As we are now a month into 2014 we are starting to see some new trends emerging, some old fads evolving into fully blown mainstream design standards and some design fads dying a slow death. There are some significant changes taking hold in the web design world that I believe will take off this year and stay for years to come.
It is notoriously hard to predict the next big trend or what will just be a passing fad but I am going to have a go and hopefully give you a heads up on growth areas that will bring in more clients and improve your hourly rate over the coming year. So, here are a few of my fearless web design forecasts:
Scrolling Effects Go Mainstream
We started to see the influx of heavy scroll sites in 2013, but this year the trend is going to continue in line with the fact that are using more mobile devices which naturally lend themselves to scrolling vertically. There are some very clever CSS3 animation type scrolling effects being developed as showcased by Apple’s Macbook Pro website but on a more general level we are likely to see the following two types flourish this year:
Parallax scrolling – this type of scrolling works really well on mobile devices and desktops although its SEO credentials are often debated. Check out these beautiful websites with parallax scrolling. For tutorials in creating parallax scrolling websites I would check out:
Infinite scrolling – the best and most common example of this is Pinterest but there are now plenty of other sites that are using this technique creatively and effectively. For inspiration I’d check out a number of some these infinite scrolling websites as they are really embracing this trend. For tutorials in creating infinite scrolling websites I would check out:
Responsive Designs Set To Boom
We’ve all seen how mobile and tablet traffic has soared in recent years, so 2014 will be the year when those without mobile optimised sites start converting to responsive sites in big numbers. It’s been proven that responsive design is a success in increasing conversion rates, so those who embrace the Mobile way of thinking will really benefit. For more information and responsive web design I would recommend reading:
Card/Tile Effects Will Become More Mainstream
Windows8 really made its mark with its tiled design even though it was nearly universally hated by desktop users. Although they got a lot of things wrong with the UX of this design, using a tiled effect has become a more popular way to display images and text on a page and by and large it is is getting a positive reception from viewers. The great thing about tiles is that you can display a burst of information attractively in a smaller space as can be seen in these 16 Beautiful Pinterest Tiled Effect WordPress Themes
Video Backgrounds Will Become More Prevalent
Video backgrounds will surely be on the hit list this year. Using video to fill up the entire screen and having it play automatically can look amazing (just be careful with auto playing sound as that can be very annoying). You will undoubtedly need to make sure you have the correct hosting setup for this to ensure your video background site loads fast – shared hosting will probably not cut it! For design inspiration and tutorials check out:
Flat Design Will Be Around For Some Time
There is not doubt this trend is sticking around for 2014 after making a breakthrough into mainstream design in 2013. It rarely shows dimensionality, textures, and shadows and it often relies on parallax scrolling. A lot of big companies like Apple & Taco Bell are embracing flat design, removing any unnecessary 3D graphics, gradients and other design elements until it’s back to simplicity. More info and resources for flat design are below:
Simple Bold Colour Schemes Will Become Popular
Big bold colours are being increasingly used, particularly in tandem with flat designs and this trend is likely to increase in 2014. Using colours to distinguish page sections can look very attractive when using parallax scrolling and they are effective in giving establishing brands personality and ‘feel’. It is paramount to get the primary and secondary colours to compliment each other and there are some great tools to help to this including colour scheme designer, color combos and adobe Kuler.
Responsive & Creative Typography
In the past we’ve been set on continuing the same typography across a site, an important factor of responsive typography is to keep it minimalist, to help with the resizing. With the growing use of Font Awesome and Google Fonts in web design there is a treasure trove of fonts now available to web designers. Given how many sites are viewed on multiple screen sizes then it is important to enable these fonts to respond to screen sizes and still look great. If you are looking for some great free fonts check out our list of free fonts that we update weekly here.
The Rise of Slide-Out Vertical Menus
Clean and minimalistic slide-out menus allow you to view the content of a webpage without the distraction of a navigation bar. Most are being done on either the right or left side of the web page, but I think that the top or bottom could work too. When it is done well it does look amazing and a step up from traditional horizontal bars. Here are some examples of beautiful vertical slide out navigation to give you some inspiration.
Reduction In Ratio Of Text
We’re seeing a lot less reliance on text (especially in apps), with many having little to no text and being visually led. Whilst this looks great there are a couple of things to bear in mind. Firstly, will the site require to be optimized for search engines? If so, text quantity and onpage SEO need play a big factor in Google ranking so this design is not ideal on pages designed to rank for certain keyword phrases. Secondly, does the website fully communicate the message required? Reducing text may may aesthetic benefits on some designs but relying on video or minimal text to communicate may not be appropriate for some sites. This is where the dangers over style over substance become so important and it is a very easy trap to fall into.