We are currently working on eight different small business web design projects. In addition to the juggling and scheduling challenges which come with that many projects, there are the design questions. It is easy to fall in.  to a routine and build every site on the same template. With Jenna and Peter’s graphic skills it would be easy to make each one look different, but I would get bored.

I love to push the envelop by finding new looks and new themes. As we look for new themes I have seen design elements over and over.  Here are just a few of the small business web design trends we are seeing and how we are incorporating that into some of our projects.

  • Shade Tree FarmSmaller logos and banners.   The space at the top of the site is shrinking. Logos are getting smaller.   I love this trend, because it allows you to put more emphasis on things which are interesting to your clients.  This works fine for companies with horizontal logos, but tall vertical logos really don’t look good in this format.  We have had to come up with some interesting work around, like this example for Shade Tree Farm.  We put the logo on the image in the center of the page, and pulled just the icon to sit next to the text at the top of the page.
  • Huge rotating pictures Every theme I look at these days comes with a space for a featured content gallery.  This seems to be replacing flash which isn’t compatible with many smart phones, and is expensive and difficult for the small business owner to change.  While the rotating images and featured content work well for companies like nurserieaces which can showcase their trees it presents a challenge for companies which don’t sell a tangible product.   For the Hamilton County Entrepreneur Advancement Center, we mixed pictures with text which talked about their services.

How many images should you include? While I have seen sites with up to ten rotating images, we typically suggests 3 – 4 because people will move beyond to images to find the information they came for.   They won’t wait around for the entire slide show

  • Lots of white space.  As a designer I love this trend.  As a business owner, with a story to tell, I struggle with it. It is a constant challenge to strike the right balance of having enough information to answer questions, and not overwhelm the visitor.  We try to add headlines and sub heads, intersperse graphics, and when necessary the second page.  I don’t like pages that go on to long, even if Brandon Jones declared the “Death of the Fold” last December when he said:

The traditional “fold” (the imaginary line on a screen that designates what content is visible before a viewer needs to scroll) became vague, unimportant, and nearly irrelevant in 2010.  Why? Because the traditional “screen” that people view the web through has undergone an explosion of variety…  Screens nowadays come in all shapes and sizes, from iPhones (and smaller phones) to 60″ HDTVs.

  •  Mobile, Mobile, Mobile – While not every company needs to be able to conduct business from an Iphone, the website needs to look attractive and function as well as it does on a desktop, because fewer and fewer people are sitting at their desks.
Web design trends continue to change. What was cool and hip two years ago, now look outdated.  Does it matter? I think it does, because for many small business owners your web site is your storefront, brochure and more.
Roundpeg, an Indianapolis Small Business Web Design firm helps our clients keep their web sites fresh with simple upgrades and complete redesigns.

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