The twenty-two year old Internet is in it’s fifth generation. Generation rollover is accelerating, and so website design is experiencing more diversity than ever. 65% of small business owners have a website, leaving more than 30% without one. Of those who do have a site, some 20% update it only once a year. Bearing in mind that viewers only stay on sites which don’t engage their attention for a few seconds, the importance of good website design becomes clear.
Our research of the most popular and emerging trends in website design allows us to predict the following trends for 2012:
One-page layouts are on the rise with several variations that include: Vertical scrolling with link-embedded content, in absence of traditional navigation; Parallax scrolling; Design under the fold, where interesting content does not end above the first-visible area of the screen.
Billboard, Print and luxury Magazines designers invaded traditional web domain with striking imagery that is worth a thousand words. Variations include oversized headers taking full height of the screen, large sliders trending against flash designs (flash usage peaked some time ago, especially as many mobile devices don’t accommodate it), large background images where it does not compete with the content.
Mobile websites are no longer just text-only alternatives made available via plug-ins. Today, responsive designers create separate mobile editions of the main website with their own set of rules and technologies. Swipe-touch, no hover effects, fluid width and feel, and many different device viewport sizes. With the huge increases in the number of mobile smartphones and tablets we’ve seen already, and no signs of slowing growth in this area, mobile website design has become a critical component of most website projects. Let us show you how we can turn your site into a mobile friendly one.
This one evolved, too. It is not your old black and white layout with lots of white space and one font. New minimalist is rich and sophisticated in a subtle way. Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. Simple is Good. Minimalist design pronounces clear message, right to the point, without clutter. One-page websites are part of this philosophy.
Perspective / 3D
More designers will favour 3D designs over the more traditional desktop perspectives. We’ll see more side-shot perspectives that make the page more attractive and adhere to a more realistic view, as long as it still shows well on mobile devices. It may include rich surfaces, where applicable.
We seem to have reached agreement not to throw things that didn’t fit into the main navigation menus into the footer any longer. Fat footers are now designed for richer content, personalized experiences and desirable extras; not as overflows for the main content.
Is not going away, but it becomes more embedded in context. Interconnected with social networks, includes modal boxes with facebook sign-ups to site, sharing what you surf or watch (scary, isn’t it?), interacting with corporate sites in a game playing way.
Fairness, environment and community involvement interlaces with business models of many new startups. We are going to see more of it, in times of suppressed economical growth.
This subject has been discussed in new year trends for some time now. Makes you think that designers are yearning to distinguish themselves with funky fonts, no matter what the technology cost. Keep in mind that non-standard fonts are mostly not compatible with a diversity of Internet devices.
Slab Typefaces – all capital letters, bold and imposing, as in western’s ‘Wanted’ posters have their purpose and strong place as elements of design in the new year, but not as a main theme.
In new design elements trends, one very visible one is Quick Response, or QR codes. They are being used more, especially with their associated digital art. Taking advantage of the huge amount of information that can be crammed into the small area of the code, QR codes are popping up everywhere including on small merchandise objects, real estate, business cards, T-shirts, wearables, tatoos, and street advertising. Another visible trend is metamorphism or otherwise called mutant advertising, which is using mutant human appearances to exaggerate advertised message, which are then remembered for longer periods.
Color schemes are very utilitarian, with modern neutrals, grays accentuated with red or orange, and some blueprint inspirations. Greens reflect organic influences in references to anything environmental. Large imagery fills sites with lots of vibrant, stunning colors.
So there you have our take on website design trends for 2012 – and don’t forget that facts and opinions blur all the time: the only reality is our own.