Looking back at 2014, we can see some spectacular trends emerging in the web design landscape: code-free design platforms, parallax effects, single-page websites, and many more.
While many design trends are fleeting, a select few are natural evolutions of the industry. As the range of devices on which we view websites continues to grow, designers must constantly adapt their workflow to meet the dynamic changes that are occurring in web design.
To discover which trends will flourish over the next year, I asked members of the design team at Webydo, a professional website design platform, to share their top 7 killer web design trends for 2015.
1. Typography Will Be Flexible
Part of this content focus is a stronger effort to present the written word according to emerging typographic principles.
The reality is that type on the web is very different from type in print, and in 2015 we’ll finally shed the last of the old-fashioned thinking that’s kept text looking too small and squeezed together on many major sites.
This is nothing new, as the concept has been discussed since 2006, but the design community has been slow to adapt. It’s hard to let go of principles that have guided design for many years.
There are three major aspects that affect the readability of type on the web:
- Type Size
- Column Width
- Line Height
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that larger text sizes are conducive to easier reading on the web. Designers have already begun to implement responsive typography alongside responsive images and structures in their designs. It is crucial for text to always look its best, regardless of platform.
2. The Decline of Web Coding
There’s always been a division of labor in web development: designers craft the look and feel, then coders step in to make it work. This process is changing as the tools for web design become smarter, more capable, and more ambitious.
Today, designers can create websites without touching a single line of code, taking advantage of the same powerful features of their graphic design software and outputting W3C validated, clean code.
This marks a huge paradigm shift, one that lowers the barrier to entry for designers who now have a streamlined option for building and deploying modern, professional websites for their clients.
As they focus on the quality of their design, the evolving algorithms behind their platform of choice evolve to ensure that all their work remains current. There will always be a place for dedicated web coders, but that place is transitioning away from the realm of front-end work.
3. The Evolution of Responsive Design
Only a few years ago, making a site “responsive” merely required that it work on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. With smart watches, TVs, and home appliances booming, the definition of responsive design is expanding rapidly.
While each platform has its unique challenges, tablets and smartphones have very familiar interaction systems and the main problem has been ensuring that content is appropriately sized and easy to navigate.
But on a smart watch, for example, even the navigation system has to be completely rethought to accommodate how we use the device. Watches won’t be able to use smartphone site designs, and a site optimized for desktops won’t necessarily work when viewed on a smart TV.
Solutions to these new problems will take some time to emerge, but, by the end of 2015, the sheer breadth of the smart device market will force web designers to adapt their techniques.
4. Flat Design will Conquer Every Pixel
After emerging in separate parts of the industry—in Microsoft’s UI language, in Google’s new Material Design guidelines, and in Apple’s new aesthetic direction—the flat design trend is in full bloom.
While some have argued that there are issues with flat design in the realm of user interfaces, the general consensus is that it’s a favorable technique for web design.
This has to do with the way we consume content on the web, as well as the technology behind serving webpages. Flat design lends itself to minimalist principles, which in turn results in sites that are lean, clutter-free, fast, and content focused.
This is not only an attractive aesthetic, it’s also a very practical one, allowing visitors to engage with content and appreciate it without distractions.
5. Bigger = Better for Images
It’s not only text that’s getting larger on the web: images are too!
There used to be important limitations to keep in mind for serving images because of limited bandwidth, but this is less and less of a problem as time goes on. As a result, large images have taken the internet by storm.
In 2015, images will take centre-stage in interesting new ways. Fascinating techniques will emerge for responsive resizing, extracting dominant colours for backgrounds, and optimizing images for minimum server load.
Additionally, a major trend in 2015 will be the use of images as backgrounds. Blur and colour filter overlays will allow text to “float on top” without compromising usability.
As designers come to terms with being able to use huge images in their designs, you can expect to see them making an appearance more and more often!
6. Revamped Scrolling Animations, Parallax Effects and Microinteractions
Perhaps the most impressive trend is, of course, parallax scrolling animation.
We encounter it everywhere, even on major sites like some of the product pages of Apple and Google. The results speak for themselves: engagement on sites with parallax scrolling effects can improve by as much as 70%!
Using scrolling instead of clicking as a navigation technique is brilliant on several levels. It requires less page loading, but more importantly, it makes it easy to craft smooth transitions from point to point with no jarring refreshes. Information keeps flowing.
In 2015, we can expect to see more designers taking the parallax plunge and incorporating this element into their designs.
7. The Dawn of Webgraphics
As a visual species, we tend to internalize information better when we see it presented in a graphical manner, which resulted in the popularity of infographics. Infographics provided an easy way to convey large amounts of information with a high degree of retention.
A new trend has emerged. Webgraphics! Much like infographics, webgraphics convey large amounts of information, but involve elements that allow the user to physically interact with the information. They are more visually appealing than infographics and significantly increase retention with the user.
In 2015, designers will find that more clients will demand interactive webgraphics as part of a personalized design. You can expect to see webgraphics rise in popularity and establish themselves as a major component of modern web design.
Looking to the Future
Web design trends come and go, but the creative ingenuity of designers is what propels change in web design standards. Designers are responsible for transforming ideas into trends and trends into standards.
The design trends, listed here, are rapidly becoming commonplace in web design and will find an even greater acceptance in the coming year.
Websites not utilizing these elements will surely be left for dead in 2015!
Let us know, in the comments, any additional trends that you believe should be included and will be prominent in 2015!
