Coming and Going Web Design Trends for 2014

Over the last couple of years we saw such a change in web design that it is unbelievable to anticipate what could possibly the next hot things. However, I have a few hunches of my own as to what trends will flourish this year and which ones will fade off. Let’s see if you would agree with me!

(Here are Reflections on Web Design Trends in 2013).

Trends that are coming

There are a few trends that are up and coming – per say – that I am actually excited about. This year the design scene will be very interesting to watch as I think there will be a bunch of changes going on making for some exciting new trends actually.

Blurred backgrounds

Thanks to the release of iOS 7 last summer, designers have been using it as a source of inspiration like crazy. One very cool trend to come out of this is the increase use of blurred backgrounds. The idea is that the interface you are currently on is overlaying the previous one, think frosted shower doors, which is why the backgrounds are blurred. It is actually a pretty cool trend as a lot of these backgrounds create pretty great looking nonlinear gradients.

Emotions of sound

Emotions of sound

Best Designed WordPress and Bootstrap Themes

Designmodo Shop

Trippeo

Trippeo

Simple animations

The one other trend that seemed to take off after iOS7 is simple animations. You see this all over websites and apps; they are subtle animations that give affordance and personality to the design. You see it in gestures, like when you move up and down the chat bubbles in Messages where the bubbles bump against one another. You also see it on click events like when you click on the navigation and instead if just bluntly appearing, it transitions to roll down. A lot of this is made possible to the widespread use of CSS animations and transitions.

Theme kingdom

Theme kingdom

Big Cartel

Big Cartel

Simple colours

Over the last year, bold and bright colors have been making a name for themselves. However, so have light and subtle color combinations that use a very light color pallets. Basically, I want you think Google when I talk about this trend. A lot of their UI use light grays and subtle sprinkle of color all over making the websites seem light and clean.

Ora ito

Ora ito

Better UX

What has been happening for a while now is increased improvement of user experience in websites. I think this will only escalade. There has been a big movement of combining user experience with business strategy in order to provide for better overall experiences on websites and apps. This is actually a quite brilliant and a smart move on any business’ part, granted that those two go together hand in hand.

Exposure

Exposure

Trail spring

Trail spring

More scrolling less clicking

Researchers have noticed is the increased preference of users to scroll rather then click (http://olivianbreda.com/click-to-scroll/). That would explain why single page websites or even just long pages have been so successful. When you combine storytelling with user experience it often gets you a long page narrative. I think that websites will keep on experimenting with that more and more. I do not mean is that these pages will only scroll on and on to the bottom of the internet; I think websites will experiment with scrolling before dividing them up into individual pages.

Folkelarm

Folkelarm

Wrap x tale

Wrap x tale

Big type

Typography has been getting a lot of attention on the web too. With the rising support of SVG icon fonts, those too have been becoming more and more popular. When I think of typography on the web, I think of big, big typefaces integrated into design. They are sleek, bold and beautiful; but there is more to that. Icon fonts are currently being revolutionized by the awesome guys from Iconic who are trying to make icons responsive.

Time Brack

Time Brack

Happy

Happy

Personal content

People do not like impersonal, especially on the web. They do not like the idea of dealing with another machine especially when it is another business. Therefore, you see start ups who put out content on their website that is personable, where they come off as an actual human being behind the company. Content is king, and it is the only way for you to connect to your audience online. You’ve got to make it personal. Make your copy and images friendly, cheeky or eccentric; this way you can let your customers connect with you.

Wondersuance

Wondersuance

Create pilates

Create pilates

Bad

On the other hand there are a few things that we will be seeing less and less of this year. It’s awesome to see design and industry trends progress actually. Don’t you think? Either way, you shouldn’t be too upset by this actually.

Poor quality photography and videos

As a designer, stock photography is always a bad idea. However, have you noticed over the last year or two that in general the quality of photos has increased? It is definitely linked to the bigger use of pictures as design elements like blown up full width and height intro headers. It’s so pleasing to think that poor quality images are slowly making their way out. The industry puts the bar very high for photo quality – as it should – because photos are part of content too where quality makes or breaks the design and company branding. I think it goes with out saying that video quality is implied throughout this statement.

