In the constantly changing world of web design, there is a lot of pressure to stay current and relevant.
Technology is changing, and as our culture and habits adapt, different information structures and visual approaches become appropriate. A new look isn’t just skin deep: these new approaches are aimed at making sites easier to use. And when your site provides a great user experience, your brand gains value and trust from your users.
As your competitors freshen up their web experiences, you may be thinking of doing the same. To help you understand what’s happening and why, I’ve created a list of the top 3 trends that will dominate in 2014.
A few months ago Apple unveiled iOS7 and since then we’ve seen flat design become a trend. Now that almost everyone is used to working with visual interfaces, we’re making things simpler and more intuitive instead of focusing on realism to make users feel comfortable. In 2014, more designers will adopt this trend and it will become a widely used style.
Designers will be working backwards: instead of adding to the design, they will remove unnecessary elements. Gone are the days where we felt compelled to fill up every inch of white space within the browser window.
Our lives are becoming increasingly hectic, and our online and offline worlds are filled with more visual and emotional clutter. The relief and focus that negative space provides is becoming something to embrace. The new, simpler designs also allow websites to respond to different platforms more easily, again providing a better user experience.
With simpler designs, useful website content will become more important than ever. Organizations are starting to understand that updating site text is not just a one time project, it’s an ongoing effort to keep users engaged and more informed about their products and services.
Recent surveys have revealed that over 30% of users are accessing online content with mobile devices. There is no longer the misconception that users are not comfortable with scrolling. Anyone who uses Twitter or Facebook is already used to the idea. The early adopters already have longer pages on their sites.
This year, infographics emerged as a huge trend. From coffee to social media platforms, infographics were used for the visualization of data on a wide range of topics. Some have taken the time to understand the logistics of an infographic and produce only those that provide informative content for a purpose, while others have simply jumped on the bandwagon.
In 2014, we will see higher standards for the content and design of an infographic. Not only will the content be more informative, it will be interactive too. Users will be able to click on parts of an infographic to get maximum value from the data.
Here is a great example of an interactive infographic designed and developed by Google about how search works.
Are You Ready For 2014?
Now that you understand what’s happening in the coming year, the next step is to take a long look at your website. If it’s not designed for how your users want to interact with it, you may not be getting full value out of this critical part of your marketing strategy.
It’s not enough to just have a site anymore, it has to be built for how we use the web now – and in the year to come.