As with any area of design, digital styles change over time. Web design fads come and go quickly, but some trends are much more enduring. In this article, we'll focus on the areas of website design that won't be dated by morning. Here are the four key trends to understand:
Imagery: The trend in imagery is for larger, bolder photos and graphics. Header and background images are especially popular, with text flowing over and around the visual elements. While the current preference for retro-tinged pictures is likely to fade, impressive visuals are here to stay. High-speed internet and 3/4G cell service ensure that photos won't take hours to load. (We forecast that video will increasingly replace or complement static images.)
This image would be perfect for a contemporary website
Page Number: Until recently, there was a focus on increasing the number of pages in a website. Any page longer than two screen lengths was considered ripe for separation into multiple pages. Now, page consolidation is occurring as a response to the number of overly-segmented and less cohesive websites. Instead of creating several pages for each site, current trends are geared toward creating distinct blocks of content on fewer pages. Separation of design elements is still key, but that trend doesn't always necessitate additional pages.
Depth: A couple of years ago, websites were flat, but the graphics offered depth. Now, this has reversed. Flat images are being built into website layers which create the illusion of depth. The parallax design style even uses content blocks that roll over each other. (We'll be unveiling our first parallax website soon!) While websites aren't 3D yet, we're excited about new methodologies that improve the appearance of depth in the digital world.
A parallax design currently in progress
Multiple Screens, One Design: When the transition toward mobile web browsing began, designers considered the mobile experience to be of lesser importance than the traditional desktop website. The mobile site was thus built with an entirely different style than the "standard" site. (The technical limitations of early smartphones also dampened the ability to produce a fantastic mobile experience.) As smartphones and tablets have become more powerful, mobile sites and their desktop counterparts have converged. Instead of putting each site in its own silo, current design trends are centered around a unified user experience. The screen size used to view a website shouldn't affect functionality. At Forward View, our sites are always tested on multiple screens to ensure a delightful experience on every device.
We hope you have enjoyed this review of website design trends. It's not an exhaustive list of modern sensibilities, but this article should address the most noteworthy concepts for 2015. Technology can affect digital styles quite rapidly, however the trends we've identified should endure...well, as long as anything endures on the internet!