The internet is pretty cool. Design for the web has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, allowing designers to do very innovative things when designing and building you’re company’s site with the goal of getting quality candidates and showing clients that you mean business.
2015 will certainly push the boundaries even further. HTML5 is the new standard, taking over 15 years after its predecessor was released while CSS3 is steadily picking up steam in adoption by the various web browsers. In turn, Microsoft has announced a new web browser, “Project Spartan,” that will hopefully kill off legacy versions of Internet Explorer. If you have ever been around a web developer, you will know that there really isn’t a piece of software hated more than Internet Explorer, especially IE9 and below. Additionally, Windows 10 (a free upgrade for those on Windows 7, 8, and 8.1) is coming and it aims to keep users up to date.
These are the things that we think will be a big part of web design & development in the coming year:
Mobile is (still) a big deal
Mobile isn’t going away anytime soon and that’s not a bad thing. Mobile has forced us to rethink the way that websites are designed and built. Designs are more flexible while maintaining a lighter weight. Websites do more while loading faster and using less mobile data. Mobile users overtook desktop users worldwide last year and the number continues to climb at a steady pace, quickly approaching 2 billion mobile users worldwide (Smart Insights).
Smartphones and tablets are two of the most popular ways to access the internet but smartwatches are gaining traction and we’re beginning to really see internet access in cars. Your website can be accessed from just about anywhere.
Mobile is getting even bigger (physically)
Have you picked up an iPhone 4 recently? Compared to recently-released phones, they’re beginning to look more and more like the modern version of Derek Zoolander’s ultra chic flip phone.
“What is this, a cellphone for ants?”
The screens that are meant to reside in our pockets are becoming huge. Even Apple has joined the party with the large iPhone 6+. Its great grandfather, the 4, had a then-massive 3.5 inch screen with a 960×640 display. Newer models like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Nexus 6, or the aforementioned 6+ all have screens that are at least two inches bigger than the 4’s and have resolutions with more than 250% more pixels crammed into that space.
What does that mean for design? Simply put: more real estate. Designers are no longer limited to the 480px and below breakpoint that they adhered to for phones and that means even cooler design details.
Remember when all of the important information on your site had to reside “above the fold?” That’s something that really doesn’t exist anymore. Yes, you want to catch their attention and keep them on your site but cramming everything in the first 700px of your website’s height is not the way to do it anymore. There is room to breathe on the page and that’s made possible by how familiar with scrolling people have become.
Just about everything you do on a phone nowadays involves swiping or flicking one way or another. That means that people are more used to continuing down a page to find more information. Additionally, making your way down a page is certainly easier than clicking a “next” link and waiting for the next item to load. Ever try going through a slideshow on the internet? Frustrating!
Big headlines and bold copy
Get the reader’s attention by getting straight to the point with compelling copy and not weighing everything down with paragraph after paragraph of copy on your home page. Tell them who you are. Tell them what you do. Keep it short and sweet.
Background images were big in 2014 and they’re sticking around this year. No need to tuck away the visuals that define your company it a corner here or next to a paragraph there. The copy and your background image should work together to drive the point home.
Anyone who has used a piece of Google software (Drive, Maps, Inbox, Gmail on a mobile device, etc) has seen the effect that color can have on a piece of software. Color directs the eye and can tell the user where they should go next without spelling it out for them. Take a look at Google’s Inbox, for example. Just looking at the page, the user’s options for the menu, notifications, and to create a new message are clear.
That’s the thought behind Google’s Material Design language. Color creates a visual hierarchy that is as, if not more important than shadow and animation. Color is lightweight but gets the point across where images sometimes cannot.