Every year, experts in the web design field predict what they think will be big in the coming year. This year, we’re seeing accessibility, typography, and a strong emphasis on the brand.
1. Branding Over Features
Branding is a core part of any online marketing strategy and should be paramount in any planning you do for any design project.
No matter what happens in web design technology, branding is the most important part of web design in 2013. All elements of the website should fully complement the business’s message and goals. Your visitors need to recognize who you are and what you do in just a few moments upon finding your site.
2. Responsive Design Is Responsible Design
This is hardly news: Mobile devices are here to stay. So whether your website visitors find you from their phones, tablets, or computers, serve those customers better by ensuring that your website is responsive. Responsive web design resizes and rearranges a website’s content to suit the exact dimensions of the device the person is using.
Responsive design is responsible design; in other words, you’re showing your website visitors that you are a modern company who is working hard from the get-go to make your information easy to follow.
3. A Few Words on Typography
Not that long ago, web designers were limited to only a few web-friendly fonts. Now, with the emergence of Google Fonts and other royalty-free, web-friendly font directories, any number of gorgeous typefaces can accentuate your content.
In 2013, you’ll see bolder, more exciting use of typography than ever before, both on business and personal websites.
4. Subtle Textures & Full Screens
A standard in 2012 as well, the use of subtle textures in backgrounds adds another dimension to the overall design of the website. Use textures in your web design to accentuate the overall purpose and attitude of the business or non-profit.
Another common trend along the same lines is the use of full-screen layouts and massive photos. These in-your-face designs are here to stay – for now – and truly showcase the personality of your brand.
5. Parallax Beautifully Combines 3D and 2D
Commonly seen in one-page designs, parallax is that funky scrolling effect where it appears that there is a background moving independently of the rest of the content of the site. Parallax designs can scroll vertically and horizontally, making the user experience exciting and interactive.
See a simple yet effective example of parallax design on our client’s website, RideBikes.net.
6. Big Buttons for Busy Fingers
With everyone tap-tap-tapping away at those mobile touch screens, text links are on the way out, making way for big buttons with lots of character. The added bonus here is that bigger buttons mean a higher rate of click-throughs.
7. A Menu That Sticks with the Scroll
People are scrolling more than ever. Vertical scrolling is expected, in fact, so use the trend to your advantage. Set up your website so that the menu moves with the visitor as they move down the page. RideBikes.net also features this look, so you can check it out in action.
8. It Looks Like I Can Reach Out and Just… Touch It
Here’s a word we hope you’ll never have to use: Skeuomorphism. But you’re already experiencing it all over the place.
Skeuomorphism is the use of design to make digital elements look like real stuff, like paper, wood, ribbons, and other objects. You’ve seen it heavily used in apps. In fact, Apple will be ramping up their use of it quite a bit in 2013 (see the iBooks app as an example).
Many of these trends are already under fire within the web design community. Skeumorphism and the overabundance of one-page parallax sites are making veteran designers groan. Their caution is noteworthy: Not every trend should be a trend, and not every trend must be followed.
No matter which of these features you would like to see on your website, make sure it makes sense for your business or non-profit and the audience you serve. A good web designer will help you define the exact technology and features that will best serve your brand and convey your message.