Designing the perfect shopping experience for ecommerce websites requires creativity, ingenuity, and a deep level of understanding of consumer buying behaviour. Our digital design guru, shares his thoughts on today’s web design trends for ecommerce.
Applying the latest design trends to e-commerce can be tricky and a topic that divides opinions industry-wide. Although minimalism, sleek UI and limited content are all the rage in some of today’s digital projects, they may not be as effective for ecommerce. Therefore, certain design rules should be carefully considered and tested, to ensure you provide your customers with an enjoyable and user friendly shopping experience.
Digital design is constantly evolving. However, here’s the web design trends that are predicted to take off massively in the e-commerce world this year.
Styling & The Extra Details
Styling and a focus on the ‘extra details’ allows an e-commerce site to stand out against its competitors. Suitable consideration for design elements such as use of space, original artwork, smart implementation of typography, and micro animation effects are very important. These can be highly effective tools to make the user want to engage with the site, explore and return.
It’s important for e-commerce sites to also consider smaller additional details, such as telling a user if products are in stock, what styles/colors are available, product filters and easy access checkout.
Original Photography & Personalised Artwork
Photography will always be an important tool within web design. However, in today’s climate, brands want to see originality and authenticity over generically staged stock photos. Large, well considered hero images are appearing more and more on e-commerce sites to help sell the brand and products.
The other road that creatives will look to explore is the use of personalised illustrations. They can be versatile visuals that are playful and friendly but easily represent the tone of a brand. Although this approach is not seen as much within e-commerce, there is potential for this medium to transfer across in time. Dropbox isn’t you’re a-typical ecommerce site but its use of personalised illustrations is a prime example of unique brand engagement.
Image Source: Dropbox
The use of large and decorative typefaces combined with simplistic forms allows a designer to control space and a reader’s attention. An engaging way to invite a user to find out more about a product or brand.
Appearing more and more in web design trends, expect the application of bold colours to transfer over to e-commerce sites in due course, as gradients and bright colours are used to create effect and appeal. Colour can be a friendly yet edgy way to keep a user engaged with what they are seeing.
Micro Animations have started to appear across a broad spectrum of web design. So, expect them to start appearing on ecommerce sites, especially homepages and landing pages where grabbing a user’s attention is key. They help call attention to important CTA’s, encouraging user to travel down specific journeys, such as promoting the brands newest products.
A great example of this is protest.eu, a sportswear brand who use subtle hover animation to encourage a user to view a product. Another great example of how micro-animations have been utilised in a fun and effective way, is the beloved stripe.com/gb, a fan favourite amongst many web designers.
Image Source: protest.eu
Mobile First Approach
With an increase in web browsing and purchasing via their mobiles, it was inevitable that one day there would need to be a shift in design priority. Due to restrictive mobile screens, designers must focus more on the core content of a website and the key messages brands want to communicate to their consumers. This means stripping back the unnecessary elements that would usually appear on the desktop format. Designers must consider features such as large full width images, clear CTA’s, obvious and sensible icons and hidden menu navigations.
Two examples of very different sites that have nailed the art of the mobile display are Skinny Ties and Etsy. The latter being the most considered design, as the level of products and their eclectic varieties needed to be clear and obvious to navigate.
However, as most sites were desktop first it’s now a game of catch up for many brands, making sure they deliver the best mobile first experience. This is where deprecation of elements becomes the most important marketing and creative decisions to make. Some brands may even consider a full re-design in order to deliver what the consumer is demanding.
Minimal & Flat Design
Thanks to Google’s Material design concept, a lot of companies have adapted this idea using flat and minimal designs to help establish their brand identity. The use of flat colours and simplistic design is an effective way of applying the classic ‘Say more with less’ approach.
Minimalism is a great way for brands to focus their sites on an uncluttered user experience, allowing a customer to interact with their site more instinctively. Many e-commerce sites are now picking up this trend, especially within fashion, where the focus is purely on the product and making it easier for a customer to find what they need quickly.
An obvious example of this is the e-commerce giant ASOS. Their clean and clear creative allows a user to navigate easily through the site without any unnecessary distractions.
Image Source: asos.com
With a shift in browsing patterns and priorities, it’s more important than ever to nail the UX journeys a consumer will take. The demand for speed and ease is top of the list, with the following concepts up for consideration:
This would start as something simple like a personalised welcome message but then become more complex such as recommended products based on the users browsing history. Although possibly considered intrusive, it creates a time saving experience for a user. There is no one who nails this better than Amazon who’s main focus is upselling as many products as possible.
Fewer Menu Options & Time Saving
This was a concept that started to develop in 2016 and is likely to continue in 2017. Due to increased demand of speed and ease, quicker navigation menus are required to improve the user journey. This may result in sites shifting their focus to advanced product level filtering, allowing UX to be intuitive and interactive, ultimately saving users time. This concept is often seen on designs based on the user taking actions one step at a time.
Experimental takes on traditional UX
This is all about standing out against your competition without losing the familiar functionalities of an
e-commerce site. The skill here is coming up with something creative and unique that appeals to the target market. Some of the more contemporary and younger brands are stepping away from the traditional
e-commerce vibe and trying something more experimental. These sites will still include your classic elements like photo carousels and minimal navigation menus, just treated in a new way.
Adam Underwear is a prime example of a brand who have embraced an experimental design but based it purely on their younger audience which is why it works so well.
Image Source: adamunderwear.com
Only some of the design trends for 2017 have been touched on here. There are many more out there that are up for deliberation, but ultimately only time will tell as to which trends will successfully transfer over into the e-commerce world and which ones will die off.
It is, however, clear to see that UX journeys will shift to a mobile first lead approach with an increased focus on time saving navigation and ease of use. Web designers will need to become more creative with their approaches, considering many factors to deliver this ultimate e-commerce experience.
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