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7 Web Design Trends to Look Out for in 2014

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This article has been contributed by John Siebert*.

Designers are fast adopting innovative design patterns (trends) that in combination often deliver a highly satisfying user experience. Some of these patterns have been here for long and the others have just joined.

So, let’s take a closer look at seven web design trends that are ruling the roost and will continue to grow in 2014.

1. Accessible, Quality Content

Before we get into the actual trends it’s important to state that content has always been the king and it still is. Designers are making sure that they create useful, informative and accessible content which reaches the user via the best interactive experience possible.

A solid headline, will surely make your user open the site, but quality content is equally necessary for them to stay on the site for a sufficient period of time… and also come back again.

2. Custom Illustration

Inservio Website
Designers are taking this approach very seriously as it can really differentiate a website from any other. Illustrations, vector graphics and hand-drawn illustrations are becoming popular because of the raw aesthetic beauty, energy and uniqueness they bring to the design of a website. They can either be simple or intricate, but there is absolutely no doubt they make the design more memorable.

While most of the designers limit these illustrative designs to some pages, there are others who base their complete website layout on illustrations alone. Illustrations help convey a message quicker and easier than words often can. 

3. Big and Bold

Big & Bold

Big is beautiful now! Visit as many new websites you can and you will find many of these will welcome you with BIG BOLD text. This text is placed to welcome visitors to the site and also give an indication of what they will find on the site.

A big trend right now is to display a one liner that describes what the company does, usually set over a large photo. The idea of big and bold text is becoming popular because of its quick, digestible usability. From websites to mobile apps, everybody likes to click on nice readable words & buttons. Big words are actionable.

Big and Bold Website

More and more designers are using minimal fonts and going big. These usually create the most necessary impact if and when used on the home page/landing page of a website.

If you have just one background image use a single typeface and larger font size that makes your message clearer. Make sure you use simple quick, easy to understand lines as they are much more affective. Also, give your message room to breathe by having enough white space around the text. And lastly, match your imagery well with your message.

4. Videos Replacing Text / Static Graphics

Motion graphics have been here for a long time (remember Flash?) and they continue to be highly regarded by web designers even now, but now via HTML5 Canvas Video.
Carrot Creative

Take for example the agency Carrot, who use video on many of their sub pages. It helps add dynamism and insight to the company which could not have been done as well with still imagery alone. If pictures are worth 1000 words, what’s a video worth?

BeMoved

Another great example is Sony in their BeMoved site which utilizes parallax scrolling and mp4 videos very well. You can see behind the scenes here.

5. A “Less is More” Approach

Simplicity in Web Design

Less is more! Minimalism is taking over the web world. Nobody wants to look at pages, overcrowded with graphics, photographs, texts and random flying objects (Geocities anyone?). A cleaner page is easier to navigate and understand. Designers are fast taking up the minimalistic approach to improve the quality of their site and its usability.

The designers need to get down to the bare essential elements of their website to get the perfect minimalist approach. It’s about taking things away until you realize there is nothing more you can remove.
Simple Website 2

Less words or pictures is the rule! A good eye for image placements, spacing and proportion becomes crucial here. Smart typeface choice and minimal text can do wonders when placed in white space. Use a grid to place the photographs and text to enhance the effect.

6. Flat Design

Apple iPhone 5C

Flat design is shorthand for a design philosophy that strives for simplicity, clarity, and honesty of materials in user interfaces.

Flat pages rarely introduce dimensionality, shadows, or textures into the equation, relying instead on parallax scrolling, visual clarity and bold colors to communicate.

The flat design trend has risen up over 2013 and will continue to blossom in 2014. Check out this gallery of flat web designs.

FitBit

Flat generally refers to:

  • Simple
  • Straight Lines, And Square Corners
  • No Added Effects
  • Few Buttons, “less elements”
  • Typography & Color Lead The Design
  • Unique, often Bright Color Combinations

7. Animated Story Telling

Many designers have taken up the task of becoming entertaining storytellers to engage their users. The use of storytelling in web design often reveals the website’s message step by step. Designers use various elements to tell their brand story through a combination of words, illustrations, typography, videos, photographs, color, mascots, icons and symbols – often animating them in and out of place as seen on the Tinke site.

Story Telling

Words have always been the simplest way to tell a story. The right words will make great content and in turn, will form a great story. Sentences should be concise and to the point.

Visuals can be more effective sometimes though, as a single image can say much about your brand. To go even further, we can animate parts of the page to enact the story of the brand such as on the Dangers of Fracking site below.

Story Telling Website

Simple, focused content along with supporting design elements help make a rich branded experience for the user.

Keeping these trends in mind will definitely help you come up with great web experiences for the target users, but remember “performance is design“.

More 2014 Web Design Trend Articles

Have we missed any web design trends? Feel free to share.

John Siebert is the President and CEO of TranquilBlue – A Web Design Tampa Company that focuses on all kind of website design, mobile app development and search engine marketing.


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39 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Mike B Reply

    John thanks for the 2014 trends outlook. I will definitely refer back to this.

