Web design, by its nature, is one of the fastest-evolving of all disciplines. Even a couple of years ago, it would have been hard to predict the trends in late 2014, but it’s probable that some current tendencies will continue to be big in 2015.
It was easy when most people saw your website on a desktop or laptop, but it’s predicted that in 2015 more than half of users will be browsing on a mobile device. It’s no longer good enough for the site to look just adequate on a smartphone or tablet, and the number of devices is increasing — smart watches, Google Glass and smart TV, and there’ll probably be more by this time next year. It’s essential today for a website to respond automatically for perfect display on the screen being used.
Traditional websites rely on the user clicking each page, but loading times, especially on a mobile device, can be inconvenient. With Google using site speed as a ranking factor, scrolling sites are becoming more popular, allowing the user to follow the site’s storytelling without transitions. Parallax design is the effect where the active content slides over the background. Scrolling can make SEO more difficult, but by no means impossible. We think that scrolling “journey” pages are here to stay but be careful with the parallax effect, we predict that it could become unfashionable as quickly as it became fashionable, and this could leave your website looking dated.
Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Apple’s iOS7 introduced us to flat design, a minimalist style of design that eschews 3D effects in favour of simple shapes and contrasting colours. With Google’s Material Design guidelines and Microsoft’s UI language recently released, this style seems to be the coming look. Besides allowing for uncluttered webpages, sites designed flat tend to be much faster loading, which can only be an advantage on a mobile device.
Finding the right size and font for text is crucial for a website’s look, but in the past creative fonts have been expensive, and designers have tended to stick with the workhorses like Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica. Things are changing, especially since Google released their free set of web fonts, and services like Adobe’s Typekit helped take the pain out of publishing and licensing fonts from the large foundries. Designers now have a broad palette of typographical effects at their disposal and can implement responsive typography alongside other responsive elements, to ensure the text is perfect on any device.
These are some of the biggest current trends that are sure to continue to grow in importance during 2015. But, website design being what it is, perhaps the most inevitable prediction is that, sometime during the year, something unforeseen is going to take us all by surprise.