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
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 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.
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
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?
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
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.
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
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.
Flat generally refers to:
- 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.
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.
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
- 2014 Web Design Trends on Web Design Ledger
- 18 Pivotal Web Design Trends for 2014 on eConsultancy
- 10 Trends to Expect in 2014 on The Next Web
- 2014 Web Trends on HongKiat
- 14 Lousy Web Design Trends Making a Comeback on eConsultancy
- Why Cards are The Future of The Web on Inside Intercom
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.