As a web design enthusiast, I’m constantly on the look-out for what’s hot and what’s not in the web design world. While some may think that trends are just passing fads, I beg to differ – trends are what makes ideas grow to fruition, and what better way jump early on the first bandwagon than to predict these trends yourself?
Here are some web design predictions I collected. There are only single day left until the month of January is upon us – hopefully most of them would come true.
Trend #1: Interactive Infographics will Continue to Shine
Ask any web designer about the creation of infographics and you will be greeted with nods of approval. For years now, infographics have been making waves in the web design scene – it is an attractive method to showcase valuable information in a fun, appealing manner.
In 2014, though, infographics will tread an even more exciting path in the form of interactive infographics.
Trend #2: The Long-awaited Emergence of Retina Displays
Users and fans alike were treated to the news that Apple’s iPhone would be retina display-enabled in 2010, but as the emergence of this feature became more widespread with increased awareness this year, it is evident that web designers need to up the ante and create websites that share the same retina display-ready feature.
What does retina displays mean to us? For one, smartphone and tablet users are now treated to twice the number of pixels in a retina display, resulting in amazingly clear displays. I predict that 2014 will be a year where more and more designers take advantage of this.
Trend #3: The Return of Infinite Scrolling
Infinite scrolling was first seen on popular sites such as Pinterest and Cutest Paw, and since then, designers have been clamoring after themselves to see who could create Internet’s next best that feature infinite scrolling as one of its core advantages. And why not, since users love the convenience and seamless browsing experience that comes with it. With this feature, users can access content without interruption.
In 2014, major image-centric websites will lead the pack with its revamped infinite scrolling pages. Want to implement this important feature? Here are some tips on how to go about it successfully:
- create content that’s interesting, shareable and appealing – this will keep users scrolling for more.
- create fixed footers to enhance the site’s usability.
- include landmarks or bookmarks that will help users navigate their way around.
Trend #4: CMS Websites Continue to Reign the Web
CMS-based websites such as WordPress have long appealed to both designers and web owners alike with its convenience and ease of usage. I think 2014 will be a very good year for CMS’s popularity to truly bloom. Consider these statistics:
- 28,367 plugins created
- 560,667,728 plugin downloads to date
- 46+ million downloads of WordPress
- almost 500+ themes developed
With these statistics in mind, don’t you think the only way CMS-based websites can go is up?
Trend #5: Parallax Scrolling
Considered the love child between CSS3 and HTML5, parallax scrolling helps bring any website to live. This is a special scrolling method that when employed, allows users to see a site’s background and text as if they were animated, thus creating depth and a pleasing 3D effect. The scenery and content change will be like a breath of fresh air for the world of web design in 2014, especially once users see what it can do for recent websites.
One exciting example can be seen for the official “Life of Pi” movie site where parallax scrolling is paired up with efficient usability, producing a website that’s packed with eye-catching graphics and a joy to explore.
Trend #6: Code-free Design will Rule the Scene
Web design trends do not solely involve the look and feel of the site. Instead, the behind-the-scenes workings of web design will also be affected by trends. This coming year, code-free designs are predicted to make waves on the Internet. For the average user, this means that they will now be given tools and apps to create their own stunning website that is responsive, functional, and yet aesthetically pleasing. Good news are abound for web designers too – they now need not worry about coding, and instead they can unleash their creativity which will in turn unveil amazing designs with greater efficiency and productivity.
Recently, I’ve discovered a company that embodies this belief. Webydo provides solutions to “create and manage code-free business websites”. Their fully integrated CMS lets just about anyone create the site AND manage the content effortlessly whereas designers can now freely pursue explorations in compositions and typography choices.
Trend #7: Typography will Take Center Stage
The easiest way for minimalist designs to attract attention is by implementing larger typography. There are endless possibilities when it comes to creative websites fueled with large and good-looking typography – besides being able to make your site’s message stand out, you will also be able to enhance your brand identity.
Designers are no longer frustrated by the typography limitations and can now go beyond boring web-safe fonts in favor of exciting fonts where the sky’s the limit. Designers are now free to mix and match virtually any font they desire within a website, a move that will be made even more popular in 2014. An ardent fan of typography, I am actually quite excited to see this trend next year and am hoping more sites will be revamped with the inclusion of beautiful typography.
Trend #8: Flat Designs will Make Sites Sleeker and Better
In 2014, users’ attention spans will be even shorter than ever, if your site does not load within five seconds or less, you risk having your audience leaving in droves. And this is only fair because the faster the Internet, the less patient people are when it comes to getting the information they want immediately. Two words: instant gratification.
To solve this, web designers will turn to a flatter design as they bid goodbye to 3D graphics in 2014. These flatter designs will boast of a minimalist interface, eye-catching typography, stripped down all done in strong lines and solid blocks of color. Shadows are a no-no, as designers now favor trading in transparencies and bevels for a flat, simplistic approach to their creations.
Trend #9: Minimalist is in
Less is truly more when it comes to web design in 2014. Gone are the days when web designers would compete to create the most cutting-edge, technically-advanced website in a bid to show off their portfolio (actually this still happens, but you know what I mean). Flash designs belong to the antique section of the web design museum now, while simple navigation layouts are the flavor of the day. Throw in a bare minimum of content and you’ll get a minimalist website that’s bound to rock the Internet in 2014.
Trend #10: Micro Web Takes Precedence
Watches like the Pebble Smartwatch, the Martian Smartwatch, and the Sony Smartwatch 2, as well as the very much sought-after Google Glass have made a huge splash this year. Along with soaring sales of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices, users will be consuming online information ravenously, and on smaller screens at that. With this in mind, designers will now focus on simplicity more than ever, working diligently to deliver cutting-edge information on small mobile screens as efficiently as they would on conventional-sized screens in the yesteryear.
Responsive design will also take precedence in accordance to figures released by researchers, claiming that as many as 775 million smartphones and 318 million tablets will be sold by 2015. Mobile-optimized sites will be all the rage, which allows users to view the website as they are meant to be viewed, regardless the device he or she may be using.
Not convinced? 6 out of 10 users confided in mobile analysts that they are likely to revert to a rival page if the initial site isn’t user friendly. All these data should reiterate how the number of mobile users will continue to grow, and along with it, the hyper-emergence of responsive, mobile-optimized sites in 2014.
COLORS: Bold or Subtle?
Will dynamic neon colors make a return in 2014 or will it succumb to a premature death, the way bellbottoms and shoulder pads did ? Your guess is as good as mine.
On one hand, I heard that bold and elegantly garish colors (an oxymoron, I know) will be in fashion again this coming year, with more web designers gearing up to use neon color palettes that will make their websites pop right out of the page!
On the other, there is talk about how subtlety will be the guiding light for web design as far as colors are concerned. Calmer colors such as pastels will the favored by web designers and business owners alike in 2014. And while gradient tints have been a firm favorite in the yesteryear, it might be replaced by solid blocks of color that’s reminiscent in Apple and Microsoft’s brand identities.
Where would web design be without its users? More often than not, people forget that web design is a user-driven industry. If a user wants enhanced accessibility and easy navigation from their mobile devices, then it’s up to websites to go with the flow or be left behind. Although these trends are outlined to anticipate a user’s preference, they are nonetheless merely predictions. Only users can decide whether to make or break these trends in 2014.