So what’s going to happen in the web design world this year? Is it necessarily the best thing for your website? Well here are some of the things that we might expect to see.
With the invention of Windows 8 and the rolling out IOS 7 we can see definite trend towards flat user interfaces. This is also being reflected on the web. WordPress, in their latest update (3.8), have done a nice clean visual revamp of the admin area, incorporating the flat UI look. With these major players moving this way we are only going to see more in the year to come. This new look may seem like a step back to the time before gradients and layout constructed in tables. However, flat UI is about functionality and usability.
Some people argue that this year Mobile and Tablet users will far out strip Desktop users. This may be true in some industries, however across the board I think desktop will continue to hold a significant market share for some time to come. Having said that mobile users will continue to grow and it would be foolish to create any new website without considering the mobile aspect. There a couple of different way to cater for the mobile users. One is to offer the user a specifically designed mobile website. The other is to make a website responsive. This means you only have one website that displays its content differently depending on the screen size. We saw last year the use of separate mobile sites decline in favour of responsive design and that is set to continue during 2014.
Single Page Scrolling
The one page website that scrolls on forever seems to becoming more popular. Smartphones, due to their limited screen sizes, are forcing content to be stacked vertically. The consequence of this is that we as the user have learnt more and more to scroll as a way navigating a site. This is now being adopted by desktop versions of websites as well. To make scrolling more interesting lots of scroll triggered funky animation is also be adopted. This is fashionable and looks set to continue through 2014 but if you care about your SEO there are downsides to displaying all your content on one page. A multipage site does have more SEO power. However, there is a place for a single page scrolling website such as, interactive infographics or as part of new product marketing strategy.
The rise of the Icon
As icons have become more accessible, through svg’s and fonts there has been definite trend towards using them. There is no longer the necessity for designers to spend time creating lots of icon images. Now they can just upload a font. This has the added advantage of being scalable. There a number icon font collections out there. Such as Bootstrap, which has it built in, there is also Font Awesome and Mono Social Icons Font.
The Hero Areas is generally a large area at the top of a website that contains a minimal amount of text usually accompanied by a graphic, blurred or opaque photograph. This creates a striking first impression and is starting to replace the more traditional slider.
Decline of the Sidebar
Due to smartphones the sidebar has lost all meaning. On a smartphone the sidebar will generally drop to the bottom of the page making it all but useless in most cases. So if you don’t need it on a smartphone do you need it on a desktop? This seems to be part of the trend for simplifying layout and content and we’re likely to see more of it over the year. Let me know what you think about these trends and whether any have caught your eye.