Observations and advice for non-designers and non-developers to leverage the best of growing design trends for your next website or digital marketing campaign.
The web is changing constantly, and it’s difficult to keep up with the many new developments, but let’s take a look at some current and upcoming design trends for 2014.
We will see design continue to be simplified with single page web sites, flat design, fixed headers and minimalism overall. Powered partly by the necessity of mobile requirements and partly by that’s simply what consumers want: we want elegant and simple, not whiz-bangy and tacky, as evidenced by the simple elegance of the iPhone and Windows 8 UI design.
Single Page Websites: These are exactly what they sound like they are. All of the content lives on a single web page. Sectioning your content will help your visitors navigate through your content. Not only does this simplify your site, but you aren’t waiting for the next page to load. Grindspaces.com is a good example of a simple single page website.
Flat Design: This design is based on simplicity and functionality. Flat design gets rid of shadows, reflections, and beveled edges. Windows 8 has paved the way with its new flat design, but in 2014, we will see more and more brands embrace flat design.
Fixed Headers: Fixed headers have become popular because it allows the user to navigate through your site without having to scroll through a lot of content on your page. Snowbird.com uses a fixed header which allows you to access the main content pages even if you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the page.
This is a movement to create UI/UX for website admins while piggybacking on current good CMS systems. The theory is programmers don’t always make good UI/UX, and designers don’t really know how to program. A decoupled system allows for both groups to work in their strengths while still making a unified product. Customers want the ability to manage content on their web sites, and digital agencies have been providing them hard to use and administration heavy systems, like Drupal, WordPress and the like. What we’ll see in 2014 are “decoupled” content management solutions that allow users to edit a live site “in-line” as opposed to going into an arduous to use back-end system.
Infographics have taken the digital world by storm and have become a popular way to take data and present it in a colorful way. Even more recently, interactive infographics have surfaced. The Guardian published a Women’s Political Rights Around the World infographic which allows users to explore the data themselves. When clicking on the region, the user is presented with specific data about that particular area. These interactive infographics take a little more time and effort to program, but the presentation is much more exciting than a static image.
Pinterest Incorporates E-Commerce
Pinterest has already become one of the most popular social media sites, but the image posting pinning site will become more relevant next year because they are rolling out price drop email notifications which will tell the user if an item they pinned dropped in price. This is just in time for the holidays and will only be a matter of time before they do actual e-commerce.
Images: Go Big or Go Home
Images will continue to get larger and larger. With the growth of high speed internet access, there is less concern for speed and file size restriction. Even Google, who supposedly factors website speed into their ranking equation, recently increased the image size restrictions for Google Plus profiles up to 2120 x 1192.
The other reason for larger, more hi-res images is the increased resolution of devices. The higher the resolution, the smaller the image renders, but the more crisp it is. So, if you’re looking for an image to fill the screen, the physical image size needs to be bigger. Because of higher resolution devices and faster connection speeds, we’ll see larger, higher resolution images and thus more visual impact.
We’ve designed for 800 x 600, we’ve designed for higher resolution, for mobile cell phones, then for smart phones and then for tablets. Just when we thought we were done designing for a new device, wearable devices like Google Glass and Pebble arrive on the scene. In 2014 and beyond, we will see optimizing design for wearable devices.