Graphic and web design is an ever-changing field, constantly evolving with the needs and trends of society.
Designers must make it a common practice to keep up with and prepare for changing trends. While trends in the design world are somewhat hard to predict because of their quick fluidity, there are some ideas for what the coming year’s web design style holds.
It’s glaringly obvious that technology has moved – and continues to move – to more mobile devices.
Virtually everyone in our society owns a smartphone or tablet that features smaller screens and touch screen interaction. Not to mention the ability to view the screen portrait style or landscape.
Designers used to have to design a separate website for each viewing format. With responsive web design, the same site is communicated on any format, without having to show different versions.
A lot of WordPress templates offer built in responsive design.
In short, the site design responds to the format it is being viewed on so that it is usable on any device.
A growing trend for interactive websites is parallax scrolling, which is when elements on the site scroll on different lines to create movement and a 3-D effect.
It captures the viewer’s attention and is more entertaining than pages overloaded with text or simple one-way scrolling, like this example from Bagigia:
Another system of scrolling that is more common is vertical scrolling – overtaking the few layouts that still use horizontal scrolling as well.
Internet users want usability and convenience; having to scroll both vertically and horizontally – especially on a small touch screen – does not reflect these qualities.
It’s becoming more common to find websites with backgrounds that interact with the foreground, rather than distracting from it.
This is often the case with parallax scrolling as well, because everything works cohesively, as opposed to separate elements that the eye has to jump between. The Amazing Spider Man Game site below is a great example of a well done full page background:
This can help emphasize the personality of the site’s brand, as the background is attention grabbing. And it takes away the need (or the illusion of a need) for disjointed photos that don’t do anything for the brand.
High quality photos or vectors are needed to pull off this trend, as poor images will only distract the reader.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have high enough quality photos, try using stock photos to pull of this trend.
With more and more internet time being spent on phones and tablets and without a mouse to click with, it’s a safe prediction that the size of buttons on touch screens will grow in 2013.
As mentioned, usability and efficiency is key in pleasing viewers. Tapping the wrong button because it’s so small is annoying and inconvenient. With the growing number in touch screen users, it’s only natural to make the buttons more useful to them.
Given all the creative possibilities for type design, websites should feature the same typographical creativity.
Many designers are beginning to lean toward more simplistic and spacious web layouts, and designing solely with type. Often an underused art, typography can communicate just as beautifully as images, like this examples from Gareth Lawn:
With such little time to capture your site visitor’s attention, a block of text explaining your product or service is deadly for the life of your site. Consider instead creating a landing page video that draws in the attention of your users.
Many sites are beginning to employ this powerful and captivating design element. Don’t have access to a major studio to make a high production video? Plenty of stock footage exists for those on a bit of a budget.
About the Author:
Rob Toledo resides up in Seattle, WA. He loves coffee, tech, and great design. He can be reached on Twitter @stentontoledo.