It’s that time of year again, when we reflect on the last year and look ahead to the next. Each new year comes with new design trends to look forward to, and if there is an overall theme to the trends we are seeing in web design, it is that sites are getting more creative and more unique… great news for us designers! Here are a few of the most popular trends we are seeing going into 2014, and what we expect to see more of in the new year.
1. Manipulated Images
Vintage filters aren’t just for Instagram anymore. If you want people to relate to your website, you need to ditch the overused and unrealistic stock photos. Try using images with color overlaps, blurred effects, and filters to communicate your unique voice and personality. Maybe even consider embracing custom illustration!
2. Quality Content
We’ve all heard it by now: content is king. 2013 saw a major focus on how users interact with site content, and this will continue to be important in 2014. But if content is king, messaging is queen. Expect to see a lot of simplified, strategic bursts of text. When you are writing content for your own site, make it count. Think about the function of each page and if what you’re saying really is relevant or helpful to the reader. Avoid using too many calls to action and share buttons that could be confusing.
3. Responsive Design
Scalability is key. The majority of internet users are shifting from desktop computers and laptops to tablets and cell phones. That’s right: More people are accessing sites from mobile devices. And believe us when we say that there are about a million different screen sizes out there on all these different devices. In order to maintain a consistent user experience no matter what type of phone or tablet they are on, we design all of our sites to be responsive and adapt to any screen size.
4. Hero Area
News flash: sliders are out, heroes are in! That main area you see when you first arrive on a home page? That’s a hero area. In 2014, we expect to see a lot of large, eye-catching images (see item #1) overlayed with short, simple but powerful messages (see item #2). You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it memorable!
5. Infinite Scrolling
Gone are the days of making sure that all of your main talking points are “above the fold”. Thanks to social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook, more and more users expect to be able to continuously scroll through a site for more content without having to click. Just make sure the content has a well-organized hierarchy and keep the important messaging front and center.
6. Typography with Personality
Finally, we are no longer limited to about five different websafe typefaces! Thanks to a wider variety of fonts available, designers are starting to experiment with style, size, and customization. A word of caution: mixing and matching is fun, but it can easily be overdone. If you aren’t sure, leave it to a professional.
7. The Great Whitespace
When it comes to keeping visitors engaged, a simple layout is far more effective than a complex one. As web design matures, we are starting to pay more attention to whitespace, which increases readability and website performance. Expect to see a lot more minimalist design elements, simple one or two-color schemes, and less sidebars cluttering up the space on a page.
8. Don’t Forget About the Background
As technology advances, page load times are getting shorter and shorter. We can start having a little more fun with those backgrounds. Look for a lot of large photos, blurred background imagery with text overlays, or even large video backgrounds. Who says a background has to be static?
What trends would you like to see more of in 2014? And which ones do you think are ready to be retired?