Web design is a dynamic thing. Every year, blogs and articles across the internet make predictions about up-and-coming design trends. The ones that stick, result in a wave of stunning website layouts that engage users in new and exciting ways.
1. Simplicity of Design
Simple web designs are on the rise in 2012. These are user-friendly websites, where the design focuses on minimal appearances with easy navigation. This offers visitors a positive browsing experience. By balancing white space with images and text, designers are creating sites that look clean, sleek and crisp. Users prefer simple, clear layouts and will stay on a site longer if they can find what they’re looking for with ease. Reducing clutter and creating unique site designs is simple with:
- Oversized type to highlight important text
- Large blocks of colour, breaking up a page
- Eye-catching images as backdrops for text and navigation
- Central alignment placing elements in a way that is pleasing to the eye
- These features come together to create a cleaner site that’s easy to use and nice to look at.
2. More Mobile and Device Users
Mobile use has exploded in recent years. Smartphones are everywhere. Increased competition in the tablet market will likely drive prices down, making these devices standard household items. Tapping and swiping may soon be as common as pointing and clicking. In light of this change, websites should to be well-suited to mobile browsing styles.
Site designers need to keep this in mind when building layouts, creating navigation and placing important information.
3. Responsive Interfaces
As the number of people accessing the internet with smartphones and tablets continues to grow, standardising web designs becomes more important than ever. A separate mobile site won’t serve all users across all devices. Enter responsive interface. Using special code called media queries, responsive websites automatically adapt to fit any screen size and orientation. With the proper CSS code and a little patience, web designers can create one site that will look good and function well no matter what kind of device it’s viewed on.
4. Fixed Navigation
Ease of navigation is one of the most important parts of web design. Users won’t stay on a site if they can’t figure out how to get from page to page. Navigation links that move with the page stay in a fixed position as the user scrolls, offering access to the rest of the site at all times. Also called parallax scrolling, this trend gives designers more flexibility as to how much information can be placed on one page. Fixed links won’t ever disappear, so a user can scroll more without having to go back to the top of the page to click through to another part of the site.
5. Switch to HTML5 & CSS3
Changes in HTML and CSS code are helping to support new design trends. Bouncing Orange used HTML4 and Parallax to create a moving background, however now you can harness HTML5 and CCS3 to achieve advanced animations (See Teehanlax animated background). HTML5 builds on existing HTML4 mark-up for greater flexibility in style. Images, audio and video can be coded directly into a site without the use of third-party applications (Adobe Flash) or embed tags. This feature creates an immersive user experience when mixed with the style elements of CSS3. Using CSS3, designers can:
- Having moving objects (animation).
- Create custom borders using images.
- Layer more than one backgrounds on one page.
- Place shadows behind boxes and text.
- Use custom colour opacity.
- Round off sharp corners on images.
- Unique Typography.
Services such as Typekit and Google Web Fonts are allowing website designers to add a variety of unique custom fonts into websites. The fonts are loaded when the site loads using bit of CSS code. Services rather than websites host the fonts, so there’s no uploading to worry about. Designers can simply choose the fonts they want. Creating a CSS font family adds the font to the site, and all that’s left is to delve into site design with new, interesting font faces.
6. Increase in Infographics
Infographics deliver a lot of data in a single eye-catching image. Designers combine facts and figures with icons and pictures to create an easily sharable graphic. With the click of a mouse, users can share the image anywhere on the Internet. Blogs and social media are popular places to find these big, bold images. While infographics aren’t part of website design per se, they’re an easy way to draw attention to any niche.