What 2013 Web Design Trends Mean to Your Business
It’s always interesting for web developers to thrash out the latest tech trends and the New Year regularly marks industry buzz and future predictions. There are many articles out there but few, if any, discuss these matters in a way which explains what they mean to the business owner. The turn of this particular New Year coincided with new technologies and techniques spawning from the release of HTML5, CSS3 and other important updates.
While these may seem like arbitrary acronyms to the uninitiated, they represent genuinely revolutionary leaps in web development tech which you’ll notice by an increasing number of exceptionally gorgeous and dynamic websites. It is in no way an overstatement to say that we’re entering a new era in web design, so let’s take a look at design trends for 2013.
1. Responsive Design
Trendy buzzwords are bandied around merrily by just about every design blog going and this is one of them. Responsive design simply means your website will alter its format and layout depending on what kind of device your customer uses to connect browse it. Your single website address (URL) ‘responds’ to people connecting on a smartphone, tablet device or desktop PC and they’ll receive the appropriate resolution, layout and consequent user experience.
This method is also backed as a recommended guideline by Google which means it’s the best approach for your search engine optimization (SEO). In the US, a staggering 25% of people online only use mobile devices for web browsing. With 1.2 billion smartphones in circulation and exponential increases predicted, responsive design is undoubtedly a smart move to connect with your target audience effectively.
2. Natural Design Elements and the CSS3 Update
Cascading Style Sheets (or CSS) is a language used to express layout and presentation within webpages, with the number ‘3’ denoting the latest version. In times past, the CSS standard was less refined and considerably more time-consuming for developers. Discussions of ‘natural design elements’ and other CSS3 updates essentially mean development companies will achieve more beautiful work in less time, at less cost to clients.
Quality-to-cost ratio for exceptional web design work is becoming increasingly favorable. Developers can now import typography or animations quicker and easier without relying on Flash which can be cumbersome and slow a website down and sometimes hurt SEO. In addition, applying rendering effects such as box shadows, rounded corners and background gradients can all be done with minimal effort.
3. Parallax Scrolling
The sheer fact that parallax scrolling is so incredibly awesome makes it well worth worth a mention. When scrolling down with a mouse wheel (or other scrolling method) a user can now manipulate objects on both the X and Y axes, making for an extremely immersive 3D-like experience. Coupled with up-to-date and elegant design, the development potential to capture your audience’s attention is exceptional. Great examples can be seen here or here.
In addition to creating addictive and dynamic design, parallax scrolling offers extensive opportunities to display three-dimensional interactive images of various products for sale. People buy with their eyes on the Internet and while pictures have done the trick in the past, parallax scrolling represents the future in online retail display.
4. Whitespace, Minimalism, Big Photos and Oversized Buttons
White-space simply refers to large amounts of “unused” space on any given website capitalized upon to draw deeper focus and attention to relevant focal points. This ties in with the concept of minimalism and is further compounded by the popularization of touch screens requiring large, bold buttons to reduce fiddliness and fumbling around. The final cornerstone in this foundation of refined and elegant simplicity will be oversized photographs.
Quality photography is following a similar trend towards uncomplicated, bold and beautifully-shot images which fit in wonderfully with this shift in design preference towards simplicity. Essentially, as a business owner, it means delivering a more intuitive, modern, impressive, captivating, relaxing and engaging experience for your website visitors and potential clients.
5. A Shift in Branding
This final point coincides with the above and changes such as these will have a knock-on effect on branding. In a sense, during 2013 and onwards, we’ll see an entire website coming together to form the brand of a company. Gone will be the days of overly busy web pages with a discreet logo tucked away in the top left corner. The future holds a new era in online company presentation and branding will be swept up, refined and incorporated in such a way so as to more deeply connect and identify with your target audience.