Web Design Trends in 2014
When it comes to web design trends, what can you expect in 2014?
It’s that rare time of year where reflection of what has happened and anticipation for what’s to come exist in perfect balance. With less than 24 hours remaining in 2013, it’s hard not to jump ahead and visualize what our lives on the World Wide Web will look like in 2014.
When it comes to web design trends and best practices, 2013 was a doozy. The short list of trends includes a greater focus on quality content, attention to flat design, Parallax scrolling and retina support (and the list goes on). In order to determine where we are going in the new year I asked some members of our design team to reflect on this year’s trends and what they anticipate will carry over into 2014.
In 2013 web design focused a lot on content orientation and how users interacted with site content. Designers gravitated towards flat design, Parallax scrolling, and infinite scrolling and single page sites. Each of these approaches transforms the experience of our site visitors. I think we will continue to see these trends implemented and refined in the new year.
Flat Design: We’re embracing simplicity, minimalism and clarity with flat design and removing drop shadows and 3D imagery. We’re focused on the bare essentials and no one has made the argument for flat design clearer than Apple with the redesign of iOS7.
Infinite Scrolling: Think Pinterest. This social media site provides a great user experience that allows visitors to continuously navigate through content without having to click through or reload the page.
It’s neat to reflect on how much the web changes at a rapid pace. I remember when every website had a right column sidebar and how these are almost non-existent now. The biggest design craze of 2013 was definitely responsive design and I expect it will stay in 2014. Other trends worth noting:
Hand Lettered Typography: Designers are starting to experiment with typeface. We’re moving away from standard serif and san-serif fonts and building sites with dynamic fonts that are full of personality.
Large Video Backgrounds: Websites don’t have to be static. This year many brands took advantage of visual content and used browser-sized videos as their website background to provide visitors with an active experience.
Blurred Background Imagery: Another way we’re using the website background as a canvas is through blurred background imagery. It’s becoming increasingly common to see an entire blurred image as the background or one with selective focus.
As a community we really committed ourselves to focusing on quality content this year. This “content-first” approach to designing websites must stick around for building sites that people actually use. Here’s my take on fads vs. trends and what will stick in 2014:
Greater Use of Whitespace: When it comes to keeping readers engaged, a simple layout is far more effective than a complex one. We’ve started to pay more attention to whitespace, which increases readability and website performance. Medium.com has done a great job of increased whitespace and imitators have taken notice.
Parallax Scrolling: Parallax scrolling occurs when a background image scrolls at a slower pace than the foreground images creating a parallax effect. This has been used in video games for years to provide depth in 2D but web designers have embraced it more over the past couple of years. When done well the effect can be awesome, the use of fixed backgrounds to make layers on the site move at different rates can create a unique, engaging experience and is great for storytelling. However, a lot of cheap versions of parallax scrolling exist just to use the effect for the sake of using it, which makes it seem more like a fad that we will grow tired of rather than a lasting trend.
Responsive Design: I agree with Joyce that responsive is here to stay in 2014 as a lot of new sites are defaulting to being built responsively because of all of the benefits it has (content parity, consolidating analytics and development into one code base, a multi-device solution and flexible enough to adapt to new devices.) What we're seeing now is a more responsible, evolved version of responsive design with more of a focus on building breakpoints around a site's design and content instead of the hundreds of different screen sizes.
When it comes to web design trends what do you think will carry over into 2014?
Happy New Year to all, we’ll see you next year!