How Trendy Should Your New Website Be?
17th June 2015
One of the challenges that businesses face when developing a new website is working out what genre the website should be. There will inevitably be a tension between wanting to create something innovative, eye-catching and “trendy” and the need to retain a link with existing branding/themes and concentrate on the functionality that the website needs to deliver. A question that we often find ourselves answering is how trendy should your new website be?
Trendy Websites Definitely Have Their Place
Throughout the (relatively brief) history of web design we’ve seen numerous trends emerge. These have tended to disrupt previous expectations of what a website should be and how it should look and function.
Some of the best examples would be early flash sites – which radically changed the dynamic of websites from largely textual, static interfaces to dynamic, colourful expressions – and, more recently, single-page websites featuring parallax scrolling, autoplay videos and a seeming dearth of useful information!
It’s clear that trendy websites definitely have their place. They are often impressive, eye-catching and memorable, and tend to work best for businesses in creative sectors. Every now and then a trendy website is so effective that it results in widespread changes across the web design industry.
Trendy Websites Have Their Limitations
However, trendy websites have their limitations. They tend to confuse a significant percentage of their users who find them hard to navigate and intepret. At their worst, they can come across as arrogant and insensitive to the needs of the general population who are trying to gain information or purchase a product. Trendy websites also tend to have a much shorter shelf-life than more conservatively-designed sites; because they make such a strong statement they very quickly become staid and need to be refreshed and updated.
As we’ve mentioned, these characteristics are very attractive for some businesses who want to demonstrate to their clients and customers that they are cutting edge and progressive. However, for the majority of businesses these are weaknesses, not strengths. A better solution is required.
Effective Website Design Harnesses Trends, Understanding Their Limitations
As a city web design agency based in London we are surrounded by two very different kinds of organisation. Our clientele includes traditional corporate institutions and contemporary start-ups. This has several implications for the way that we think about designing and building websites.
The first thing to say that each project needs to be treated on its merits. The requirements of an insurance house will be very different from those of an indy crowdfunding start-up, and this isn’t a problem. It simply means that we need to build high quality websites around the stylistic requirements of the individual client.
Our second key principle is that we always want to prioritise the best interests of the client. If you’re looking to make a big splash but are prepared to accept that a “trendy” website will have a shorter shelf-life than a more conservative option then it can be a great option. Equally, if you’re wanting a website that will serve you for 3 or 4 years then you’re going to need a website that integrates modern web design techniques and principles but won’t go out of fashion.