3 Web Design Elements You Should Know

Web design is always evolving. Aesthetics shift and new technology lets developers create websites that function in different and exciting ways. If you’re involved in creating or maintaining your organization’s website, here are three design trends you should be familiar with.

Flat. This style of graphic design goes back to the basics. It’s clean and simple without the extra flourishes or bevels. Flat design embraces open space. Oddly enough, I credit Microsoft with leading this trend in their mobile and Windows 8 operating systems. Apple users will get a good dose of flat design with iOS 7. There is no doubt you have seen this trend in design even if you haven’t been able to put a label on it. Here’s a link to sites that use flat design and below is a very simple example of Google making its logo flat.

Responsive. Mobile web browsing matters and responsive design is a great way to make sure your site is ready. Responsive design organizes website content in chunks and reshuffles it based on a user’s screen size. Instead of having a separate mobile site, which can be really annoying, responsive design allows you have one site that looks great and is functional, no matter what device it’s viewed on. Mars Hill has a great responsive site. So does Starbucks. Once you’re on one of those websites, grab the bottom corner of your browser and start making it smaller (like the size of an iPad or iPhone screen). You can see it change in real time. I also wrote a more in-depth post about responsive design if you want to dig a little deeper.

Parallax Scrolling. Parallax works by creating layers of graphics on a website. This allows certain objects to move at a different rate than others. For example, a background texture could move slower than the image in front of it. Parallax takes a 2D website and gives it the appearance of more depth. It also lets you create more movement to make the site more interesting. Here are some examples of sites using parallax scrolling: Shape Design, Apple iPhone 5c, Loft City Church, Elevation Church and NASA Prospect.

Why does this matter?

Part of the problem many church websites face today is the fact that they were built years ago and haven’t been touched since. And on the web, old design is almost always unattractive design. But if you know what’s happening now, and make small changes along the way, you won’t get stuck in that same place again.

Even if your site is built using something more template-based, like WordPress, there are themes available that include these design elements.

Of course, these are not features everyone has to use. (Although I’d recommend that everyone seriously consider implementing responsive design to help future-proof your site.) No single piece of technology is perfect for everyone. What is important is looking at these ideas and seeing if any are right for you.

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