Editor’s Note: The Inside Track is a recurring column written by a local business professional. Authors of these columns aim to provide you with their own perspective on a current trend or development within their industry, getting you on The Inside Track.
The future is now, my friends! As one year ends and another begins it’s beneficial, and honestly kind of fun, to reflect on the web design trends of the past year and predict the trends to come. Identifying current trends and predicting new ones is an important exercise at this time of year, for a number of reasons. For one, it keeps designers from repeating old trends. Secondly, predicting upcoming trends helps to push designers to explore new directions and solutions.
Here is a collection of some trends that we can look forward to seeing in 2015.
Mobile, mobile, mobile
Mobile design will further influence web design. Over the past several years interactive design has been evolving to integrate online experiences seamlessly across all platforms. We have seen this evolution take form in multiple ways, both simple and complex, from the increasing popularity of the hamburger menu icon, to responsive design and mobile-first design approaches. We have seen firsthand the growing pains of this progression and are now at the point where we will really start to see just how web experiences can become intuitive from desktop to mobile.
Getting away from the large hero image/video
We’ve all seen them – a huge web banner with a single dominating image, front and center. Think: Uber or Apple. First off, we have to ask ourselves why hero images are so effective. Typically they are used to do two things: communicate mood/tone and give customers a slight window into a company’s values. I doubt we will ever fully depart from the hero image, but when something becomes as commonplace as this banner image has, there’s typically some kind of pendulum swing in the other direction. In this case I expect an emphasis on typography, original graphic elements, photo grids, or even bold uses of color and white space to increase in popularity as designers continue to push new ways of expressing mood and voice.
On a side note (and slight tangent), I can’t stress this enough. If you do go the way of the hero image, please use custom imagery if possible. In a recent experiment I did a reverse image search of the most popular image on unsplashed.com, a well-liked stock photo site. The results were amazing. I couldn’t believe how many different clients and customers in the same industry are using exactly the same stock image.
Material Design/simplicity over “flat”
Like most trends, this one is a backlash of a previous trend, that is, flat design over skeuomorphic design. Now that flat design has become somewhat commonplace, the pendulum swings back in the other direction. Insert intro music here… and please welcome Material Design. With Google being at the forefront of this new design trend, we will no doubt see it trickle down into more and more design concepts over the next year. Personally, I can’t wait for more drop shadows… well, tasteful drop shadows.”
Seamless URL changes
This change and trend is really exciting. Imagine a user experience that is completely seamless and immersive. NBC News is a great example of this in action. In this kind of experience users may not even realize they are going from page to page. In fact it removes the need for pages completely, offering an interaction with content that is unique to the web.