At first I thought “The Decline of Web Coding”? How on earth are you going to write an interactive web app without coding?
Then I saw this post was sponsored by Webydo.
You should feel embarrassed for this shameless ad disguised as a blog post.
Nils +1 from Italy too.
Nils: +1 from a web developer (I really would like to know how people at Webydo will do without their developers!)
Yea. And you know what. It is Adobe, who promotes this blog post as well: https://twitter.com/EdgeAnimate/status/542774113937268736
Nil, same thing I thought…decline of Web coding…yeah…everything is magical lol.
Thank you for your feedback. Although this article was labelled as “Sponsored”, I hear your concern. We completely agree with you that coding will never be replaced. What Webydo is trying to do is help designers, who don’t know how to code or feel that they are forced to code, to focus on what’s important for them – the creative aspect of web building. Hope that helps answer your concern. If you want, I’ll be happy to discuss it further. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[This comment response brought to you by Webydo – 2014’s answer to Dreamweaver.]
Nice read; however, I hope you are very wrong about 2. The Decline of Web Coding, I am a designer and love to code my sites! Everything else, I agree with, and we are starting to use it now. I’m happy about the 2015 web world, cool share.
#2 is just something we have noticed. We absolutely do not want to see a decline of coding and we truly believe that developers still have a huge role to play in the development of the internet and interactive websites. If you enjoy coding the websites you design, we are completely behind you on that! We’d also love to see some of your design/development work. Send us some examples to email@example.com!
Cannot agree more – as a designer I enjoy coding and love my daily tasks to consist of both. Also, you have a better control over the design by knowing little bit of code… every web designer should know some front end development as well.
Not convinced by parallax. I think this one will fade, not least because there do appear to be issues with motion sickness like responses to it.
The image one is interesting. Although bandwidth restrictions are being lifted for SOME consumers, they’re still in place in low cost packages and the developing world. Rather than bigger images better use of images may be a more appropriate trend to catch on later in 2015.
With Parallax, it definitely might be a short lived trend, but its a trend never the less. From our end, we are starting to see Parallax expand and it is being requested increasingly more by average, everyday businesses for their websites.
The point you make with images is VERY interesting. You make an incredibly valid point regarding bandwidth proliferation and the developing world, but unfortunately, this generally does not play much into designer/clients minds when building sites. They all want captivating, aesthetically pleasing designs…and what better way to grab people’s attention then to show large images
I believe it will be interesting to reevaluate all of this at the end of 2015 and see what held true.
If businesses/designers do not care about performance, then maybe you should have added another trend – “The obliteration of performance standards”. Also, as a designer turned developer, it’s incredibly presumptuous of you to presume that designers/businesses don’t care about site performance. But hey, I called biased BS on this when I reached #2…
There’s one thing that may stop the ‘decline of web coding’ in its tracks. And that’s if accessibility starts being enforced. It’s already legally required in many countries but in practice doesn’t happen much or well.
With a properly trained coder it’s possible. With most out-of-the-box software, it isn’t. (You also need trained content providers, but that’s another story.)
Possibly the biggest incentive to it happening is when the commercial world wakes up to the fact that there is a HUGE audience of potential customers they are missing out on because they are putting the look-and-feel before universal usability. Ironically, you can still have a great looking site that is also accessible. Maybe when a Fortune 500 company gets some people with vision impairments or motor neurone issues into their boardroom, and they can’t use the company’s own website to order stuff.
Thanks for the interesting article – I’m a design student who is a late bloomer and just learning about what is possible in this world – particularly the web design world. I did not take your comment regarding decline of coding to mean we would live without Web Coding as how could it be possible to not have someone code anything on the Web – someone’s gotta do it. I think it’s not personal – I think what you’re saying is that there may be a clearer line between being a designer and a coder/developer in the future……..I take my hat off (if I had one on) to those who can code all these devices we run and use every day – you are true heros of our technology and no one can take your place ever. Only some are gifted with this type of mind.
Very Informative articles for us as a website design company .
Can you tell me where you got this stat?
“engagement on sites with parallax scrolling effects can improve by as much as 70%!”
1. Typography Will Be Flexible, The letters “w” and “a” are reversed on Oswald’s “Strawberry”.
The decline of web coding is dependent on what end of the market your at. For small business, paying someone to write custom code is crazy. I have sent many small companies to theme sites telling them to pick a theme and I then set it all up in a couple of hours. Personally I cannot stand doing repetitive work on these types of sites.
However, I also have jobs where bigger companies require third party integrations, or other unique functionality. They do not have time to waste on hacking templates or visual coding tools to meet their needs. Some I’ve dealt with recently have totally scrapped (often bloated) templates in favor or genuine work tailored to very specific requirements
Nice list! I agree, there would be many changes in web design during this year. The most strong trends I think would be responsive design as well as responsive typography as a part of it. With the announcement of Google material design, flat design which is very similar will become even more popular than now. Also, I would like to share with you this article on trends 2015 http://bit.ly/1JNKpdF, it adds to your list well.
thanks for sharing this amazing list with us.
this is very important for me. Responsive web designing is a crucial part of web designing.
website designing to development each part should be responsive.I like your concept.
I have searched some responsive websites and I found website designing company in delhi it is really amazing.
Nice ideas, thanks for sharing
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Good article, but, where can we find the researchs about how can we improve the engagement in 70%? Do you have any article or post about this subject?