When working with design we are faced with tricky problems daily. To solve them, a designer has to combine art, science, math, psychology, and many other disciplines. In the end, it is the combination of design and experience of a product that attracts and keeps users interested.
In online reporting, even the most creative concept is only suitable if it transports the company’s corporate identity. Yet, it is still important to remain on the cutting edge of the industry. But what exactly are the latest trends in design?
Flat design is not a new trend, but it experienced a huge revival with the launch of Windows 8 in 2012. Since then, the style is evolving. The concept of flat design consists of a minimalist style, based on solid colours and clean typography. The idea is to achieve cleanliness and clarity, by focusing on the content with solid backgrounds, less distractions and a simple as well as intuitive navigation. The principle is easy: Less elements – cleaner code – pages load faster – better user experience.
Flat design 2.0 & Material design
Flat design 2.0 is a newer style, that adds more depth to flat design elements by making use of shadows and highlights. In the end, the result is basically a switch from 2D to 3D. Taking it even one step further, Material design is all about bringing flat design elements to life, enhancing the user experience through the use of transitions, animations and guidance. So far, this enhanced solution is available for mobile and used especially in apps. Read more about it on Google.
Break the grid
Standing out is one key to creating impact. However, to be different from the others you need to not only know the rules, but also how and when to break them in order to make a layout stand out from the mass. For websites, there are a lot more possibilities than the traditional column layout, especially with desktop screens offering so much space. A good design needs to not only focus on how to optimise online layouts for smaller screens, such as mobile devices, but also on how to make the best use of the available desktop space – for example, by breaking with traditions and redefining the grid.
Cards and tiles
Another trend that follows a different layout approach is the idea of showing content in the form of cards and tiles. Most famously kicked off by Pinterest, soon the entire design community realised the value of such a layout. The biggest advantages are the flexibility, responsiveness and the various possibilities for combining different topics and imagery to create a visually appealing design.
Concentrate on essentials
Side panels can be helpful, but sometimes they just offer too much additional information. With one of the most important requirements of design being to prove usable and simple, the trend moves from fully informative websites towards distraction-free reading. The aim is to focus on the content, rather than including as many links as possible.
This new trend is quite easy to fall in love with. It is a simple but effective answer to the needs of large screen sizes, offering great possibilities to display content next to imagery.
People love stories. Telling and listening to stories is a fundamental part of the human experience. Great narrative is not only engaging, but motivates cooperation and fosters empathy, which is exactly what your report should achieve. That is why storytelling is among the most important trends in recent years, but in order to tell a story online in the best possible way, content and design need to work well together. Instead of just leaving users alone with a number of links and options to choose from, the user is guided through the content.
Taking it one step further, we can go from guiding the user to actually creating a path for the user. In our new corporate website we ask users to follow us, in order to experience the whole nexxar story.
Summing it all up, there are quite a few design trends and ideas to choose from when it comes to finding a suitable and good design concept for your corporate report. Whichever direction you choose, it is important to be aware of the impact that you can create.
Twenty corporate reporting executives from four countries met on August 26 for our first Round-table on “Digital reporting” in Vienna. In this post, we have summarised the most important findings of the session “Design trends”.