Web Design Trends for 2014
by Andrew Millar
Devices are constantly evolving. Smartphone, phablets and tablets are growing and shrinking at such a rapid rate it’s difficult to keep up. One day bigger is better and the next it’s the opposite. As user needs change so too do the web design trends. We, designers, continue to step up to the plate, creating layouts and functionality to better serve visitors.
Web Design Trends: Responsive Design
The idea of responsive web design was first discussed in 2010 when Ethan Marcotte coined the term. At first they were experimental and slightly clunky. It was not until 2012 that we began seeing responsive designs put into play. Even still, they were tricky to implement and many small to medium sized businesses just avoided the headache.
This is a decision which is becoming more and more risky to your long-term success. With advances in Google’s algorithm, the ranking of sites which are not mobile friendly is significantly reduced.
However, the latest web design trends have shown us that responsive web design is not just about taking your existing desktop site and scaling down the images. Rather, it’s about picking and choosing the elements of your site which are the most valuable to the visitor, pairing down your desktop version to only include those and then creating responsive site which will, almost, seamlessly scale to any format.
Web Design Trends: Simple Design
It naturally follows that a responsive design would also require a simple design. However, in 2014 simplicity takes on a little bit different meaning. Here, simple is a far cry from generic. Good designers are not just throwing hundreds of images at the screen and tons of words. They have taken a step up from this two-year-old with their building block approach.
Today, designers are identifying the most powerful images. They are crafting their statements into short, clear messages. Here, less is more.
Web Design Trends: Flat Design
In keeping with the simple design philosophy, Apple rocked the web design world with their flat design. A nearly element free design, they removed features such as drop shadows and gradients. The result: a cleaner, less distracting look which helps users easily find the information they need.
Web Design Trends: TEST Like Crazy
“Test, test, and test again,” is the mantra of today’s top web designers. Since the advent of the Internet, advertising and marketing having been moving in one solid direction: delivering value to the consumer. Putting customers first is no longer just a great idea. It’s vital to your success. Testing is the only way to get to know your target audience and discover what they want and need.
Web Design Trends: Storytelling Design
Shouting the loudest may have earned some business attention in the past, but today customers expect more. They demand it. They don’t want to just be told your product or service is the best, they want to understand – intimately – why.
The heart of the storytelling design philosophy is simple: fun education. Sharing who you are, what you do and how you got there in a fun, engaging way allows your customers to buy in. It makes them part of the process. It engages them.
Web Design Trends: Engage
There is that word again, engage. It keeps cropping up and it will continue to do so. Why? Because engagement is how you build relationships. No one got the pretty girl to go to the prom with them by standing in the corner and shouting at the top of their lungs. You have to go talk to her and get her to respond (or in this case your customers and prospects).