that several free WP plugins are available for users, it has to be acknowledged that not all of these plugins are error free. Hence, there arises the need for SaaS plugins.
#6: Emergence of Virtual Reality Optimized Themes
Unless and until you have been living under a rock for the whole of last year, you would have noticed the rising popularity of VR games and headsets. From the viral Pokemon Go to Oculus Rift and Gear VR, the whole world was in the grips of Virtual Reality, and we are just getting started. Virtual Reality is more than just gaming and entertainment. It has the potential to become the medium of engaging with the virtual world aka the internet. So, there is a high chance of you asking the question “Is my site optimized for VR devices?” this year.
#7: Multi-purposed Themes all set to take the Lead
We want more! Be it from our Smartphones or even our partners; we expect more. This is true when it comes to website design too. This is the reason why multipurpose themes are Numero Uno when it comes to choosing a theme style. These themes help you create any style for your website. No more getting different themes for different sites like a business, corporate, user sites and so on.
#8: Focus on Customized Images
It’s a sad fact that with the standardization of website designs, brands lose their individual identity. This is sure to change in 2017. Many leading brands and organizations are now looking for bespoke elements to be included as part of their design.
Some trends to be expected this year when it comes to web images are:
- Images that reflect the vibe and uniqueness of a brand.
- More of customized photos. Designers are likely to use images that are in tune with the site they are building, instead of relying on standard photos.
#9: Videos as Background
Websites are nothing but story-telling tools that speak about a brand. And we know that stories are more powerful when images and videos are added in, instead of just boring old text. Videos are blended into the background of websites. This year we can see more of this trend with HD quality videos that give an experience as close to the real one. A Word of Caution: Don’t forget to keep an eye on the loading time. A beautifully designed loading screen can help you overcome this hassle.
#10: Typography will make the Rounds
On any day, customized fonts look far more appealing than from the box fonts. They lend a distinct personality and flavor to your site. This year, typography will remain in popular and you can expect to see it on plenty of sites.