As the end of 2014 fast approaches, now would seem like a good time to don your nostalgic hat whilst we take a look at what has been happening in the world of web design during the past year.
1 - Less is more (literally)
The rise in popularity of LESS, the CSS pre-processor, has totally changed the way web development is undertaken. LESS works by expanding the capabilities of CSS and has enabled web developers to manage CSS development more effectively.
One of the MASSIVE benefits of compiling CSS using LESS is the reduction of the amount of code repetition your average web developer undertakes.
Which ties in with our next 2014 web trend….
2 - RWD = Standard Practice
What a difference a year makes, it is now standard practice that any new DNN website we develop will now be responsive. In fact it is so much a part of our web design and development process that to even write that down sounds strange. Why would any web designer not design for all platforms? Rewind to a year ago to 2013 and we were trying to convince customers to go responsive.
With responsive web design (RWD) now the norm, it is almost scandalous to find a website that does not support mobile & tablet platforms.
3 - The rise of flat design
Having worked in the web design/development industry for over 15 years I have seen many web trends come and go. However one trend I love is flat design and I have been waving goodbye enthusiastically to skeuomorphism since the mid 2000s.
Ok, so I am slightly biased but putting aside whether you love it or hate it or don’t really care either way, from a technical point of view it has really changed the way that web development processes have evolved. With the superb advances of CSS and HTML 5, more and more web design is now completed through style sheets and browsers and not through Photoshop.
Tying in with RWD, flat design has also enabled web designers/developers to create sites that are better optimised for mobile platforms due to not needing to load massive image files, whilst at the same time retaining pretty much all of the original design.
4 - SVG
Scalable Vector Graphics, or SVG as it is more commonly known is an XML based vector image format, which supports interactivity and animation.
SVG has actually been around for quite some time, (it was initially developed in 1999 to be precise) and even though there have been some major names backing the technology (most notably Apple) the lack of browser support has been the biggest obstacle in making SVG more popular.
SVG can be a really beneficial asset in responsive design – SVG files are small in size yet can scale without losing any clarity, perfect for RWD. SVG can also be embedded directly into an HTML document using the svg tag, enhancing load performance times.
Still relatively under-used at present, compared to other image file formats (http://w3techs.com/technologies/history_overview/image_format/all/q
2015 will see a rise in popularity for SVG.
5 - Infographics
Another huge trend at the moment in digital design is infographics, they are everywhere, which is great if you like them (like myself). Again, thanks to the rise in RWD, infographics are a great solution for sharing information across all platforms without being too ’wordy’. They can be used for displaying absolutely any information and with the rise in the number of free tools and resources for creating infographics I can’t see them declining any time soon.
As 2015 pokes it's head over the horizon, I think it's safe to say that RWD has now become standard practice for any web design/development agency. All the trends I have listed are somewhat related and so without the rise in popularity of RWD you would not get the huge surge in the amount of websites using flat design. It goes without saying that in order to better support performance on mobile platforms you need a website that is going to be quick to load (flat design,SVG etc).
When it comes to infographics, as much as it pains me to say this, I think at the end of 2015 the world of web design will have overdosed on infographics causing them to be banished to the virtual basement. However, as with every action there comes a reaction so I wonder what will replace this trend? Perhaps we might see a resurgence of animated gifs or music on homepages. We are already halfway there with the hit counters, although, to be fair, they are now added to display followers on social media instead.
Infographic (I couldn't resist it!) created courtesy of Piktochart.