2014 Web Design Trends
February 10, 2014 § 3 Comments
I wrote this back in December, but still find it relevant as we look towards the growing trends of the year ahead.
Lately I’ve read a few articles online from design firms that are predicting the trends of 2014. First of all, let’s clarify the difference between a fad and a trend. A fad is a temporary manner of conduct, and not something that lasts for more than a few short months or weeks. A trend is “a prevailing tendency” and can last for several years. So some of these web trends are trends we’re already witnessing and simply will be seeing more of in the future. How does this apply to you? Make sure your business is keeping a clean, up-to-date web model that will appeal to your audience. You don’t want to appear outdated or behind-the-times when the message your company should communicate is that you’re not only knowledgeable about the latest, but you’re paving the way for the latest. Here they are, my top seven:
1. Responsive web design. I know, we hear this all of the time. But what does responsive web design really mean? It means your website is optimized to be easily viewed from any device with very little adjusting. We’ve all been browsing sites on our phones when we come across a website that is next to impossible to view. Images are trying to adjust, links are so small they’re hardly clickable, and windows (where some fancy flash would normally be) are completely empty. Moving with the times, it’s pertinent your site is optimized to be easily viewed on any handheld device. Well, now that that boring and glaringly obvious point is out of the way…
2. One page, scrolling websites. (This includes the increasingly popular parallax scrolling.) The homepage slider window is dying (if not already dead). Not only are they a nuisance with mobile design, but they’re just plain outdated, distracting, and for a lot of users- annoying. A web designer I work with has predicted that the slider window (most commonly on the PHP platform) will be a thing of the past possibly sooner rather than later. It’s faster, easier, and simpler to just scroll through your one page layout and find what you’re looking for. An alternative to this are drop downs or shortcuts that will send you spiraling through the page to the section you’re looking for. Here’s a cool example: http://www.hugeinc.com/
3. Photo manipulation. Having one, large, beautiful photo on your site is appealing- and a definite design “do.” But the trend, as seen in 2013, is to manipulate the photo stylistically. We already see this in the ever popular Instagram and Over apps. Now we want those filters, those different colors, those complex multiple photo overlays, those trendy font types, all on our websites. I’ll admit, I’m a huge fan of this trend. It allows you to match your photos to your brand- and if your audience can recognize your brand through your photos, well… score. Also, as a part of photo manipulation- geometric shapes are in. So overlay those interesting shapes!
4. Simplified colors and content. Two color web design appears classy and credible. It’s clean. It’s simple. It’s to the point. You have nothing to hide behind all those gaudy font types, textures, and rainbow of colors. You want to say: “This is us. Plain and simple. We know what we’re doing.”
5. Flat design. Thank you, Apple. Bevels, shadows, embossing… all of that used to be cool. It used to be cool for your app icons to look like real little buttons that nearly pop right off your screen. But (thankfully) that’s no longer cool. Once again, all about simple.
6. Mixed font types. It’s always been good to combine your serif and sans serif fonts (if done well) in a visually interesting typographical piece- but alas, the world is finally realizing it. And now it’s more drastic than ever. Keep doing what you’re doing, designer. It’s officially a trend. (Oh, and isn’t hand rendered absolutely the most beautiful?)
7. Animated GIFs. And I’m not talking about the Buzz Feed kind (though aren’t those completely entertaining? YES!). You’ve probably seen more GIFs than you’ve known you have. It can often look like a large window with a playable video in it (shiner.com) or can be as subtle as icons on a website to provide movement (breakitdown.ie). Finally, GIFs, it’s your turn to be on trend.