We’re two months in to 2013, yet it’s become evident what the dominant web design trends will be this year: responsive design, Retina, big text, and liberal use of HTML5 and CSS3. Based on 2012, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that last year’s emerging technologies will gain popularity this year. But what about the web design trends that aren’t well discussed? You can get ahead of the game by implementing the following web design tricks into your work this year.
1. Creative Layouts
New technology and shifts in modern web design paradigms dictate that web designers will increasingly push the envelope of what is both visually attractive and functional. Mercer Tavern, for example, makes creative use of grids on its website. And Pixel Stadium (discussed below) users click a “start” button to make the screen scroll down to the actual home page.
2. Single Page Design
More and more websites will move toward a single page design, especially service-based websites. Blogs might be housed on internal pages, but the main four pages almost every website has (home, about, services, contact) will be housed on a single page. Pixel Stadium, previously mentioned, incorporates a single page design that begins with the “start” button.
3. Flat Design
While I haven’t seen any one definition that encompasses the “flat design” trend (and this is probably because it’s still emerging and is yet to be fully defined), it can be said that flat design emphasizes single colors (no gradients), square corners and white space. This is in contrast to the previous glossy, gradient, rounded corner trend that has dominated web design for years.
Check out the following screenshot of Skype’s new homepage:
Now compare it to a screenshot of Skype’s homepage a year ago, afforded by the Wayback Machine:
4. Live Video Backgrounds
By now everyone has seen the cool Razorfish website, which features background live feeds of its worldwide offices. Other websites incorporate looping video backgrounds. I think live background video feeds will be a greater trend, especially for companies that sell an experience. Perfect examples include vacation destinations and events; live background feeds will highlight how beautiful or thrilling it is to be there, and will motivate customers.
5. Increased Marketing Personalization
This might be in the realm of coders and database geeks, but you’ll have to design for it. The more the powers-that-be track what online consumers do online, the more they’ll try to find a marketing advantage. You’ve undoubtedly noticed how much better display ads align with things you’ve recently researched; that trend will also permeate web design.
Consider this scenario: A user is researching the best sports drink. He goes from one website to the next to see which sports drink best fits his needs. On one site, however, he is instantly greeted with a visual that demonstrates why that brand is better than the very competitors he has been researching. He might even see a personalized message: “Bob, we know you’ve checked out XYZ to hydrate during your tennis leagues. Now let us show you why our brand is the best for tennis players.”
Granted, the latter scenario might be a little longer in coming, but you can take advantage now by being one of the first to adopt what is undoubtedly going to be an emerging trend later.
What do you see as emerging design trends in 2013? Let me know in the comments below!