Web Design Trends 2014

Web design can not be rephrased as website design now a days. This particular term involves many techniques and set of skills. This includes HTML and CSS coding, graphic design, etc. along with some other specific technology. This is a continuously emerging and improving area of web development. Web design trends change very frequently to deliver the best and most friendly environment that benefits to the end user experience.

As the year 2014 is already near to its last quarter, it’s a good time to review the web design trends 2014 has. Web designers had a great time till now with lots of new ideas. Some of the ideas didn’t worked well, some of them really made a big impact in designing techniques, some of them still getting polished and refined by designers worldwide. Typically what happens, the ideas and techniques that delivers better impact to end user experience remains in the market, while the other gets sunk after a period of time. That’s why it’s called trends 🙂

So let’s review what web design trends 2014 we have so far.

Web design trends 2014 and Topmost Ideas

Below are some trending techniques that need to be followed while designing an website.

Typography and typefaces:

Now fonts are not the only purpose of writing text contents. Fonts represent much more than text content. It should have its own standpoint. Many web designers are saying goodbye to typical font faces like Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, Helvetica, etc. In the web design trends 2014, typography and different typefaces became mainstream and serious consideration for representing company slogans, focus phrases. This way on a web page some of the phrases or sentences have their own personality, not the content or text only.

Designers are using different fonts to showcase the focus point contents. Now a days many high quality eye catching fonts are available either free or in affordable prices. Google fonts are one of the vastly used typefaces. This fonts exposed our intent to all sorts of typography that has major impact in web designer’s font usage and expectation.

Flat design concept:

Flat design is a concept that helps to keep the web page simple, clean, and still very modern. This involves specific techniques for using minimalist design elements. Flat design concepts deliver great sense, better use of the white spaces, and smooth user experience. Some techniques of flat design consist of ideas like dropping unnecessary drop shadows in elements, excluding the use of gradients, changing rounded cornered elements to the square. In simple words, making the elements flatter rather than 3D. This specific technique is one of the best web design trends in 2014.

Apple took the lead of flat design concept from the introduction of iOS7 but in my humble opinion some credits need to go to Microsoft as well as they introduced the same concept a long ago with the launch of Windows 8.

Mobile responsive and fluid layout:

This is an established concept of web design trends 2014. No doubt about it. The smartphone user are increasing day by day worldwide. So it is creating an automated demand of mobile responsive website. It is a true fact that smartphone users will generally use their handheld device to surf through the sites. So this consistently increases the requirement of responsive designs. Some basic techniques like viewport zooming or media queries are used to achieve the goal. But web design trends 2014 demands much more from a responsive website. Like reducing some contents or turning a less important block as a whole.

Matt Cutts of Google said Responsive design just means that the page works totally fine whether you access for site URL with a desktop browser or whether you access that URL with mobile browser. Things will rescale, the page size will be taken into account.

For SEO value, he states responsive design is the smarter way to go for SEO, primarily because you can have issues when creating a mobile version of the page if you aren’t implementing it correctly. So this is also an unique concept of web design trends 2014.

Cutts also said In general, I wouldn’t worry about a site that is using responsive design losing SEO benefits because by definition you’ve got the same URL. So in theory, if you do a mobile version of the site, if you don’t handle that well and you don’t do the rel=canonical and all those sorts of things, then you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages. But if you have responsive design then everything is handled from one URL, so the PageRank doesn’t get divided, everything works fine.

Landing page HTML5 video:

Many websites now a days uses large HTML5 video in the intro area or home page of the website. This is a great concept web design trends 2014. Whatever you do, video is the most interactive content in the world. And if that is going to be the first viewable section for a visitor, that is surely going to do the trick. Videos must be meaningful, reasonable in length, not too short and and too long, can have little overlay contents as well. Also need to keep in mind the video load time. If user has to wait a lot to see the first section of a page, that is going to be a negative impact. One of the good example of this is http://intothearctic.gp/en/

Large hero area:

This is one of the most trending concepts of web design trends in 2014. It is called a hero image as well. The large hero area is basically the intro area of the website often build with a large blurred image in the background having a small amount of heading text over it. You can say it a large banner image. This should be the topmost part of the website. Hero areas mainly replaced the concept of having large sliders at the top of a website. Hero areas may contain small HTML5 animations.  It is generally placed below the main navigation area of the website. Hero areas are the first visual of a visitor and are mainly used to quickly catch the attraction of a visitor to the site’s main focus point. One of the great examples of this is Apple’s own website.

