Being a web developer from the very beginning (over 20 years ago,) I have seen all sorts of trends in web design and development. Here are the top 4 trends and considerations you will need for your website in the coming year in reverse order.
#4 – Infinite Scrolling – This is a feature that has been popularized by Facebook, Google +, Pintrest, Tumblr and the list goes on. It’s so popular that many businesses, associations and organizations are starting to incorporate it into their sites. This is great, if there’s a reason for the scrolling. Don’t add it if it doesn’t make sense. Not every site needs to be seen on a single page. But it does make sense for pages that scroll through a timeline like blog posts. You will start seeing a lot more of this because it does make life simpler for mobile devices.
#3 – Larger Fonts – As a society we aren’t losing our eyesight. The larger font size isn’t to make things easier on those with vision problems, it has everything to do with the fact that our screens have higher and higher resolutions. They have many more dots in the same space. So the larger fonts will be much cleaner and ascetically pleasing on these hires devices.
#2 – Flat Design – This has been recently popularized by Apple’s iOS7, but it’s been around for quite some time. Some would call this iconic design since it has lots of bold solid colors. Many may think that this is a fad in design, but it does have a practical purpose; on average, images with an iconic or flat design are 40% smaller in size. So load times are much quicker. Your site needs to be optimized as much as possible. Not because it costs any more to deliver larger files, but it does cost time. Speed is extremely important, because if your site doesn’t show up quickly, you will lose visitors.
#1 – Responsive Mobile Design – This is by far and away the most import consideration of any site. Nationally mobile devices account for 28% of all traffic online. If you add in tablets and other handheld devices it goes up to 60%. That’s 60% of all traffic from hand held devices of various screen sizes. A responsive design will automatically resize to fit the device viewing it, even when rotated. This is extremely important so you don’t lose over half your visitors to unnecessary side-to-side scrolling.
I would be willing to say that if you don’t have a responsive design in place for your site in 2014, you might as well not have a site at all. I have seen many sites that look so bad on mobile devices; it’s enough to create a very negative experience for your prospects that could lose you more than just that one. Bad news travels quicker than good news, so don’t give them any reason.
Is there something I missed that you think should be in this short list?