The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

5 Web Design Trends for Your Association Website

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Thu, Jun 06, 2013


Sharon Bending - Bending DesignThis guest post is by Sharon Bending, President and Creative Director of Bending Design

Web design is constantly changing and new trends keep emerging. Here are 5 new trends to embrace and consider as you think about your next redesign of your association website.

1. UX-centered design

Simply defined as the application of user-centered design practices, UX-centered design has always been of importance in creating websites, which now more than ever means leading with content and embracing simplicity. Think of your users as saying “Don’t make me think!”

An added consideration is that due to a user-centered philosophy, responsive websites, whose layouts respond based on the user’s device, are all the rage. As Karen McGrane, Author, Content Strategy for Mobile says, “You don’t get to decide which device people use to access your content: they do.” Especially since, as she says, by 2015, more people will access the internet via mobile devices than on traditional computers.

One of the best websites that embraces this trend is A List Apart.

2. Greater care with typography

Gone are the days of being limited to Arial, Helvetica and Times New Roman for web fonts. Services such as Google Fonts offers hundreds of open source fonts, optimized for the web. Realizing that people do indeed scroll, and there is no real “above the fold” rule anymore, font sizes are also becoming larger.

Vanguard Technology has put this trend to in their work in a number of websites including sites for Professional Convention Management Association and the American Telemedicine Association.

3. Parallax effects

Utilizing the latest code features, parallax effects refer to a faux-3D effect where different layers of graphics move at different speeds, creating an illusion of depth. It’s commonly practiced in one page websites.  Good examples are websites from Land Rover and the NASA Prospect Project.

4. Swiss design style-inspired design

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

In keeping with a user-centered approach, the Swiss style is perfect for website design. A call for simplicity, the Swiss style avoids the use of textures and layers of elements. In web design it takes into account uniformity and geometry, white space, grid systems, structured data, and type as an unobtrusive instrument of expression.

Two good examples of this are from and the Built by Buffalo design agency

5. Tiled design

With the knowledge that users do scroll through content, and in an effort to make more information available up front, many websites are adopting a tiled approach.  This approach has been popularized by Pinterest, but it is also easy to spot in sites such as Mashable, AIGA and Meetings Professional International.

What other trends are you seeing? What’s catching your eye? Leave a comment and tell us about some of your favorite sites.

Sharon Bending is the President and Creative Director of Bending Design, Inc., a strategic graphic design firm that helps associations communicate with their members through the design of their print and online marketing materials. Sign up to receive their monthly newsletter at You can contact Sharon directly at 847-844-8640 or

Topics: association website design

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