Website Design Trends for 2014

How will your website stand-up to the expectations of your visitors this year? It’s important to understand web usability, design trends, and best practices to ensure your online user experience leads to conversions and sales opportunities. Although every business is different, small business owners need to be aware of these trends to determine what is critical for their business needs. Most importantly, if you have ignored your website in the last couple of years, technology and mobile expectations have influenced the website industry so much, it might be time for a re-design.

We’ve reviewed projections of trends from 2013 leading into 2014, and after various posts and documentation from popular technology sites, here is what we’ve learned.

General information on website design trends

According to The Next Web, various trends from 2013 are still applicable. The most common statement across various authors is that the general trend is that web design is becoming more aesthetically minimalistic. It is all about simplification, mostly because companies want their brand to be interacted with across as many devices as possible. New web devices come with smaller screens and that means re-thinking how websites react to such resolutions and prime real estate.

Here are some of the topics reviewed:

  • Exotic Fonts
  • Flat Design
  • Simpler Color Palettes
  • Responsive Design / Mobile Web
  • Long Scrolling Sites
  • Website Video
  • Large Hero Images
  • Manipulated Imagery

Exotic Fonts

Gone are the days of sticking to web safe fonts. Print designers have lived in a world where typography makes such a difference – it opens up possibilities in expression. Conveying your brand through exotic fonts that strengthen the communication is becoming a standard in websites.

Flat Design

The online world revolves around creating and maintaining fresh new content. Flat design provides a simpler and more cost effective way for small businesses to keep up with this ever churning of assets. After all, we don’t all have a team of talented graphic designers ready to produce stellar composited and layered graphics. It takes too long and costs too much. Therefore, flat is in. The look is clean and professional, and more cost-effective to produce long-term. Let’s face it; we’ve seen this happen over the years with logos, now it’s happening with websites. Not a surprise.

Simpler Color Palettes

Color palettes used in the most progressive websites are narrowing their accent color choices to 2 or 3 tops. This trend also goes hand in hand with the simplification of web. It’s an extension of minimalism and the trend of flat design. After all, less is more when designed well.

Responsive Design / Mobile Web

Is your website responsive? Does it adapt to providing a great, yet simplified experience for users visiting your website from tablets and smart phones? If your answer is no, it might be time for you to begin planning the next version of your website. The market confirms that mobile device usage is only going to increase over time. Therefore, rules about scrolling and simple one-column layouts are becoming best practice. Gone are the days of above the fold.

Long Scrolling Websites

Long scrolling websites, especially for device specific layouts, are becoming more popular. Why? Because people are getting more accustomed to consuming information through simpler design layouts. Websites are now using design techniques such as increased font sizes, increased white space and one-column layouts that are easily supported across various browsers due to small web devices. If you are still stuck on caring about things above the fold, then you will die like the dinosaurs. Creating an easier and simpler experience across all devices and browsers is better for user conversion.

Website Video

Who has time to read all the great copy that you are writing for SEO purposes? It’s important to provide the detailed information for users looking to dive deeper, but how do you quickly capture interest or break down a complex explanation? People are turning to web videos at various levels. Produce the perfect script that everyone understands so you can repeat this communication to a large audience with little effort. And did you know… search engines love video too? Actually, video can help your content rank a lot faster than traditional copy. Engagement is the new standard, and brands are choosing to communicate with their customers through video where appropriate. Attention spans are only getting shorter.

Large Hero Images

A trend, borrowed from the print world, to keep communications simple is the usage of larger hero images, grabbing people’s attention with minimal content. The goal is simplification on the homepage as the new attention-grabber. It also means companies have to be more strategic in the short burst of copy available in the prime real estate.

Manipulated Imagery

In 2014, you will see images that have built in effects to drive interest and coincide better with chosen color pallets and typography. The composition of well-selected fonts, simple content, and custom effects within images will create a custom look and feel that will leave a lasting impression. Whether it’s color overlays, blurs like “bokeh”, or Instagram-like filters, manipulation of imagery will set a new standard in web design.

In summary, these are some of the top priority trends for web design in 2014. Learn more about these best practices and review against your website. How many of them have you followed? Or is your online brand and presence needing that facelift more than you thought? 

Make the web beautiful, start with your website and then influence others!

This article is by Cesar Keller of SMBFuel - Posted January 2014

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