Almost on the daily, web design develops, techniques change, and gorgeous, user friendly, interactive, responsive sites are published. I’m excited about the possibilities that are yet to land on the scene.
The following are some design trends I have noticed this year, and a little of what I expect to see more of.
Longer Scrolling websites
As smartphones and tablets become more ubiquitous, it’s more usual for designers to opt for scrolling, rather than linking, as a way to display content. The result is that newer site designs are trending toward the longer in length.
Story Telling and UX
While excellent, relevant, and valuable content is ever vital, the ability to deliver a story at the same time is a huge bonus. Web design will likely continue to center around storytelling for users.
In addition to that, site designers are creating websites that create experience for the user; designs are interactive and easy to navigate.
The tendency of late has been focused on big header images for the background, frequently with floating copy, videos or buttons; it is generally the number one element that visitors encounter when they land on a website. In the interest of standing out, many designers have started leaning toward the opposite approach: Go clean. Go simple. Go Zen with it.
While many have retained their big headers, they’ve made them background-image free. I’m betting they are also looking at performance and speed as two more great reasons to forgo the large images.
Simplicity over non-essential elements
There is a philosophy that is sometimes touted in design: a website is never finished until all “non-essential” elements have been eliminated.
Many designers have virtually eliminated a lot of the design elements that many sites display. Things like background colors, bunches of images, and sophisticated layouts have gone the wayside, instead replaced with clean and simple designs, little clutter, and just the basics.
Recent years have realized a burgeoning of sites with the “banding” design element (width 100%), so that content stretches visually to the full width of a browser’s viewport. In the past, most sites were fix-width and centered on the page.
That “fix-width” tendency appears to be making a come back, but in an edgier way. Instead of site borders going all the way to both sides of the viewport, some designers are going for a max-width to keep their content centered in the viewport.
Custom photography and video
Stock imagery and video is certainly not absent from design, but for many newer websites, it has taken a back row to custom, professional digital media that delivers high quality, and truly unique content to the website and objective.
I see more and more designers keeping their main menus completely hidden or very subtly placed. The menus then only come into view when the site visitor selects the menu icon. This responsive design technique is making its debut throughout, regardless of viewport size considerations.