The internet is not a static medium. Every year, and even every month, new design trends emerge that reflect how audiences are using the web to get the information they need. For restaurants, these trends are both a blessing and a curse: a curse because they may render your website outdated, and a blessing because they offer an opportunity to update your design and get ahead of your competition. So without further ado, here are 5 design trends that can help to enhance your restaurant website.
1) The Hero Image
Increasingly, websites across industries are picking up the fact that humans are at their core visual beasts. Simply including an image in your marketing materials makes it twice as likely to be read, which is why it’s unsurprising that a dominating visual on your homepage increases the success of your website.
Known as a hero image, this dominating visual usually consists of an image or animated graphic that fills out most if not all of the homepage that’s visible without scrolling. For restaurant websites, a hero image offers an undeniable opportunity: whether you want to showcase a signature dish, your dining room, your bar, or the fact that you offer direct online ordering via your website, including a hero image is your chance to do so at the center of your digital presence.
2) The Rise of Illustrations
Photographs continue to be crucial visuals, but illustrations are becoming increasingly effective on websites. In the age of stock photography, where every website by businesses that don’t do their own photography tends to look the same, a custom illustration can help websites stand out from the competition. A website full of stock photos is nearly as cringeworthy as a restaurant website with music. Sorry, it’s awful and your customers think so too, but i digress.
A custom illustration can be part of your hero image, or simply be a secondary featured image on the site. Make it relatable to your core value proposition as a family, avant-garde, or cultural restaurant, and your web visitors will appreciate your unique brand image.
3) The Need for Responsiveness
Mobile internet usage is no longer a novelty. In fact, it hasn’t been for a while; you’re probably not surprised to hear that last year, mobile internet users surpassed their desktop counterparts for the first time, with the gap expected to widen in the future. Restaurants, often looked up by patrons-to-be while on the road, see an even larger percentage of mobile users on their website.
Is your site prepared for all of these mobile users? The answer is only ‘yes’ if it boasts responsive design. This type of web design shrinks your website dynamically based on the screen size of visitors, meaning that your site will look just as good on a 5 inch smartphone screen as it does on a 21 inch desktop computer.
4) Online Interactivity
Gone are the days in which restaurant websites could get away with being mere online versions of the menu. Today’s would-be patrons expect increased interactivity, with features ranging from online ordering systems to digitally saving a table and a real-time estimated waiting time. At the very least, turn your contact information on the website and your menu into buttons that enable mobile users to click to call.
5) Vertical Scrolling
A few years ago, web design best practices included relatively ‘short’ pages that required little scrolling. Businesses were encouraged to spread out the content on multiple pages if need be, rather than requiring users to scroll down the page.
That is no longer the case. Search engines like Google now consider pages with a significant amount of content to be more valuable than the ones mentioned above; in other words, longer pages that require more scrolling can actually lead to your website ranking higher in restaurant-related search engine results. As a result, the best websites take advantage of vertical scrolling to tell their brand story.
Does your restaurant website adhere to these web design trends? If not, it may be time for an overhaul. To ensure you continue to appeal to future patrons, while staying ahead of your competition, a current website is absolutely crucial. To get the process started, contact us.