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10 Web design trends to watch for in 2014

10 Web design trends to watch for in 2014

Trawl the web for long enough and you'll begin to notice patterns occurring, it becomes clear what is growing popular in the world of web design. Here are 10 design trends that I spotted and have a sneaky feeling we'll be seeing much more of in the coming year…


1. Flat design - OK, so this has been popular for much of 2013 but it's still going strong! Flat design removes all unnecessary elements so the content is the main focus - providing the best user experience. Initially, flat design developed as a solution to simplify Web layouts so that they were optimised across different devices but it's not just popular for practical reasons anymore. I can't get enough of this simple, clean style.

2. Grid-Style Layouts - Page elements are scattered to look like a grid. One familiar example of this would be the Facebook timeline. The grid-style provides a solid visual and structural balance. This sophisticated layout structure gives more flexibility and improves the visual experience of visitors as they can follow the consistency of the page much more easily.

3. Endless scrolling - The good thing is, browsing on our mobiles has gotten us used to it. Scrolling through a website is faster and easier than having to click through links upon links to get where we need to be. It's not content-cluttered either as new design techniques means all information is organised and formatted in such a way that it’s easy to digest. The layout often changes as you scroll, creating sections resulting in the user forgetting they're looking at one long page.

4. Simple Colour Schemes - I have a feeling there will be a lot more websites using only one or two colours. A new trend seems to be to use one bright and clean background colour, such as red, orange or teal, and to include images or black or white text over it. This creates a seriously minimalist and user-friendly effect.

5. Video - Instead of the usual written piece about what the company do, businesses are beginning to opt for short videos. This is most likely due to the fact that videos are easy to produce and share on your site as well as on social media. They also appeal to the short attention span many of us have adopted these days, we want everything now! Videos are an effective way of communicating with an audience and having an impact.

6. Fun with fonts - Designers are once again enjoying 'playing' with typography. Fonts seem to be getting bigger (and in my humble opinion, better!) and siting amongst a variety of others. Also, responsive typography should become a bigger part of responsive web design.

7. Mobile-First Design - Here, a higher priority is placed on the mobile experience which then becomes the foundation of the entire layout. The idea is to first mock-up how the website should look as a responsive layout on smaller screens. To make this work 'fancy' design considered unnecessary excess is removed and we are left with the bare essentials.

8. Mega-Navigation Menus - These menus that expand to hold large blocks of content and links, and can often contain product images seem to be particularly popular with e-commerce or news websites. If done well, this type of navigation can be extremely effective, they allow the user fast access to information located deep within the site.

9. Expanding search bars - Building semi-hidden or expanding search bars into your layout is definitely growing in popularity. When the user clicks a magnifying glass icon or clicks into the bar itself, the search bar expands wider allowing for more text input. This can be seen in a lot of responsive layouts.

10. Parallax Scrolling - That nifty technique that lets background images move slower than foreground images to make visuals appear more dynamic certainly makes for an interesting browsing experience. Handle with care though as too much of it can have quite the opposite effect!


As a designer here at Focus I am super excited about applying some of these trends to our work. Throughout the year I'll be looking out for emerging trends so that I can see you back here in 2015 with a whole new list! 

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Thursday January 16 2014 11:04 AM


Tags: website mobile-internet web-design internet userexperience ux web 2014


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What's to come in 2013? Design predictions..

What's to come in 2013? Design predictions..

As a web designer, I owe my career to the internet and it's popularity but if I don't keep up with the ever growing market it holds then there could be trouble. It's down to me to ensure I stay ahead of the game by continually updating and streamlining my work to keep it relevant.
To do this I have to consider how web design might change. What may be popular in the future? which novelties are fading out?

A lot has changed in terms of web design over the past few years and as we wave goodbye to January (yes, already!) and delve deeper in to 2013 this growth is almost certain to continue.

Reasons behind change are varied but it is safe to say that developments in technology are one of them. WIth this in mind, here are just a few things that I think may remain or become popular in this new year..

Responsive design
O.K, so that was an obvious one but it has been said that just after next year over 50% of web traffic will come from a mobile device. It is becoming as important to please your mobile visitors as it is to please traditional web browsers.

Minimalism
Clean and efficient design doesn't look set to be disappearing anytime soon. People can't seem to get enough of the clarity it brings.

Big buttons
Expect large buttons now that touch screen has pretty much taken over, well, for commercial users at least. I know I'm not the only one using my mobile device to catch up on social networking on the way to work!

Larger images
Mobile devices are getting far better at loading big sites quickly so the web will no doubt see more and more large and high definition images. Also, resolutions continue to increase so smaller images simply don't look as good as they used to.

Engaging visitors
Social media and creating discussion are both becoming even more important. In order to keep up their profiles businesses are embracing various techniques across design, SEO, email marketing and social media.

