Posted by Rob Bolt
It's that time again when we race through the last 3 months of the year at warp speed, inexorably bearing down on Christmas. At BBI towers it is a chance to reflect upon what has been and what is to come in the new year. With ghostly ghouls and gremlins roaming the land we thought it would be a good time to dust off our crystal ball and give you a sneak peak into what is going to be hot in web design for 2014. We list 6 trends, some of which have already got underway but are set to make a big splash in the new year.
We look into our crystal ball to discover the trends of 2014
Aesthetic design trends come and go and are usually cyclical in nature. Flat design will take complete hold in 2014. We are already seeing it on the major mobile and tablet platforms. The former trend of the last decade known as skeuomorphic design is a style famously promoted by Steve Jobs at Apple. The main idea behind this technique is to make on screen elements look like real world objects. Skeuomorphic objects such as a microphone or the bevelled 3d envelope to represent email have been staples of the GUI (Graphical User Interface) ever since the mid nineties but things are changing. With the advent of Windows 7 & 8 smartphone OS, Google's complete design overhaul across their ecosystem by designer Matias Duarte and the new Androidesque layout of Apple iOS7 it is clear flat design has taken hold of the zeitgeist.
Probably one of the hardest things to get right but when achieved mixing disparate typefaces can be used to great effect. The key is choosing typefaces that are different enough to tell them apart. So a bad choice would be Helvetica and Arial for example. They are two similar. Another rule of thumb is to make sure that the number of typefaces are kept to a few. Mixing typefaces is not a licence to use every font in the font book. The use of contrasting colour, size, height, weight and shadow are all tools at the disposal of the designer when aiming to achieve these results. The ultimate arbiter of whether it works or not will be the designer. A handy tool for testing out potential font combinations is "The Web Font Combinator".
Parrallax scrolling has to be seen to be believed but in a nutshell it is a special scrolling technique whereby the background image moves and becomes part of the interactive content. The effect is impressive in that it creates a depth of field and it certainly brings the wow factor to your website product or brand. A good example of this technique can be found here
There is a myth in web design that users will not scroll. This started out as a legitimate message about placing your most prized content above the page fold in order to give your calls to action prime positioning. Over time this message was misunderstood and so you have the situation now where sites keep everything above the fold and spread the content out across multiple pages. This had the dual purpose of breaking up the content in order that different keywords could be targeted but it's not a hard and fast rule. Single page design often lends itself well to the Parallax Scrolling we mentioned above.
Full Width Background images
the old adage of a picture paints a thousand words still holds true. Formerly the preserve of photographers and fashion houses full width background images pack quite a bunch in grabbing the users attention and conveying the wow factor of a brand or product.
If one trend has been red hot in 2013 it has been responsive design. This ethos is borne of the requirement to create a uniform design across as many platforms as possible. The growth of smartphones and tablets has been a big driver of this and each quarter there is a marked increase in users accessing the web via their mobile devices. Responsive design should not be confused with mobile specific design where sites are created solely for mobile. Responsive aims to simplify navigation, use appropriate and scalable fonts, choose images that will work on a smaller screen. Often modelled around a grid system the responsive design will collapse down neatly from a full size website to a mobile friendly design effortlessly. At Big Brand Ideas we love crafting responsive designs that working beautifully on all platforms.
Let us know your thoughts on any trends you feel we may have missed off our radar, or tell us what you do or do not like about where the web is going.