FiftyThree Pencil

FiftyThree Pencil

Agst

Agst

Flat and skeuomorphism

The flat vs skeuomorphism design debate is slowly thinning out. I strongly believe that the two extremes are going to become obsolete and we will be seeing more interfaces that meet in the middle with subtle gradients and flattering shadows instead. I think the fan boys of both, flat and skeuomorphism, will have to suck it up; those are just trends and they are both coming to an end. Let’s make room for a sort of compromise between the two, if you will.

Bright Media

Bright Media

Elegant Seagulls

Elegant Seagulls

Extended forms

With the rise of minimalism and simplicity, I have noticed that forms are getting easier to fill out. This is because companies are finally listening to user researcher when they say people do not in fact like to fill out forms online. The bigger and longer the form, the least likely they are to be successfully filled out. How often have you seen forms where you don’t have to confirm your email or password in a duplicative? Whatever the amount, you’ll be seeing more of those and less of the clunky and obnoxious forms that ask for every detail of your life and your first born child just to sign up for a free email.

Treehouse

Treehouse

General Assembly

General Assembly

Paula Borowska

Paula runs a user experience blog BeingLimited and an author of an upcoming book about mobile design, the Mobile Design Book. You can connect with her on Google+.

Newsletter

15 Comments
  1. Julien Feb 17, 1:31 pm

    I’ll be interested to know how scrolling page may be good for SEO purposes.

    Reply
    +28
    • Joe Feb 18, 9:20 pm

      Julien, a question I have been wanting someone to answer for a while. I read somewhere that scrolling pages will not be good for SEO so you have to attach a blog to the site. The blog will give it the content SEO is looking for. However, what if someone’s client doesn’t necessarily want a blog for their website. How does that work?

      Reply
      -4
      • Julien Feb 18, 10:55 pm

        Yes, most part of the time when you create a website it’s to increase your website views. SEO is good when you have multiple page with different content. The only way to get good search ranking on a landing page is to mix ajax, push state and some redirect anchor.

        Of course for a big company like Adidas, Google or Apple the landing page SEO ranking is not an issue. From my dev perspective, I recommend fluid page transition with ajax instead of unlimited scrolling.

        Reply
        +9
      • lindsay Oct 7, 10:59 pm

        Scrolling sites are not the same as a single page site. You can have a scrolling site and make multiple “pages” within that single scroll using ajax and browser history at append the path to the url. You then connect your analytics to it and tell it how to look for a “page change” and bam.. You now have multiple pages that look and feel like one to the user.

        Reply
        0
  2. Jenn Feb 17, 10:54 pm

    This is a great list, Paula. I am also loving the shorter forms and higher quality photos in designs these days, and less confusing UI is always greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    +5
  3. Rahat Feb 18, 1:10 pm

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Reply
    -14
  4. Steven House Feb 18, 2:56 pm

    “per say” should be “per se”, Latin for ‘in itself’ as you probably knew. Apologies for the pedantry.

    Reply
    +5
  5. Jeremiah Easter Feb 18, 9:37 pm

    Hi – good list, but I think I’ll have to disagree on your statement “stock photography is always a bad idea”. I’m a creative director, and while I’ve certainly seen my share of bad stock photography choices, there is still a ton of value in stock photography. It can and is used effectively by designers everyday.

    Reply
    +12
    • Alexis Feb 20, 1:30 am

      Agreed – there can be some real gems found in stock libraries, you just have to look beyond the Girl Wearing Headset images…

      Reply
      +6
  6. Steven House Feb 18, 11:59 pm

    escalade = a scaling or mounting by means of ladders, especially in an assault upon a fortified place

    Reply
    +2
  7. Simon Feb 21, 11:58 am

    I agree with the comment about stock photography. Being a freelancer I work mostly with small and medium businesses, most of which do not have the budget to have professional photographers do specific shoots to get a shot I need. I think stock photography is definately increasing in quality.

    Reply
    +7
  8. hanna mathilde Feb 25, 11:23 pm

    I’m kind of tired that every website now looks the same and that it’s just one page that I can quickly scroll down and then I’m finished. Also using big images and lots of functions takes ages to load!

    So many sites look good, but I have noticed that studio websites make the sites pretty crazy, and it’s then really hard for potential clients to understand what to do – that’s not good design I think..

    Reply
    +12
  9. cybatx Jul 11, 9:00 pm

    Do you know, you’re actually referring to the windows 8 design guidelines… Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a mac guy, but Microsoft’s UX and UI is far beyond. Apple copies them, designers copy apple. Simple as that.

    Reply
    0

Leave a Reply

*
* Minimum length: 20 characters