Web design has come of age, and there is so much you can do now as a web designer compared to twenty (20) years ago, when the Internet was still an infant.
Thanks to new web technologies (i.e. HTML5, CSS3 & jQuery), and web developers who are not afraid to take web design to the fringe, the Internet is now full of beautiful websites that can do things once thought impossible.
With these impossible things came new trends, and in today’s post we will uncover at least ten (10) hot web design trends to watch in 2014. Stay tuned to the end, we’re going to have fun!
Well, isn’t this trend rather obvious? Wherever you go, designers are throwing away 3D graphics and whatnot in favor of flat images. Apparently (and after the release of Windows 8 and Apple’s move to do away with skeuomorphism), everybody is now convinced flat design is the way of the future.
I’m convinced this trend is here to say because flat graphics are now very popular (everyone wants a piece of the flat), load faster than typical 3D graphics, and do the work just fine. Additionally, Flat Design makes it simple to develop a fully responsive website, so a hundred points to flat design already!
THE RISE OF THE PERSONAL PORTRAIT
Everywhere you go, you’re bound to find a personal portrait of the persona behind the project. If you don’t find a personal portrait, you will get the portrait of the entire staff. They are all over, the portraits, as they help in creating human connection, which – if you live under a rock – leads to better conversions. Oh yeah, a personal portrait can influence more people to hire you. If you’re in doubt, tell me if the following illustrations don’t make you feel some form of connection:
FONTS THAT EXUDE PERSONALITY
Long gone are the days when Times New Roman and such like fonts ruled the world of web design. Today, with the help of the the CSS @font-face rule, you can import beautiful fonts from a server that lives on the other side of the planet. This means web designers have thousands if not hundred of thousands of fonts at their disposal.
Web designers are using a variety of font types to provide exciting user experiences that bolster interaction and engagement. With new fonts popping up every other day, you can only expect this trend to soar in 2014 and beyond.
For a long time, web designers took a mobile-second approach to design. But with more Internet surfers taking to the mobile device, web designers have been forced to take a mobile-first approach to website design.
In fact, more and more web designers are finding it useful (and especially important) to create responsive websites that work on mobile devices as well as computers. Therefore, instead of building websites and adapting them to mobile devices, web designers are starting with mobile design and scaling them up to computer designs. Mobile-first is a trend that is here to stay especially in the post-hummingbird era, where mobile search is an important factor in SEO rankings.
If you’ve been to Mashable or Nike, you know exactly what I am talking about. While the old and simple navigation menu is still in use, the mega-menu has become a popular trend in recent times. Mega menus come with a lot of functionalities, meaning you can provide extra navigation options including additional links, images and even maps. This gives you the ability to capture the attention of your visitors without breaking your back.
Recently, integrating mega-menu has become way easy. Many premium WordPress themes have mega-menus included (like the Total Multipurpose WordPress theme seen above). And thanks to tools such as the Mega Main Menu – WordPress Mega Menu Plugin, any user can create mega menus in minutes, so we can expect the mega-menu wave to hit harder.
HTML5 + CSS3 DESIGN
Don’t believe me? I will lead your attention to a few illustrations. Behold, the potential of HTML5 and CSS3:
- Audio Player – Codepen (with a little Java)
- Heart (<3) particles
EXPEDITED USER REGISTRATION
Do you recall when long and tiring-to-fill forms were the norm? Why did they make us fill out those forms anyway? I mean, why would one want your street address to send you a PDF file? It doesn’t make sense right? It never made sense – at least to me. Well, those days are over.
The trend nowadays is one-to-two-field forms that are easy to fill out. Open any website right now and chances are high that you will be met with a short form that asks for your name and email only. Some forms ask for your email only. Isn’t it fun to fill out such forms?
Short forms make it easy to get new users. It’s a great trend, and more web developers should embrace it if only to save the human race one heck of a headache and a great deal of time. What? We all need more time to stand in long queues at the movies and fast food joints 🙂
THE RISE OF THE SINGLE-PAGE WEBSITE
Everyday, more designers are shunning the idea of building the typical multi-page website in favor of the cleaner (and less-complicated) single-page website. See examples below:
Even without trying, you will find yourself on one these one-page websites. The good part is they are extremely easy to navigate (you can consume the content quickly) since all you have to do is scroll and scroll and scroll some more, which somewhat introduces us to our next trend.
If parallax scrolling sounds like a term from an alien world, here is a quick description to clear the air:
“Parallax scrolling is a unique scrolling technique, which creates the illusion of 3D depth by controlling the speed of background images such that they (background images) translate slower than foreground content.”
To see parallax scrolling in action, check out these 35 great examples of parallax scrolling.
Still on interactivity, we have to touch on the emergence of hero areas that are quickly replacing sliders. Wherever you go, you’re bound to see an attention-grabbing hero area that summarizes the website’s agenda better than any slider would ever do.
This trend has been gaining a lot of traction since more organizations decided to embrace dynamic backgrounds to tell their story. Check out these examples at Hongkiat, and you will have a better idea of how web designers are using background videos to create an experience like no other. Dynamic backgrounds are becoming increasingly popular and with the emergence of new technologies, we are yet to see more of this trend.
GRID DESIGN A LA PINTEREST
While grid design was already a reality before Pinterest, it is this image sharing platform that made the design popular. Now, everywhere you turn, you will see a website utilizing grid design to display products, galleries and even content. The trend is very popular since users can easily scan your offerings, which leads to better conversion rates.
What’s more? With the introduction of grid design plugins (e.g. Responsive Pinterest Grid Gallery WordPress Plugin), everyone who is not a seasoned HTML designer can implement the design (on WordPress websites) in a matter of minutes.
The Fixed Header
The fixed header is a popular feature on a number of websites such as New York Times and Facebook amongst others. Fixed headers remain at the top of the browser window as you scroll down, which keeps the navigation menu in plain sight no matter how far you scroll. This way, users can easily navigate your site without scrolling all the way up. Fixed headers are simple to implement and thanks to the ingenuity of this technique, this Fixed Header trend is here to stay.
Big and small brands alike no longer throw products at the customers. They are taking advantage of storytelling, which is a new web design trend fuelled by content marketing. More and more web designers are taking to storytelling to create large followings in no time. With a large following, the sky is the only limit you have.
This trend goes hand in hand with the one-page design trend we mentioned earlier. The only difference is you can apply minimalism even on multi-page websites. Web designers are dropping unnecessary design elements and “content junk” in favor of refined and simple designs that are straight to the point. Some brands, however, are doing it all wrong. One of the suspects is Snapchat.
Well… Here we are, over ten (10) web trends worth watching in 2014. You can expect all of these trends to soar, but if you know of any other web design trend that’s picking up momentum this year, please let us know in the comment section below. Cheers!