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What Goes Into Creating a Modern Website? A New Designer’s Guide

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Websites have changed dramatically over the last three decades or so. Keeping on top of the latest trends and features is essential to ensure your website is meeting the demands of consumers.

For those new to development and looking to enrol in web development courses, there are going to be key elements to be aware of. In this article, we will explore the key trends in modern website design that are essential for any new website build to ensure it is functioning correctly and appeals to visitors.

Hamburger Menus

You may recognise a hamburger menu as the three lines you see in the corner of a website that opens up a site navigation menu. It is called the hamburger menu because the three lines somewhat resemble the buns and patties of a burger.

Modern websites are becoming more in-depth and navigational menus are essential to help visitors reach the part of the site they need to. However, when you consider that around 70 per cent of people are accessing the internet using mobile devices, there isn’t a lot of room for sprawling menus.

Hidden menus, otherwise known as hamburger menus, change this. Condensed menus save space and make navigation intuitive for users.

Users should be able to follow a clear path through your website. The navigation should be clean and free of distractions. This increases the chances that users will find what they need to complete their desired action.

Mobile-friendly Design

Mobile devices (excluding tablets) accounted for 51.53 per cent of global website traffic in the second quarter of 2020. The trend is only set to increase as more and more people access the Internet through their mobile phones. A mobile-friendly layout is therefore fundamental to modern web design.

The majority of adults think that a company’s website should be as good as or better than its desktop website when viewed on a mobile device. A website that does not incorporate responsive design will offer an unsatisfactory user experience, resulting in decreased traffic, revenue, and credibility.

Responsive design is the best method for creating a mobile-friendly website. It simply means that your website will dynamically adapt to the size of the screen as it is viewed. A responsive website is designed to maintain a consistent look and feel across smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

Site And Page Speed Optimisation

People often confuse page speed with site speed, even though they are two different factors. Despite sounding similar, site speed is an average of various samples of a website, while page speed is the amount of time it takes to load the page. A website’s user experience depends on both of these factors. 

Optimising the speed of a website should be a top priority for any website owner. Search engine optimization (SEO) and bounce rates are both greatly affected by the speed of your site. When optimising the speed of your site, consider the following factors:

  • Images that are not optimised.
  • File size modification.
  • The efficiency of web hosting.
  • The use of apps like Flash.
  • Complex themes and designs.
  • Videos embedded from other sites.
  • Excessive widget usage.

Page speed can be negatively affected by all of the above, particularly embedded media and unoptimised images. Choosing the right host is also important since not all hosts are created equal. A cheap host can slow down your website.

Cross-browser and device compatibility

Having cross-browser compatibility simply means that an application, website or script can be accessed by multiple web browsers with identical functionality. Nowadays, there are numerous web browsers used for web browsing, all of which have different standards.

A site’s functionality is more important than its looks in terms of cross-browser compatibility. Essentially, the site must function the same regardless of the environment. Cross-browser compatibility is a must for every website or application owner. Individuals have preferences when it comes to web browsers, so there is a low likelihood of the website developer and the visitor using the same one.

Cross-browser compatibility is an integral part of website development. Therefore, it is critical to keep the design simple, validate the code, test the website in one browser at a time, implement JavaScript or CSS hacks, and create fallbacks as a contingency.

The Importance Of White Space

Negative space (also known as white space) is the space between elements on a web page (or physical page). The elements on a web page are commonly comprised of images, typography, and icons.

Creating a natural flow through the content of a page by using white space helps balance elements on a page. This makes it easier to digest the information.

Besides giving websites the simplistic, clean, minimalist look and feel that is so desirable in contemporary design aesthetics, white space also makes content more digestible and accessible to users.