Web Design Trends in 2014
Over the years, web design has transformed dramatically. The complex, information-heavy websites of the desktop computer era have given way to a lighter and simpler trend toward the mobile-friendly. New design motifs are coming to dominate the field, and those who wish to compete online will want to be aware of the latest in feel and functionality. Here are the six top web design trends for 2014.
1. Responsive Design
The most important trend is primarily a practical one. As the number of different device classes continues to increase, websites must be tailored to an ever-increasing number of screen sizes. The most effective response to this has been responsive design. Responsive design paradigms states that the website itself should change according to the capabilities of the device from which it is being accessed. In addition, content blocks should gracefully reflow based on the capabilities of the device accessing it or if a user zooms in or out. While these techniques are not easy to implement, there are a number of proven methods available.
2. Flat Design
In the early days of the web, designers would often incorporate textured backgrounds, buttons with marbled looks, and drop shadows that gave the impression of depth. While many have long been moving away from these early elements, some often remained in websites. Flat design is a rejection of all of these elements. Part of the move toward this trend is based on user familiarity with the Internet. Design elements that once delivered in analog, comforting look now mostly get in the way, and users tend to reject them. In addition, high-resolution displays, such as Retina display technology, look even better when they are showing flat elements.
3. Minimalist Design
Flat design is a part of minimalist design, but other elements of minimalist design are becoming popular as well. Instead of presenting as much information as possible on a single page, modern design trends suggest displaying only the information that is essential. Some are even taking this a step further and giving users fewer configuration options. While removing or simply not implementing certain options is sometimes viewed as controversial, many large companies have found that users rate websites and applications better when they are presented with fewer options.
4. Full-Width Background Images
Flat design and minimalist design trends might give some the impression that users prefer simplicity and utilitarianism above all else. In reality, user still want some style and grace on their websites. Thanks to high bandwidth connections, full-width background images are becoming a popular way of adding a bit of life to a website. These images tend to be fairly simple, and most are based on one- or two-toned, abstract designs. They also need to avoid interfering with content on the screen. Used correctly, however, these large background images can help make a website stand out and give a truly professional look.
5. Large, Print-Inspired Typography
Embedding fonts has never been easier, and many designers are taking advantage of the flexibility it gives. By using large fonts that are easy to read on a number of different devices, designers can give users a more practical experience. In addition, using large fonts make a wide range of uncommon font choices practical. Some the best font choices available are based on fonts long used in print media, and high-definition displays now give computers similar readability. By relying on these tested fonts, designers can give their websites an outstanding look.
6. Parallax Scrolling
A mainstay of video games, parallax scrolling is a technique where multiple layers are scrolled at different speeds. While flat design trends are popular for individual layers, using multiple layers is also becoming popular. With parallax scrolling, designers can give users an intuitive, simple method of finding the information they need. Web pages are increasingly being used similarly to applications, and using parallax scrolling on several different layers helps give websites depth, extra functionality, and a top-notch, professional look.