I'm obviously far too young to recall the fifties, but that's when this thing called the internet really began. I believe the first email ever sent from a lab in California offered a new libido medication, followed by a cute video of a kitten playing with a ping pong ball.
1982 … still a bit before my time … was when the TCP / IP protocol was standardized, which is more or less when we can say that the internet as we know it really took shape. Prior to that kids tended to play outdoors. I mean real outdoors, not virtual outdoors.
But just because this technology has been around for quite a while does not mean it stands still, and over the years web based technologies, standards and protocols are constantly being developed and improved. This year we're seeing several new, revived or improved approaches, and so in this post I'm choosing what I consider to be the top 6 web design trends of 2013.
1. Fixed Header / Navigation Bars
This feature allows visitors to your site to scroll down the entire page while still having full access to the website navigation. Its great for browsing a site with the option to leave and visit another page at any point and will see people browsing more of the pages your site has on offer.
You can see an example of this on my own homepage.
2. Simple Landing Pages
Creating a slick landing page online is all about showing off your products or services. The best way of doing this is to stick to a simple design, drawing as much attention as possible to your core products.
3. Infinite Scrolling
Facebook and Pinterest both do it, and a growing number of savvy web designers are too. Rather than slowing everything down by preloading a mammoth amount of content, infinite scrolling loads content in response to scrolling.
This means that you do not have to break content over multiple pages, and you're more likely to keep people on page for longer. The more you scroll down, the more content is loaded below.
Infinite scrolling is a great feature to use on both gallery and blog websites.
4. Responsive Design
A few years ago it was unusual for anyone to browse the web using anything other than a desktop browser. These days though more browsing takes place using portable devices than desks.
From mobiles to tablets, screens sizes, screen dimensions, resolutions and technologies are immensely varied, and to ensure maximum audience interest it is essential to make sure your website can be seen by everyone easily.
A responsive layout is one which adapts the appearance of the site, including its layout, content organization and navigation, in response to the type of device being used to access it.
5. Flat Web Design Trend
Flat web design for those of you who are not sure what this means is web designs without drop shadows, textures and gradients.
For the past few years drop shadows, textures and gradients have stayed pretty much on top of the web design trends lists but this year we are waving hello to a cleaner look with color blocks and typography playing a major role.
6. What about color in web design trends I hear you say …
As a female freelance web designer working in the world of web I am really loving the use of bright color blocking, If used correctly it can really make a website stand out in the crowd, but be careful not to go to far with it, keeping it simple works best with color blocking.
Dark colors like black, dark brown and dark gray are popular among web designers, they are often used to draw attention to important content. Darker colors have often been used to promote luxury brands but can also be used to create an edginess to your website.
I do not see these 6 trends as being exhaustive by any means, and I do not see them as being the only major trends this year will see. In fact my personal prediction is that responsive design will develop beyond being responsive, and instead will evolve into designs which are more adaptive than responsive.
By which I mean that rather than changing the appearance of the site in response to the technology being used to view it, the site will adapt to fit the screen in a way which retains the familiar appearance, but offers a clean, readable view.
Then again, we may even see 3D browsing, websites which responds to where you're looking, and websites you can control, rearrange and organize yourself.
Who knows, but one thing's for sure, I'm looking forward to the future of online design!