    • Ann Denham Reply

      I completely agree. What a great list. I learned so much about the current trends of graphic design. I really like the examples that you used to demonstrate the points. Thanks for a great article. I will refer back to this.

  • Bianca Board Reply

    Great list. I’ve seen several articles list the “latest trends” but this definitely one of most spot on ones I’ve seen. The use of videos in place of graphics, flat design and custom illustrations are great changes to design and I’m excited to see how far people push it.

  • Jack @ Buoyancy Media Reply

    I think minimal design is probably down to responsive layouts. You make some good point`s!

  • Mark F. Simchock Reply

    Well…

    => From what I read, more total time is spent on small screen than large – and the gap is getting wider every day. “Big & bold” and some of the others don’t really a apply then, yes?

    So yeah… #5 – Less is More. Maybe that should bump up to #1?

    => I’d also like to add one to the list (based on the trend towards small screen):

    “Consistent UX”

    That is, if you presume mobile / touch first, then the large screen should related to that – not the other way around. And certainly not some totally new / different experience. User expectations are much more mature now. If you’re still “designing websites” in 2014 – as opposed to crafting experiences driven by user expectations – then you’re doing it all wrong.

    • Jacob Cass Reply

      Hi Mark,

      Just wanted to make clear that the numbers aren’t actually in any specific order but you’re correct a lot of the time less is more.

      Regarding the big & bold, you can still achieve this on mobile, it’s just relative to the screen size. eg. on mobile large images would be smaller, but the text larger.

      Consistent UX I think is a fundamental but yes crafting experiences is crucial.

  • GIZIPP Reply

    In the end, performance is design! :D
    Some parallax website is very heavy… need a lot of resource.

  • DamienIMS Reply

    I’ll go for number 5 because of its simplicity. I like it! If you are looking for a great website building software tool then you should grab your free copy of this one here. You can make an unlimited amount of websites with this and it is simple to use. http://thefreesoftwaredepot.com/tracker/CashExtractorJoanWF/GetFreeSoftware/

  • Eva James Reply

    I think minimal design is probably down to responsive layouts. You make some good point`s!

  • Anirudh Sharma Reply

    Use of the Info graphics is also increasing in newly designed websites in 2014, I am regularly observing this fact in most of the coming websites. Thanks.

  • Plan Web Design Reply

    Number 3 being BIG and Bold is definitely in for 2014, and our favourite. Another great post guys.

  • Andy Reply

    Minimalism and flat design are largely down to responsive / mobile-first development.

    While we have a lot of control over layout, positioning, size and even colours among any screen size we do have to stay with-in some design boundaries due to the way things re-arrange.

    I think until we see an alternative to mobile-first web design or even a whole new way of approaching things, minimalistic web design is here to stay.

    Thanks for the round up!

    Andy

  • Sarah Reply

    ‘Big and Bold’. With the availability of real fonts trough services like Typekit this trend has accelerated a lot. What designers are usually going for are either really thin or really bold fonts.

  • Martijn Reply

    Hi,
    I would like to share with you:
    We proudly launched the new website for Mordillo.
    http://mordillo.com/
    Not sure if a trending website but its for sure unique and maybe an inspiration to others. Hope its worth mentioning on your fantastic blog
    Mordillo is a creator of cartoons and animations and was one of the most widely published cartoonists of the 1970s. This website shows the Universe of Mordillo featuring many animations and a nice parallax effect. Its a website for the fans all over the world.
    Made by http://www.sproetstudio.com

    Kind regards,
    Martijn Horstmanshoff

  • SEO Birmingham Reply

    Hi Jacob- Great list! I like the notion of minimalism and have to admit it looks a lot cleaner but do you think it is wise amongst the surge of “content is king”- i.e. the more we have the better it would be for rankings?

  • Arianna Decosta Reply

    Very interesting info. I like the website design. I have designed my website i.e. http://www.61designstreet.com/ on the same principle.

  • subarjo Reply

    Before we get into the actual trends it’s important to state that content has always been the king and it still is. Designers are making sure that they create useful, informative and accessible content which reaches the user via the best interactive experience possible.

  • Wolfgang Reply

    Not all these design features are appropriate in all cases. There are always exceptions, and there are lots of bad examples of these features being used wrongly, over-used, or done without sensitivity to the “symphony” of a site’s design. Making a web page that works requires a lot of sensitivity to the various forces at work. A good design solution is one that balances those (often opposing) forces.

  • Delia Anderson Reply

    Great stuff. Minimalism is winning this year. Web designers should focus more on such sites because they’re content-oriented. For your ease, I’ve found these important tips about minimalism: http://starscontest.com/blog/tips-for-enhancing-a-minimal-design-approach

  • 17Crash Reply

    Interesting choice of using Apple for your flat design example when it was actually Microsoft that brought back flat design and it was Apple who completely dropped skeumorphism and followed MS’s lead after they released Windows 8.

  • Arianna Decosta Reply

    Harry do you know how much fool you are….you want to file the case against me then you can file the case….I wanna to see how much talent you are.


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