1) Responsive Design
This is an obvious one for most people that are tech savvy and have a strong understanding of where the web is heading. However, most websites are still not mobile friendly and responsive. If you consider that 40% of SMB’s do not even have a website, think about the ones that do. Most of them are outdated and way behind the mark when it comes to responsive functionality, so this trend is going to continue to pick up steam as more businesses realize its importance. As you can see below the number one Themeforest theme is responsive, of course, as are most of the other popular themes.
2) Fixed Menus
Having a static menu can be a great feature for sites with a lot of pages to navigate. With sleek and clean cut design paving the way in 2013, having a simple small header navigation that can be accessed at any time without having to scroll back up to the top of the page will help users find what they want faster. This fixed menu on the new Boston Muffler Brake & Automotive site we designed at Trellis is easy to use and does not get in your way.
3) Multi Section and Longer Pages
Longer and deeper pages that tell a narrative about your company, product, or services are a trend we see continuing and really maturing in 2014. MOZ redesigned there website in mid 2013 and have some great examples of the effectiveness of long multi sectional pages with different backgrounds and styles providing a story about their new product MOZ analytics. This example below is just a small section of the MOZ overview of their new product, but if you go to the page you will see how long and in depth the entire page is for yourself.
I will be honest, as an SEO guy it took me a long time to really come to terms with this trend and why it was important. When your job is to achieve high rankings, having fewer pages and overall content is tough to swallow but if you can find a balance you will achieve SEO success and great conversion rates. Minimalistic design has really taken off as frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation are perfect for building a clean, simple, and responsive website without the clutter that used to be common on old school flash or other outdated asp.net sites. Minimalism works on the web because you only have a few seconds to grab a user’s attention, therefore guiding them to one or two things that really stand out and are most important for your business, rather than cluttering the page with everything you can think of will lead to the best possible results for your website. As you can see from the Prestige Kitchen & Bath top of the homepage that we designed for them, the minimilistic design really showcases their level of quality without a lot of content. The background image as one of their kitchens, a simple menu, the logo, and a bold header is all that is needed to get the message across when you first come to their website.
Now this really isn’t a design trend in that Ajax is much more a programmers dream than a designers, but using ajax to have things load onto the page without actually loading a new page is an amazing power to have in your web arsenal. eCommerce sites that use Ajax add to cart and other websites that find ways to use this feature can add awesome user friendliness to a site without forcing the user to reload the page. Check out this new Midnight Munchies add to card feature that we built on their new eCommerce store.
There are thousands of web fonts available and with the ability to import almost any font into your CSS code websites are not more flexible than ever when it comes to finding the right font. Google web fonts has hundreds of free open source fonts, and companies like Typekit by Adobe are making more and more fonts accessible by the day.
7) Modal Windows
A simple popup window to capture login information or an email is a trend that is continuing to grow, especially as more and more companies are realizing the importance of collecting email addresses or building some sort of login for their customers.
8) Content Strategy
With the web becoming so interactive, personal, and multi-device oriented you have to design a content strategy that targets your specific audience. This means your website design must be built around the content and content strategy you want to implement to properly engage the demographics and types of people you want as visitors of your website.
9) Textured Backgrounds with Flat Icons, Graphics, and Colors
Textured backgrounds with simple colors that stand out are driving design because of their user friendly ability to stand out on a web page. You do not need much of a drop shadow when you can have a really bold and powerful texture that contrasts with sharp graphic icons, graphics, fonts and other colors.
10) Large and Bolder Headings
Large and bolder headers stand out and grab the user’s attention. At the end of the day, you only have a little bit of time to get that visitor to be interested in your website and business. If the message you need to get across can be summed up in one simple header it is a great opportunity to make it as bold and in your face as possible, without being too annoying of course.