Web design trends are inspired from advancements in technology which in turn shape preferences among users. Therefore, it is important for web designers to stay up to date with the hottest trends in designing websites. Let’s take a look at some of the web design trends that have emerged and those that we expect to rise in the coming year.
1. Video Backgrounds
Video is increasingly becoming the communication channel of choice. Social media channels such as Vine and Instagram Video make it easy to produce, discover and share videos. For example, Spotify, a music streaming app, has integrated a video in the hero area of the website.
2 . Mobile Centric Approach
Gartner forecasts that 1.9 billion mobile devices will be shipped in 2014 and there is no doubt that businesses need to optimize their sites for mobile. The year 2013 saw many businesses adopt responsive design in an attempt to cater to their mobile and tablet audiences. We have already talked about the different factors to consider while deciding if responsive design or adaptive delivery will suit your customer needs better.
Designers and developers around the world are going forward with a mobile-first approach, as users continue to use a multitude of devices to browse the web. Additionally optimizing your content marketing strategy will also help you convert more of those mobile visitors into customers by extending the time spend by visitors engaging with your content.
While cross-browser code libraries like Hammer.js, Animate.css, have led the charge, 2014 will see many more such frameworks come up.
Enchanting India, a travel company for luxury travellers uses the MobStac platform to deliver a mobile optimized website.
3. Large Hero Areas will replace Sliders
Another trend that we can expect to see in 2014 is the use of a pictorial introduction area at the top of the webpage accompanied by minimal text. For the past few years, most businesses considered homepage sliders to be an effective way of highlighting their key offerings. But this trend is now quickly fading out in favour of more interactive design elements such as single-page scrolling and simple drop-down menus.
The Uber website is a perfect example that grabs the attention of a user with a compelling image and a supporting headline in the center.
4. Upgraded Flat Design
Flat design has been around for a long time. But it was the success of iOS7 which took the concept of flat design mainstream. Designers all over the world are removing drop shadows and 3D imagery by embracing clarity with flat design. And they continue to evolve in their designs as they try to adapt and grow on the lines of this simplistic design guidelines.
For example Combadi, a website that offers innovative travel holiday ideas rounds off the flat design effect nicely by combining flat design elements with beautiful photography.
2014 will see more websites adopt the minimalistic approach by efficiently using more white space for a cleaner look, bold typography for readability, simpler buttons and icons.
5. Dropping Sidebar
The rise of users with a taste for visual impact will probably spell the end for sidebars as designers go ahead with layout that are less crowded. In addition to making way for quicker and easier development of responsive websites it also provides the users with a compelling reading experience without any distractions. The website of Fostr, an app where designers can collaborate and share ideas on their creative projects is a perfect example of this.
Though this trend pertains mostly to magazines and blogs, – websites that are content-heavy, we will see many more sites dropping columns and sidebars in 2014.
6. Parallax Scrolling
There is no consensus yet on whether long scrolling websites convert better. Designing for a mobile audience has led us back to the idea that it’s actually comfortable to scroll down through content. That given, in terms of content hierarchy, the above the fold mantra still pertains true. Therefore always keep the most important message front and center.
2014 will see designers account for this trend by paying greater attention to design and making room for plenty of white space with precisely placed content. Playground Inc., a digital creative agency is a good example of a website that makes scrolling an engaging experience.
7. Made for Retina Display
This is one trend that has been developed in direct response to the changing hardware market. With the launch of the iPhone with Retina display, it was only a matter of time that other devices would soon follow suit. 2014 will see designers gearing up to take full advantage of the increased resolution and ensuring that images look crisp and perfect on capable devices. There is no better example to this than the Apple website itself.
8. Unique Typography
This trend is a reflection of the web’s movement towards layouts with print-like capabilities. These attractive web fonts help designers to effectively convey their brand message without hurting professional website design. Moreover typography and layouts that are based on content are inherently easier to make responsive.
And while large display fonts can make headers more attractive, serif body copy can make the reading experience better. The Knuckle Industries website is a good example of four font styles mixed beautifully.
9. Simple and Precise Content
Content will keep its rightful throne as we move ahead in 2014. The high preference among users for precise content and to-the-point information is the key driving factor. Designers will focus more on short, captivating content that provides users with the needed information as the page is being skimmed through.
For example, Coin, a physical card that has been in the buzz lately is a good example of a website which sums up features in simplified strategic wordings.
10. Static Headers
This trend caught on largely because it finally gave designers a fixed position that they could reliably use while styling without having to worry about the browser. The fixed header bar provides persistent navigation by keeping the the navigation buttons within sight regardless of how far the user scrolls. Moreover it also retains the branding in clear sight at all times. The Viget website is a good example of this.
Today businesses no longer merely add fancy design elements to their website. They rely on website analytics and user data when making changes to their website design. Therefore weigh in the design elements that simplifies the life of your customers and implement them while still managing to stand out on mobile. Are there any other design trends that you think we missed here? Share your thoughts in the comments below.