Top Trends in Web Design for 2014
The general trend in web design seems to be, thankfully, towards clean, simple and effective models that work well on the ever-more popular smaller screens of hand-held devices.
Increasing use of Flat User Interfaces
Think of the flat design of Windows 8 start-up screen, or Apple’s iOS7, both of which display multiple choices in colorful boxes within a single screen and you know what we are talking about. This kind of flat design, multiple-choice options look set to continue.
Cellphones come first?
Tablet and Smartphone use is still increasing and has even overtaken desktop traffic on many sites. This has driven innovation by forcing site designers to rethink their user’s experience and to adapt it for the smaller, hand-held screen. Companies that have embraced adaptive and/or responsive site design are already reaping the rewards in terms of ROI and others would be wise to take heed and follow suit.
Scrolling is the way to go!
Scrolling is easy, hence its popularity, plus you can divide your page to have different scrollable parts simultaneously – ie horizontal scrolling, parallax scrolling, infinite scrolling, column based scrolling, etc.
Parallax scrolling, horizontal scrolling, column-based scrolling and infinite scrolling are all things that we’ll probably see more of in 2014 and beyond. Though there is always the potential problem of overwhelming your users with too much choice which can sometimes accompany the deluge of information that is an innate feature of infinite scrolling … The answer, of course, is test, test, test, to be sure your design works.
More of HTML5 …
Less of HTML5 …
There are a lot of possibilities with HTML5 but that doesn’t mean it is good to use them all together. The downside of so much creative potential is that site designers may go overboard and end up creating pages that take forever to load. With HTML5 a little goes a long way and you must never sacrifice user experience in the interests of creative design. Performance is always key.
Controlled and thoughtful use of micro UX detail effects will make your website a delight to use. Try out their transitions, menus and cursor hover states to see for yourself.
Less words, more images
Photos, illustrations and videos are increasingly being used in place of text. Sometimes this works, sometimes more words would be helpful.
Test your designs for user experience to see when it could work in your interests to add in more text. Not everyone always wants to watch a video every time and often it is much quicker to scan text for the information required, rather than wait for a video to load and then have to listen through to end.
Recent focus on designing for smaller screens has led to moves to minimize navigation tools with more emphasis on roll-downs, icons and shrinking navigation while you scroll on down. This is all for the good and looks set to become more popular.
CSS instead of images
CSS is a staple on many websites these days and can be far more effective and appealing icon than a static image! We’re almost definitely bound to see more of this in 2014.
These are very effective. Take a look at this Firestorm story from the UK newspaper The Guardian and you’ll get a really good idea of just how amazingly dynamic video backgrounds can be. The potential for marketing and advertising is huge – we’re going to see a lot more of these.
Text, photos and images are no longer enough. To really engage your users think about combining them with video, interactive functions and lots of scrollable content for truly eye-catching user experiences.
All on a single page
Many sites are switching to a single page format, rather than making users wait for multiple pages to load. Expandable and repositioned tiles, overlays and light boxes are all effective ways to reduce the number of clicks a user needs to make to find the information they are looking for.
Changing use of fonts
Bigger font sizes are becoming very popular as well as responsive typography and mix and match as sites are adapted for responsive web design purposes.
In the move towards simple, clean lines, some designers are electing to use just two colors – to beautiful monochromatic effect…
…while other designers go for the rainbow effect – and the multi-colored approach definitely works best for effective and eye-catching flat design.
Tiles and Cards
Expandable tiles and cards look set to explode in 2014. Cards are starting to replace pages on many web sites and they are already the basis of social media platforms such as Twitter and even Google Now. They provide users with an easy to understand choice of options, succinct, apt and condensed information and are quick to open and load. This is a trend we will definitely see more of. Go to http://blog.intercom.io/why-cards-are-the-future-of-the-web/ to discover more.
Imagery becomes better and bigger
Huge background photos and picture images are becoming more popular and they certainly display well on retina screens. Check out the Awwwards ‘Site Of The Day’ gallery to see just how good they can look. However, sometimes extra large images don’t have quite the positive impact intended – check out this link for a more jaded view of the move away from words
Fixed position navigation / content
You have probably already seen lots of examples where you’re scrolling down the page and the navigation or content bar stays in place on top, or sometimes shrinks a bit so that you can view page content more easily. This makes for an easier user experience and we’ll probably see more of this as 2014 continues.
For more about web design trends, don’t miss the two-day, November, Festival of Marketing event to be held in London, UK, celebrating our modern marketing industry, and with speakers from many different brands including Tesco, LEGO, FT.com Barclays, and others.