One thing I love about being a designer is staying on top of trends. In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s hard to keep track of what’s in and what’s out. Web design is no different. From the overall look of a site to the way it’s coded, if you don’t keep up with the trends your site can easily be behind the times. Here’s a look at the top five trends that should serve you well into 2014.
- Responsive Design: Nothing new here. This trend has been growing in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. With users experiencing your site on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, responsive design is a must. In simple terms, a responsive website design conforms to any device regardless of screen size or resolution. This gives you the best possible viewing experience possible.
- Flat Design: It seems like ever since Windows 8 came on the scene, flat design really took off. Instead of using “3D” effects like drop shadows, glows and textures designers are turning off those effects in favor of a minimalist interface. A recent example is the new iOS 7 home screen on iPad and iPhones. Instead of the app icons incorporating a glossy button look, the new app buttons are virtually flat with only a very faint gradient used to give the icons depth. Flat designs offer faster load times and are more easily adaptable to different screen sizes.
- Single Page Design: The single page format is best for small sites with minimal content. Allowing the viewer to simply scroll vertically to read the content of the page instead of clicking from page to page can make for a more user-friendly experience. I know at least for me, it can be cumbersome to click on navigation bar links to go from page to page on an iPhone or iPad. I would much prefer to simply scroll down the page with a swipe to take in all the content on the site. Parallax scrolling is a nice way to dress up a single page design. By combining HTML5 and CSS3 you can add control the depth and animation of objects on the page giving the site a really unique look.
- Focus on Typography: With the web being able to display virtually any font style, designers can really get creative with type. Gone are the days of limiting yourself to Arial and Verdana. A wealth of web fonts allow a designer to easily brand a site using original unique fonts. A trend that’s been out there for several years is designing using large type. I don’t see that going away anytime soon.
- Simple Design: Websites generally are getting easier to navigate. I feel with the method and speed content is read by viewers, it’s critical that sites keep their interface simple. Not to go so far as to say “function over form”, but you can lose a reader in the blink of an eye so simplifying the way the content is presented visually is paramount. Lead the viewer through your content, don’t distract them with information that strays from your core messaging or offering. You want a potential customer to go to your site, know exactly what he or she is looking for and give them the easiest route to get there. Keep it simple and direct.
Above are just a handful of examples of trends that should live on well into 2014. Some of these may go by the wayside, but they offer good stable concepts to consider with your next website project.
What other web design trends for 2014 would you add to this list and why?