A growing number of businesses are going online, but many businesses are still operating in the “real” world. What about those businesses? What if one has no interest in web design whatsoever? No clue what responsive design is and why it might be a good option, for instance?

Well, one way to solve the problem is to find yourself a good design agency, but still, if you need an engaging and beautifully designed website, what should you know about web design before you employ that agency?

How many websites with large background images or a minimalist approach have you seen?

This year saw the growth in popularity of flat UI, micro UX, scrolling design, HTML5, and mobile design. Aesthetic has been inspired by minimalism in so many ways, experimenting in large with visual communication and focusing on the best user experience.

What does this all mean to someone who has no interest in web design? Who simply wants an engaging website for its business?

One of the ways the internet is changing us, is encouraging us to know everything, to be as informed as possible. However, one doesn’t need to be a designer to know what makes a good website.

Here are some major aspects of design I believe one needs to consider when (re)designing a website.

Visual storytelling, content and typography

The internet is constantly provoking new ways of communication, and, largely, it has changed the way we convey messages by changing the tools we use to send those messages.

As corny as it may sound, today, images, pictures and other visual content tend to say more than words.

Visual content is becoming a forum in conveying that message and airing ideas – we can say that we are communicating visually more than ever before. Visual storytelling has become a trend. Visual media has experienced a significant increase in importance (not only in terms of website design, but social media as well), which in turn, has resulted in a decrease of text-heavy websites.

Larger images are predominantly landing pages, and although texts (words) are still attention-grabbing, they are very often cut down to “essential usage”, integrated with pictures and videos. This has also put an accent on even more quality content, rich to hold the attention of the impatient visitor.

With open source formatting (free Google fonts and type kits that are generally more affordable), designers can be truly creative with typeface and fonts. Fonts have different associations and meaning, however, the most important fact is that they do say a lot about the brand.

With only less than a minute or two to keep a visitor on a website, typography design is becoming as important in branding and identity as video and photography.

Designers can experiment, include more typographic flexibility, and create sites that stand out from others, and with it, businesses can create a good branding strategy.

Responsive and Flat Design

This year started with a huge rise in mobile traffic, with almost 60 percent of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, according to Marketing Land; however, the numbers are still growing.

Accordingly, this brought a shift to simple, clean and focused design. Websites that don’t respond to different screen sizes too easily become irrelevant – if users can’t interact easily with the content, there are good chances they won’t come back. Being able to gain access to the content regardless of the device one uses, is the characteristic that increases the number of user/consumers/followers. Look at some of the responsive websites we created recently.

The rise of visual-focused social channels (Pinterest) brought back “card design”, in a way, which became even easier for designers who work on responsive websites. Cards are a good way of making things easier to browse, arrange and organize information while keeping users involved. Cards provide clean, functional and beautiful design – great to foster consumer engagement with a clear call to action feature.

Flat design is, on the other hand, relatively new – to provide a clear and uncluttered user interface is becoming a standard practice. Simple illustrations with bright, bold colours and elegant, clean lines, and an overall minimalistic look is both engaging and functional, which additionally allows the websites to concentrate on the quality content. This also brought more focus on personalized and micro UX, all to make a website stand out from the crowd.

There are many more web design trends to consider, but in whole, those trends are up to the designer himself. For someone who has no interest in web design and doesn’t know this art form, the most important feature of the website is to provide a good user experience.

Overall, this is what it comes down to: whichever your realm, without an online presence and branding it is as if you don’t exist at all.