There are no oracles that can help us understand the future of tech industry and the corresponding changes in software and design. Instead, at ECA Technologies Inc, Designtorontoweb.ca and 2seo.com, we track the latest trends and try to predict where they’ll head. These are our predictions of growing trends over the next 12 months.
2014 is going to be a busy year. The industry predicts a year of design shifts, growing device habits, and web intake modifications- all of which will have an impact on designers and developers. We are most excited about the new potential for Responsive Web Design (RWD) as it takes hold in the market and starts to evolve to include more scope for layout and design.
Built- In responsive web design
Responsive web design (RWD) really took hold in 2012. RWD was born out of a need for web design to to be adaptive, rather than static, to accommodate the various screen sizes of devices from tablets to desktops. This responsive approach to web design is now a crucial component to all web design, especially as it relates to mobile web design. Responsive web design is the key element of a company’s mobile strategy. Say goodbye to mobile-optimized sites and native apps. RWD forces companies to design unique mobile experiences targeted towards specific customers and behaviors. The future of mobile web design is wide open and we are excited to see what innovative designs come out in 2014.
“Flash” in to the future
Flash is still the dominant format for interactive and immersive online content, and that will continue throughout 2014. HTML5 and other newer standards are quickly encroaching however, and most of the market share that Flash has is quickly being eroded. Most mobile devices don’t work with flash, and as a result other, mobile friendly, web standards are taking over. Don’t get me wrong, Flash still has its strongholds: specialized video players, banner-ads, Facebook modules, and games. As a side note, it will be interesting to see where on-line games trend. Some predict HTML5 will take over, but there is little evidence of this in the market yet. Until Internet Explorer adds WebGL support, Flash will remain the go-to technology for web 3D.
Slimmed-down, performance-dedicated websites
During 2012, standard website size crept over a megabyte. Over the past year there has been a growing trend toward leaner, fast, more efficient websites. We hope this trend sticks. Particularly we hope to see this reflected in the usage of libraries, such as online tv, movie and music libraries. Internet users are demanding faster, more reliable web services and web design needs to be there to meet this need.
2014: The year of open source.
When talent combines with generosity of spirit the result is really good open-source code. There will be a continued broadening of community device labs and open source design. We especially hope that that more web-design will be incorporated in to this open-source trend, adding beauty to really functional open-source code.
Natural Design Elements
The CSS3 specifications have brought about so many deviations in design, our personal favorite is the advances in natural design within layouts.
These elements often include rounded corners, box shadows, or background gradients with a flexible container. Five years ago, these styles would have required images to work. Today, you may design a mockup completely in-browser using only CSS3 to generate these effects. 2014 will continue to see the incorporation of these CSS properties to make your design more elegant and natural.
In the past, ECA technologies has written about big photo backgrounds as the newest trend in web design. This trend is not slowing down. In fact, it seems that this style has become the standard for new websites and portfolios looking to make a big splash with their product. Most website layouts are designed to convey a very specific feeling or emotion, based on the colors and background style. Large photographs are just one method for pushing a very specific emotion over to the clientele.
This trend is certainly not for everybody. However, if you have enough space on the page, this large background offers a pleasing aesthetic for the visitor. The biggest problem with this layout design is fitting content into the layout where it is still clearly readable. This is why the best solutions for big background photos often include landing pages.
This unique style is also perfect for design portfolios and personal websites to offer a deeper connection with your visitors. By offering large format photos, you can feature your creative work and/or offer people a personal insight in to who you are through large format images.
Minimalism in Design
White space has long been used as a designer’s secret weapon to a more minimalistic design. White space has been used for years in web design as a means to force users to focus on main content. Today, web designers continue to push the limit, finding new ways to use white space, even on content rich websites, to keep readers on their pages. Even very dense websites can utilize whitespace in smaller areas to alleviate content saturation for readers.
According to designer Ayesha Garrett, barriers to entry regarding video continue to fall, and 2014 will find a lot more of it online: “Internet speeds, including for mobile devices, are rising. Also, people with subscriptions to Adobe Creative Suite have suddenly found themselves with extra ‘free’ software, and are playing around with video packages and experimenting with After Effects.” She adds that some video trends will perhaps be less welcome: “We’ll see ongoing heavy use of the DSLR look – narrow depth of field and shake – and slow motion, because more cameras are incorporating that.”