As part of the R2i creative team, it is our job to keep up to date on the latest design trends. Here’s our extensive preview of what to look out for this year in the web design and UX world.
Everyone knows you only have seconds to get your visitor interested in your site. With the convenience of technology and speed of the Internet, we’ve all gotten better at the art of impatience. Today’s web user is in a hurry, expecting more in less time.
This year’s design trends all aim to deliver more in faster and faster time. Design is ever evolving to perfect that happy harmony between content and web experience. And here’s how it’s happening in 2014 – more storytelling, more seamlessness, and more aesthetics:
Designers are using the power of storytelling to get messages across quickly and concisely. Here are some of the storytelling trends we’re seeing:
Use Less Text
Instead of long columns of copy, websites like Square are using other devices and shorter text to tell more powerful stories. Background video, beautiful imagery, and parallax are all handy tools in good web storytelling.
When choosing photography, designers aren’t shying away from the real thing. No more stock photos or supermodel Photoshopped images. Web users want real people they can relate to. Peak does a great job of using employee portraits to create an approachable and friendly company identity.
Break details down into small sections that are easy to scan and read. The faster you can get the visitor to read your content, the better. Scytale provides very brief descriptions and uses icons to break up the sections.
Let the users roam and explore your site by using tools like parallax. Google’s infographic gives the user plenty of visual surprises, while letting them control the pace. However, be careful not to use parallax unless it truly supports your message. Like any trend, it works best if it is used both for form and function.
Simplicity is a major concern for the web user. They’re looking for simpler web experiences and seamless transitions from desktop to mobile. This is how it’s being done in 2014:
Don’t pull the user away from the page, if you can implement simple overlays or tooltips for more content. Coffee Cava lets the user hover over the specific areas for more information. A simple solution for a seamless user experience.
We are seeing more caption overlays on image heavy sites. NOWNESS lets visitors get the full visual impact of the photography, while giving easy access to captions simply by hovering over each photo. The copy is still there, just neatly stowed away until needed.
This trend has been very popular and will continue to be this year. The Case 3D website allows users to enjoy the imaginative transitions between content areas without leaving the page.
Designers are merging mobile UX with desktop interfaces. On frog design’s site, the navigation bar sticks to the top, but cleverly minimizes to the icon version as the visitor scrolls down, something often seen on smartphones and tablets. Web interaction is becoming more uniform across all devices, which makes for a more seamless experience.
Who said that a search field must be present? The ubiquitous magnifying glass universally signifies search, so designers have minimized the search field when idle. The Fi blog saves real estate by keeping the search field minimized when not in use. But hover over the icon and you’re in for a BIG surprise.
Don’t forget that forms need better design, too. More intuitive labeling as seen in the Floating Label allows for better use of space and form comprehension.
The grid has made it much easier for designers to move from desktop to mobile formats, like in this Google Science Fair site. As the playing field between the two sides evens out, we’ll see more grid-based layouts to accommodate the visitor moving from device to device.
The web is looking a lot cooler and more sophisticated than even just a few years ago. Just as mobile and desktop experiences are mixing, so is web and print. In 2014, you’ll see a lot of design trends taking inspiration from the print world and innovations in technology.
There is something satisfying about controlling how something moves across your screen. Fast or slow, up or down, parallax scrolling allows the user to seize control of the experience and play on the web. This National Geographic site creatively uses this new technology to tell two intertwined stories.
Told you print was showing up on the web! Designers are (thankfully!) moving away from web safe fonts only. With the use of tools like Typekit, typography is getting more visually appealing. Mixd implements beautiful type throughout their site making all the content reader-friendly.
No more skeumorphism, that overuse of gradients and bevels to make things look real. 2014 is ushering in a simplified color palette and design aesthetic. Icons and flat colors are effectively used in Kickpoint’s website. These design simplifications allow for quicker load time and a cleaner look making the web a more inviting place.
Illustrators used to just be part of the print world. But their custom creations on the web are making sites more unique and inviting. Cyclemon presents a whimsical way to showcase bicycles.
Bigger and more beautiful images on the web take you back to the full-bleed spreads seen in magazines. Vilebrequin evokes that print feel by carefully choosing editorial style photography.