Drop of sidebar concept:

Many websites, specially blog or magazine type sites, include sidebar in the webpage. Sidebar provides quick access to some important sections like post archives and other meta data. But in the web design trends 2014 many designers are experimenting by dropping the sidebar from the page. Specially from the front-page of the site. Inner pages may contain meaningful sidebar contents. The main concept behind this is, front-page of a site is the most important page. Visitors land to that page and this page contains the most important heading, slogan etc. So it is a good idea to leave that page on itself rather distracting the visitor’s mind by showing crowded content in the sidebar. This seems to be a promising concept of web design trends 2014 but still not well established.

Sticky main navigation:

The main navigation bar of  a website is the main access point to all the key pages. If a page is long enough to scroll down 3-4 times and the navigation menu gets disappeared, 80% of the visitors will not be going scroll back up to reach to the menu again. They will simply drop off the page. So as per web design trends 2014 it’s a good idea to keep the nav bar sticky so that it always remains in the viewport and the visitor always has the option to check other key pages.

Parallax scrolling:

Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique in modern web design. This technique makes the scroll experience more interesting rather than boring. In parallax scroll, the background images move slower or at a different pace than the foreground images or content. This makes the illusion of 2D animation and makes the user experience better. This is one of the most trending concepts of web design trends in 2014. There are lots of javascript libraries available online to achieve this feature. One of them is Steller.js.

HTML5 native drag-and-drop, interactive and smarter transitions of elements:

http://slaveryfootprint.org/ is one of the good example and self explanatory site for this web design trend 2014. Now a days it doesn’t stands good when the elements in a page is static and it’s already in their places. The main moto behind this is to keep the visitor on the page. The way is very simple. Do not make the visitor feel bored, rather keep his or her interest up. Little but smooth animations, interactive appearance of the elements, glide in, fade out, etc. are the real tricks behind this. Your page is same, content is same, elements are same. Only difference is the entry or appearance of the elements.

Front-end frameworks:

There are many javascript front-end frameworks available nowadays. Many of them are for target audience oriented and others are specialized for web app development. Like bootstrap and foundation are good for generic front-end site development. Whereas ExtJS or Dojo Toolkit is focused on web app development. There are many other libraries for different purposes and almost all of them are useful. Like Angular.js, Ember.js, Backbone.js, etc. Some of these are MVC based and some are modular. There are also server-side JS as well, i.e. Node.js. So using javascript frameworks is also another growing idea of web design trends 2014.

Long scrolling single page site:

By analyzing page visits, on page session data, and several split tests, web design trends 2014 revealed that visitors are more comfortable scrolling a long site than jumping through different pages using a navigation menu. Sometimes there are main navigation areas on the page and clicking on each menu item smooth scroll the page up or down to focus the area designated for that menu item. Also during scroll, when each section reached, the respective menu item is focused automatically. Some years back, the long scrolling page concept was there. But during that time it was fully content-oriented. As per the web design trends 2014, long scrolling pages came back. But with better use of white spaces and a more organized way of representing content. This doesn’t bore the visitor while scrolling through the page. During scroll, each frame contains an almost new type of format or layout, but still consistent.

One of the example of a good long scrolling page is the Divi Theme page.

Conclusion:

Though there are many more to add for web design trends 2014, but the most trending concepts are described above. There is one simple thumb rule. You are creating a website to reach upto an audience. What’s the benefit if you can’t keep majority of that audience to your pages and they don’t come back again! Here come the above concepts which gradually makes a very nice looking, neat & clean, yet very interactive website and keeps the visitor engagement for larger time.

Trends don’t stay for a long period. Once 2015 comes, after the first quarter, more new ideas will come up. Some will overtake some concepts of web design trends 2014 and some concepts will carry on. So once it’s time, another trend will start for web designing.

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