Let's take a quick look back over 2013. For once, Microsoft and Apple actually agreed on something. Thanks to the release of Windows 8 and iOS7, the path has been carved for new, exciting trends in the design world. Gone are the days of designers attempting to make objects 'pop' off the page, cluttering up sites with lengthy copy, and using bland colours. Let's look into the crystal ball and see where the future of web design is headed...
- Flat, not fat
The uber-cool 'flat' design has recently become the style of choice amongst designers in the know. It has replaced skeuomorphism, where false textures, gradients, and drop-shadows create a chunky 3D effect, with designers instead favouring a more mature, minimalist design. Saturated blocks of bright neon colours, simple icons, and focus upon typography are now applauded. 2014 will only see this design evolve and gain popularity.
- Less is more
This 'flat' design lends itself to simplicity. Less on the page is far more appealing to the user. It makes the page's content much easier to digest. Watch out for an elimination of clutter on the page and more blank space, which is only going to become more apparent in the coming year. Minimalism allows a greater focus upon content and copy - which will consequently become more condensed and important, distilling messages right down to their core.
- Reach for responsive
With smartphones and tablets taking over the world, responsive sites are pretty much imperative nowadays. They really impact design, just as apps have been a major influence. A desire for simplified sites with large buttons that are touch-friendly are now in demand, as are larger fonts with attention-grabbing headlines. In 2014, we could see responsive sites being designed alongside - if not, before - sites for PCs and laptops.
- The power of parallax
2014 is going to see a boom in the adoption of unified, long page web designs and cool effects including parallax.js to make different layers of the page move at different times. Not only are these sites visually stunning, they provide an enticing method of encouraging users to keep scrolling, explore content, and read more copy. Key page elements including headers and social media can be made 'sticky' to follow the user, appearing more prominently.
- Phenomenal photography
A picture paints a thousand words. And thanks to retina displays quickly becoming standardised in mobiles and computers, we can only look forward to seeing crisper images with higher resolution on websites in 2014. With double the pixel density of LCD screens, designers are granted the gift of being able to go further with their eye-catching designs. Watch this space for more full-screen background photos, with websites breaking free from the conventional 'multi-page' look.