Web design is a constantly evolving subject fueled by some of the worlds most innovative and creative minds. Although a new wave web design trends emerge every year, it’s important to stay on top of the latest. Making sure your website is on trend will help make the difference for communicating a professional and smart brand image. In this article, we’ll review trends in terms of both user experience and style of design.
1. Easy to Use
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. These are your potential customers and they are the most important people to accommodate. Your goal should be to create a site that is completely intuitive. One way of achieving this, is through the use of minimalistic design (aka minimalism). Despite what some people may tell you, that does not mean there should be a blank page. The idea of minimalism is to offer a single method of completing an objective. The method you select should be the most logical and effective. Everything should look the way it does for a good reason. Avoid using dark black backgrounds with white text in body areas where the paragraph text belongs. White letters reflect too much light making the letters more difficult to read. By the same token a stark white background with a dark black text can also be hard on the eyes. For full paragraphs of text, try an ever so light shade of gray with an almost black color font. It’s much easier to read.
Buttons should be obvious and navigation should never require instruction. The webpage is essentially a series of slide, much like a keynote, connected these a sequence of stunning visual, motion graphics and animation effects. The end result is more effective communication. Think about it. It’s much easier to keep the visitors attention when they are reading short bits of information broken up within visual effects, then it is to have then try to read paragraphs on a screen. Unless of course they are reading an article. What I am assuming here is that we are on a homepage, landing page or product advertisement that could link to articles, case studies and more robust content.
Every website should tell a story. The trend is story telling through the use of animation and user interaction. If you’ve visited the Apple MacBook Pro or Google Nexus 5 web sites, you may have noticed a common theme. Both sites tell a story that unfolds in animated sequences as the user scrolls down. This style is referred to as parallax web design.
3. Responsive Design
Over the past few years, Responsive Web Design (RWD) has become the fastest growing trend in the industry next to mobile. The basic idea behind RWD is for the website to shift to fit the size of the screen on which they’re being viewed. This means that web designers and developers need to think and create modular layouts that can stack and shift between a screen that can fit in the palm of your hand, on a screen that spans across your desk, or living room wall.
Mobile web browsing is set to overtake desktop browsing in the next few years. With that in mind, responsive web design is a discipline that is building the Internet of the future. As we design and develop sites to be responsive now, we’ll get to take advantage of all of the different form factors (e.g. tablets, laptops, etc.) people around the world are using to browse websites. Thanks to open source web frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap, there are some amazing building blocks to set the foundation for your responsive website.
Up and coming web design trends
4. Video Backgrounds
Full screen hero boxes that quickly load short YouTube videos that loop.
5. Geometric Shapes, Patterns and Vectors
A great way of adding creative elements and style that can also serve functionality for UI and UX.
6. Full screen color slides with white text.
This plays into the whole flat ui / parallax web design movement which was really big last year, but it’s still worth mentioning.
7. Clean High Contrast Typography Fonts.
Dramatic font weights like thin to black, overlaid on a very blurry landscape photo.
Animations initiated by scrolling. More often than not, once section of the page will move, revealing a stunning photo leading the way to another section as the user continues to scroll.
10. CSS3 Animations
Leveraging the full scope of CSS3 to create light weight animation sequences. From animation events to simply making buttons look they are being pushed in when touched, through out this year we’ll see more designers unlocking the true power of CSS3.
Michael leads the designer, developer and digital strategy teams at DigiMix, a full-service web design and development agency, which specializes in Responsive Web Design, WordPress, Magento and Ruby on Rails app development. If you found this article interesting, you can also follow Michael on Twitter @michaelsalafia or Google +MichaelSalafia.
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