One of the biggest attractions of the Internet is that it changes so rapidly and there’s seemingly something new emerging every month. This presents a unique challenge for website designers, who have to stay abreast of the latest innovations and preferences while continuing to provide excellent service to their clients.
Gazing into the crystal ball for the coming year, here are the top five Web design trends for 2013.
1. Less is more – but larger is better. Back when television was first introduced, people would watch literally anything (even a test pattern) because the technology was so new and awe-inspiring. Similarly, Web users were once fascinated by all of the animation and snazzy graphic elements.
But today, these people have progressed to the point where they aren’t wowed by visual buzzers and whistles. They only appreciate sites that present information clearly and concisely, and around which they can easily navigate. So minimalism is becoming a frequently-embraced concept in website design.
But users still like to think – and see – big. So even though oversized type and images with a minimalist approach might seem counterintuitive, it is becoming palatable for end users.
2. Embrace the white space. This is somewhat of a subset of the “less is more” approach mentioned above. It’s the notion that empty spaces on a Web page are not being thought of as evil chasms that must be filled with text or images. Rather, white space is simply a function of a simpler, cleaner look on websites that will be created in 2013. This space serves to prioritize the site elements and clarify the visual composition of the site itself. For designers who favor background texturing, it will still be acceptable as long as it remains unobtrusive.
3. More fonts, more color. Thankfully, Google’s font library is now supporting hundreds of options for the creative Web designer, thus freeing them from the shackles of repetitive Arial or Times New Roman usage. Therefore, more and more designers are experimenting with their typography choices, and this trend is expected to continue through 2013 (admittedly with varying results).
Similarly, color palettes are getting a workout on modern Web pages, and that won’t be changing anytime soon. That said, one popular choice for text and page backgrounds alike is gray. It seems to depict a stylish, cutting-edge feel, which is consistent with the goals of Web designers and their clients.
4. Full-page backgrounds and single-page layouts. Okay, this sort of goes against the “pro-white space” guideline seen in #2 – but if Web designers (or clients who want to “think outside the box”) do wish to get creative, the background is the place to do it. Assembling an eye-catching background for a home page while still allowing text to be easily readable will be a common challenge faced by designers in 2013.
In addition, HTML5 can provide unmatched animation capability, which lends itself well to the construction of single-page web site layouts. Though this approach may not catch on among the corporate crowd, it will become fashionable for individual pages and Web portfolios.
5. Heightened interactivity and responsive Web designs. As previously stated, today’s users value sites that they can navigate more efficiently, which places a premium on interactivity. So there should be an uptick in features such as drop-down menus, roll-over mouse movements, animated buttons, and even translucent images – all of which allow users to find what they need quickly and easily.
Also, users are surfing the Web on their mobile devices more so than ever before. This places a high premium on responsive Web designs, which makes the sites equally as appealing on all screen resolutions. And in the future, clients whose websites are not mobile-friendly will increasingly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes about topics ranging from information technology to consumer finance to home improvement.