It’s that time of year again when everyone decides what the web trends for that year will be. I have done the research so you don’t have to. I’ll start off with my list…
My List O trends I would Like to See More Of and Ones I Think Should Die – 2014 Edition
simplified content and design: my motto is “get people in and out”. For many websites, users are coming for something specific. I’d like to see more streamlined experiences that allow for that, rather than the overly complex sites that now dominate.
custom icon fonts and SVG: I think these are a great way to add scalable graphics to sites that need to support IE 8 and 9. I was never a fan of sprites, so I think this is a great method of combining the core icons and graphics for a site into one tight file (assuming they are created correctly and no unnecessary icons are included to add to the file size). For those lucky enough to not have to support IE 8, SVG all the way…
even more responsive: they are just way too many popular sites and ecommerce sites that are not mobile optimized. I do an awful lot of browsing on my iPad and I cant stand having to zoom just to click on something because the site I am on refuses to make their site responsive. With more and more people browsing on mobile devices, responsive is not a trend, it is a necessity.
color, beautiful, bright, color!: my fav trend that I am seeing, and one I have been waiting for. I have been trying for years to make my sites more colorful and less corporate, and since I have bosses and clients, I generally have to sneak my happy colors in as accents. With this being a trend now, I am actually being encouraged to use more color! Yeah!!! Seriously, drop the old corporate colors and come into the light bright happy!
80 bazillion sites that all look like Bootstrap: I get it, Bootstrap is cool, it saves time and makes web development a bit easier. But please, move away from the out of the box templates and customize that mess. The majority of the web sites I have seen on “best of” lists all have the same dang layout.
giant photos as content: if that giant photo isn’t content, it is fluff, that I fricking have to download. I know it’s a trend, and those of us with bosses sometimes have to bend and be trendy, but make these pics count. And learn to optimize them for all that’s holy! Selective blur and progressive jpgs, and use something other than Photoshop to export your files (Fireworks or one of the jpg and png website tools).
forgetting IE: I know all us cool kids use Chrome or Firefox or Safari, but Joe Average most likely still uses IE, and an older version at that. It really doesn’t take that much effort to make your site at least be usable in IE 8 and 9-not doing so is just lazy and alienating. Design in terms of progressive design-cool stuff should degrade gracefully in older browsers, not keep the site from working at all.
Now let’s see what the interwebs have to say…. and what I have to say in response:
Web Design 2014: What to Watch Out For
solutions to the slicing problem: I find this one curious as I have not “sliced” an image for use for the web in years because I build things in Fireworks and export individual files rather than slicing. This article presumes web designers hand over flat photoshop files to a dev-does this still really happen??? If you are a web designer, you need to be able to build your own UI’s, other wise you are just a decorator.
significantly fewer graphic pngs: I agree with this. As we move towards more mobile everything, retina everything, we need our core graphics to be scalable. SVG is still our best hope but it does not have the support I would like yet. I will be using more custom icon fonts myself to overcome these issues.
adoption of flexbox: Man, I want flexbox, now, but since I HAVE to support IE 9, and to a large degree, IE 8, I cant go there yet. Le sigh…
an overload of video-oriented web design: this is an interesting trend, having a short informative video in place of textual content. So much more real understanding comes from this type of imagery over reading, so for certain types of sites, this is a no-brainer.
animated and responsive icons: yes, yes, yes
adoption of second screen: this trend might be fun for tv shows, but not so informational sites, at least, not that I can see yet.
easier mobile optimization: with frameworks becoming mobile first, creating mobile-optimized experiences should become easier this year, hopefully
published content without the fluff: new platforms are allowing writers to get their words out as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
Web Design Trends That Will Disappear in 2014
Oooh, let’s see if I agree…
homepage sliding banner: I think this will stick around, for some sites it is the most logical way to present featured con tent. That, and people love themselves some sliders-that’s a neutral thing.
extensive fill-out forms: I hope this is true. Long forms say “please leave this web site, thanks” to me.
circular script logos: is this an issue?
flash intros: what is this, 2002? I thought they died a long time ago…
too many fonts: maybe this will die out, but a lot of designers are still discovering Web Fonts and might not be able to drag themselves away from trying every one.
complicated design: this goes hand in hand with the current “simplify all the things” trend.
10 Web Design Trends to Leave Behind in 2014
pages, pages, pages: I guess they are pushing for more 1-page websites, which is fine for portfolio sites and smaller sites, but portals and corporate sites can’t get away with putting everything on one page, nor should they try. I do think it is time to kill “Mission” and “About” pages that are literally one paragraph-combine that mess, dangit!
ribbons: yeah, they need to die, unless your site sells ribbons, then it makes sense.
unreal stock photos: yes, please die. I despise the majority of stock photography, particularily with people in it-they always look staged and cheesy.
confusing websites with newspapers: I agree, too many columns, too tiny type, too many words…
skeumorphism: bye bye elaborate gradients and textures
ambiguous content hierarchy: all the sites should not a pinterest be, seriously
mixing fonts: I like type, but it is an art to mix them properly. I stick to one or two type families. The trend of using many disparate fonts on one site just feels like someone just found out Google Fonts was a thing.
Too many share buttons: good grief, who shares everything they read? I so hate all the social media and share glop that stands in for content nowadays…
obscure color contrast: is this a trend? If so, knock that out!
overly clever icon menus: Yes!!! Icons are supposed to provide instant recognition, so you don’t have to read the label. Too many sites are using wackadoodle icons that make you sit and go” what the hell is that?” FAIL.
Some nice lady made a groovy wall on Pinterest with 2014 design trends: http://www.pinterest.com/melissacales/2014-design-trends/