[TREND REPORT] Web design: the new wave

Two new trends in web design that change the game


Breaking news: I‘ve discovered the strongest black tea in the world. Since I gave up coffee, I’ve been searching for a tea that will give me a swift kick in the head first thing in the morning. I heartily recommend Scottish Morn, blended by Harney Teas.

Hint: for maximum effect use 2 teaspoons per mug, not one, and brew until black (about 5 minutes). Add some half and half, and you are rockin’!

Now, once I find a tea I like, I will stick to it for years. On the other hand, you can expect website design to change every 3–5 years. And right now we are in the middle of a major new web design cycle.


What’s driving the new design cycle? It’s the convergence of two huge waves: mobile websites, and PowerPoint.

The mobile wave

Users are visiting websites on their mobile phones, rather than at desktop computers at a rate that keeps growing. It is now over 40%. In response to this, Google has revised its search algorithm to give extra weight to mobile friendly, or responsive websites. Since Google owns the online search businesses, web developers are sitting up and paying attention.

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Mobile websites are different than traditional sites:

  • Scrolling down is expected
  • There needs to be a large clickable area
  • Less visual clutter, space-saving navigation like “hamburger” menus
  • Besides scrolling down, sites are built for side-to-side swiping
  • Screens are small, so there is no room for many choices. One idea, one action

The PowerPoint wave

PowerPoint conventions, though less talked about, have also changed website design.

Now, I’m not talking about bad PowerPoint – those slides with tons of bullet points that an inept speaker stands and reads to her audience.

Good PowerPoint only shows one idea per slide – it is minimalist. See http://presentationzen.blogs.com/ This concept fits perfectly with mobile site design, because with a small screen and an impatient user, it makes sense to present just one idea per screen view.

The big picture

The result? Traditional websites are borrowing ideas from mobile websites and good Powerpoint. Often, the mobile site is conceived first, and the other sizes are based on it.

They use:

  • Collapsed functionality like hamburger menus
  • Deep scrolling pages
  • Full screen slideshows
  • One idea per screen, or one big picture per screen
  • Big type and visual simplicity

The result, if done well, is a unified, streamlined experience no matter what device a website is displayed on.

The big picture? A unified cross-platform experience that builds a stronger brand.


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LevinsonBlock is a Brooklyn-based healthcare marketing agency that specializes in mid-sized organizations. Our clients include healthcare providers such as FQHCs, disease foundations, and healthcare technology firms.
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