Website design in many ways is similar to that of a fashion trend or stylistic movement. People’s tastes change and the way a site looks one day can quickly appear “outdated” in the next, purely from the quantity of other websites following the same example. In an industry where information and techniques can be rewritten overnight, it is therefore no wonder there are a collection of new (and old) web trends making their way into 2015.
Social takes a stand
With social media being such a heavy hitter in today’s web experiences and updates (Instagram now has 75 million active users a day) and people spending on average 18% of all web time on social media, it is no wonder imagery and social interaction plays such an important part in modern website design and layout. Here are some of the industry’s suggested design trends for 2015 and what we can expect in a new year of web browsing.
1. Large background images and videos
This is a trend that began gaining traction this year. New techniques and a minimal look to websites allowed businesses to show off their products or services by grabbing their users’ attention with the use of large imagery and auto play videos. (No sound please!) With people more likely to browse through engaging images and short statements than read lengthy paragraphs of text, the implementation of these “one page” and paralax websites took off.
The problem with this of course was unless you heavily customised and compressed these features for mobile users, they would pay the price with a slow and painful web experience (yes some people still only use Edge to browse websites and should not be penalised for it). With new responsive image techniques in place though and the implementation of more browser support of the tag, not to mention even better compression techniques, we will definitely see an increase in websites using these designs to create a more visual user experience.
Also worth looking at https://www.spotify.com/uk/
2. SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
Another similar trend taking off is SVG. Despite being around for years, these scalable vectors are only just making a noticeable presence in websites now because the way they are generated has improved drastically. One good example of this is the amazing FontAwesome where a variety of vectors are available for use on site when you need a graphic to scale to multiple sizes without losing quality.
Whether it’s a small mobile phone screen or the enormous smart tv screens, this technique allows for a clear and perfect representation of your graphic at multiple sizes, just as it was intended. Expect to see this used more and more as further compression techniques are used and icons and graphics become a staple in the ‘flat design” of present. A really nice example of this and other new features can be found below where Adobe created a nice little story of the “Graphical Web”.
Also worth looking at http://responsiveicons.co.uk/
3. Flat design
Flat design has been around for a while now but like background images and videos, it is gaining traction in more and more site designs. When your website has so much going on content wise, you may not want to have too many images present, instead opting to use a collection of flat colours and contrasting areas instead. This helps remove any visual clutter that may be distracting your viewers as well as allowing you to focus on what is important on your site and removing precious file size estate for your mobile users.
Obviously this will go in hand with your onsite content review. However it will certainly go towards showing off your products or services better, especially if you have spare space to then go ahead and add some neat little extras to make your website stand out.
Also worth looking at http://www.ertl-design.co.uk/
4. Slide out menus
The use of slide out menus is definitely increasing as more websites with large page content need to serve content to their mobile clients without using large mega menus that take up so much screen space. The hamburger icon (yes you have seen it before) certainly helps this to a degree. However it cannot offer the same experience as reducing a large page site down to a quality user experience using cleverly placed “slide out” menus.
If you can keep your main menu contained to a few lines and allow the internal pages and “side menus” to shine through, you not only serve the content your users require, but also reduce the infamous “scrolling” through menu items to get to the content you require.
This is certainly more helpful on mobile screens but don’t be surprised if this see a big use on desktop views and narrowing down page categories and products on large product based websites.
Also worth looking at http://grainandmortar.com/
Typography will be a big hitter next year as the availability of custom SVG fonts and Google fonts becomes more frequent and easily usable. If you are going to go for a flat designed website then most likely you will be aiming to let your font do the talking. Standing out with some unique fonts not only gives your site a personality but also can make it as unique as you want it to be. Just be sure there is always a fallback font for those moments if your server was to break or Google ever died (it’s possible but at least good practice).
Also worth looking at http://www.franzsans.de/
There is no guarantee any of these will take off. However this is the way web design is currently going and how many people are considering adopting, at least until the next trend comes along. Let’s see what next year can bring to the table, so sit back and enjoy the view for 2015.
Let us know your predictions in the comments or tweet us @BritWebLtd.