Like the World Wide Web itself, the world of website design is constantly in flux as technologies change and design standards evolve. What worked in 2013 may not fit the bill in 2014. If you’re building a new site, or planning an overhaul of your current page, it’s a great idea to keep on top of current website design trends so you’ll know what to ask for and expect from your designer when going through the process.
Forbes Magazine recently outlined some of the website design trends anticipated for 2014, which can help you keep on top of your design process.
A major element of website design for 2014 will include continuous scrolling. This means that as you scroll down a particular page you will be taken to the next story automatically without clicking on any links. Continuous scrolling is a great concept but requires a floating navigation bar that follows you as you scroll so visitors don’t have to scroll all the way back to the beginning to navigate to other parts of your site.
Improved screen resolution, such as Apple’s Retina display, has led many designers toward incorporating larger fonts into their website design. Larger fonts can now be displayed more effectively, which will make your site all that much easier to read. The larger fonts also accommodate for site displays on smaller devices like smart phones and tablets.
Speaking of smartphones and tablets, responsive mobile design is a key tenet for modern website design. Your page has to look good when displayed on a smaller device that has lesser capabilities and functionality than a full-sized computer. In the past this has been done through designing special sites for mobile devices, but modern websites are generally built to be responsive to the constraints of mobile devices. A site designed this way will eliminate the need for you to maintain two separate sites and allow you to focus on just one great site.
Flat is In
Again, in response to the massive proliferation of mobile devices, the integration of flat design into web building is a key trend in modern website design. In the past designers showed off their skills by adding various visual effects to computer interfaces in attempts to make things on the screen look more like they do in real life. But current trends toward flat design are moving away from that history toward more minimalistic designs that focus on functionality over aesthetics.
Parallax scrolling is also expected to be a major website design trend for 2014. This means websites with multiple layers, each of which scrolls at a different speed that creates the illusion of depth much like that found in a two dimensional video game. This technique can also be incorporated with various digital animation techniques to create various cool dynamic effects.
On the Chopping Block
As is often the case, when something new comes in for website design, the older techniques must depart. Website Design Ledger has outlined some website design concepts that will likely get the axe in 2014.
First on the chopping block is the sliding homepage banner, which served their purpose as a pseudo-interactive feature for a time but are now seen by many site visitors as mainly distracting and annoying. Lengthy fill-out forms may also be going the way of the dodo in website design, as they are widely seen as asking for too much information from customers and often skipped due to fears about providing too much information.
Flash intros are hopefully going to be put to rest in 2014 as well. Long a staple in creating visually-appealing website design, these distracting intros are finally being recognized for the annoying features they are and will likely be phased out by any website designer who is on top of modern design techniques.
And it seems like simple is really the key concept in website design going forward, with a move toward less complicated designs and minimalistic use of fonts. Using too many fonts on a website has been in practice for quite a while now, and leads to complicated and confusing designs. Current trends are luckily trending toward using only two to three fonts per page. Design is also expected to move away from over stimulating layouts with all kinds of icons and features all over the place, to clean and simple layouts that are easy to navigate.
This article was written by Jason Wilkis, who is a web designer and keeps up with the latest trends of website design.