2014 has come to an end, and it’s time to start looking ahead. In the world of web design, some trends come and go quickly, and others stick around for awhile. No matter the case, if you want to keep your website current and your customers satisfied, it’s important to pay attention to the trends. What’s to come in 2015? We have some pretty good guesses. Here are the top 10 trends in web design we’re sure will show up this year.
1. Responsive Design
While responsive design is nothing new, it certainly deserves a mention. Said Jeffrey Veen of Adobe, “Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.”
Responsive design crafts sites for the most optimal viewing experience across devices. It is no surprise, then, that it is becoming less of a trend, and more of a norm. As theme creator Gridgum concluded, “If your website is not responding to different screen sizes, it’s stuck in 2008.”
2. Scrolling Over Clicking
Many companies are now opting for a scrolling website design, where pages are vertical and clicking is minimal. With such a design, there is no need to worry about confusing navigation menus or long loading times.
The mobile revolution has had a significant impact on this particular trend. All of us with a smartphone know that vertical browsing reigns supreme. Some of the most popular social media sites on the web – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram – understand this. Having users scroll helps them consume massive amounts of information.
A scrolling design is also perfect for webpages whose purpose is storytelling:
There’s quite a bit of buzz online about how businesses need to work on telling better stories. Stories, after all, are how many businesses are able to connect with consumers.
Storytelling can be powerful, making material more memorable, more relatable. Ultimately, stories persuade where facts cannot.
Take, for example, the Tesla Motors website. The Go Electric page answers consumer questions about the evolution of the Tesla motor through a story played out with multiple forms of media. The result is interactive, fun and compelling.
4. Material Design
Material Design is Google’s new visual design language. According to Google, “Material is the metaphor. A material metaphor is the unifying theory of rationalized space and a system of motion. The material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by our study of paper and ink, yet open to imagination and magic.”
In simpler terms, material design is a mostly flat design with subtle gradients, layering and animation that retains a sense of the tangible world while achieving the advantages of a flat design.
Google has provided free online documentation for those who are interested in what Material Design is and how it works. As it offers plenty of design lessons and guidelines, it’s worth taking a look at.
5. Personalized UX
If you have an account on YouTube or Netflix, you know that your pages are personalized to your particular interests. Using cookies helps display more relevant content to users.
While this isn’t necessarily a new trend, it is certainly a useful one for many businesses and services to consider.
Microinteractions are contained experiences or moments within a product or module on a website that revolve around a single case use. When you change a setting or rate a song, for example, you’re engaging with a microinteraction.
According to Creative Bloq, microinteractions are very important, but often ignored: “The difference between products we love and those we simply tolerate are often the microinteractions we have with them.”
A good microinteraction is created with an understanding of user needs and the context of use.
7. Card Design
Inspired by Pinterest, many web designers have opted to recreate the look of tiles on their website through card design. Simply put, cards are packages of interactive information. More than just appealing to the eye, cards are functional: they prompt actions, and ask users to share, pin and add comments.
Many web designers are looking towards card design because they are responsive, digestible and shareable.
8. Ghost Buttons
The use of ghost buttons was certainly a trend in 2014, but it’s not going away anytime soon. Ghost buttons are basic shapes with a transparent background, often containing light sans-serif fonts. With the proper page background and environment, these simple buttons can become the focal point of any page, grabbing user attention.
9. Bigger and Better Images
Images have always been crucial to the design of a webpage, but they’ll be taking center stage in 2015 in some interesting ways.
A major trend will be the use of images as backgrounds. Blur and color filter overlays will allow text to “float on top” without compromising usability.
Simple, bold typography elements elements combined with large images will dominate the web. Type kits, once expensive, are also becoming more affordable. There will be more freedom for designers working with a smaller budget to bring their typography skills to the web design table.