I don't have a crystal ball but it's good to gather an idea on what lies ahead if we want to improve user experience. Just one year can bring a lot of change, especially in technology. So, it's important to us to always keep on top of it as it can shape the way we design, test and market our websites.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Monday February 04 2013 09:30 AM


Tags: web-design internet responsive


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The future of online in mobile and TV?

The future of online in mobile and TV?

I like most people have read the countless amounts of predictions for 2012, most, if not all, mention how mobile is going to make a large impact on the future of online. I wrote a blog article last year saying that sites should consider mobile to complement desktop development. This year companies will see that they need to evolve their web presence to incorporate mobile or be missed by a large number of visitors. Visitors will spend less time, visit fewer pages and bounce more from sites they cannot view through mobile devices.

Smartphone and iPhone use in the UK is growing at a huge rate almost on a daily basis – I saw a figure this week that over 6m iOS devices were registered on Christmas Day, imagine the figure for Android devices!

People are also coming round to the idea of tablets; many were sceptical if there was a marketplace for such a device. I was one of these…until I got my iPad. I hardly use my laptop now.

Another big change, maybe not to web development, but to the way people interact with online is going to be smart TV’s. They’ve been around for a while, but this year it’s going to enter the mainstream. With the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Diamond Jubilee retailers are going to be slashing prices and pushing us all to buy that new 50” TV. There have been some interesting developments this week from the CES conference...talk of a Google TV, Apple TV set and an Angry Birds app! I have a TiVo box from Virgin and I can now watch YouTube videos, catch up on missed programs or radio shows through the iPlayer, I could even view photos on Facebook or post updates to Twitter – all through my TV.

Online is being integrated into our lives on a daily basis and 2012 will bring with it many changes – some of which could be game changers whether we are users, web developers or designers……interesting times ahead for us all!

Created on Wednesday January 11 2012 10:37 AM


Tags: mobile-internet online-tv internet digital 2012 video web iphone ipad apps smartphones


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Broadband not so Speedy Gonzales?

Broadband not so Speedy Gonzales?

Virgin Media are launching their latest advertising campaign soon, with none other than the crazed Mexican mouse of Looney Tunes fame as its mascot: Speedy Gonzales.

Now I like Speedy Gonzales. He's efficient, cute and more to the point, quick. Which is why I'm a bit unsure about his appointment as spokesperson for Virgin Media broadband. It's not that quick!

Not that this is a problem limited to Virgin Media. The broadband speeds we're promised (up to 10Mb, for example) are rarely delivered, and internet service providers are getting away with promising the earth but not delivering.

With 2Mbps being promised by the government across the UK by the end of the life of the current parliament (the previous deadline was 2012), perhaps a 'middle-of-the-road runner' would have been a more apt choice than good old Speedy

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Monday October 25 2010 11:58 AM


Tags: broadband internet 2012 uk speed


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'Listening' to the web with Addictomatic

'Listening' to the web with Addictomatic

Everybody knows the value of social networking these days, right? Any commercial organisation worth its salt will have a social media strategy in place, and be falling over themselves to implement and update it. (There's nothing sadder than a neglected Twitter feed or blog).

But how do you keep track of all your followers? How can you measure the effect - the buzz - created by all your hard efforts and updates? Simple. Addictomatic.

Branded with the strapline 'inhale the web', Addictomatic does just that. Whether for ego searches or general interest, Addictomatic 'listens' to the web, seeking out your search term, and delivers you real time results from Twitter, blog posts, YouTube and news articles. You're left with a snapshot profile of exactly what the web thinks of any given topic at any given time.

Now Addictomatic is not the only provider to offer this service. Google has recently launched its real time search, and while it is largely limited to search results returned from news sites currently, in theory it has the ability to monitor social networking sites too.

The beauty of Addictomatic is that you can personalise your page, moving, editing and deleting areas as necessary. Save it to your favourites and there you have it - a real time snapshot of what everyone on the web has to say about any given topic. With the season of Easter upon us, I searched for 'master chocolatiers' Lindt, and came up with all sorts, from recommended outlets to stories of those who'd been 'saved' by the chocolate.

Fun stuff, if a little addictive!




Working through WCAG 2.0

Last month I was privileged enough to have the opportunity to spend a day with the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) super-accessibility-squad, or SAS for short, and blown away by how much information can be picked up in just a day.

I was in the "Working through WCAG 2.0" day-long workshop, and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to work out some of the differences between the old and new Website Accessibility Guidelines, and/or learn some up-to-date best practises on attempting to meet these guidelines.

My experience was made even better because I was able to sit next to someone who only coded using screen-reading technology, and was therefore able to gain an insight into a level of accessibility know-how that I could not have gained any other way.

I was interested in the realistic approach taken by the RNIB. Whilst they have every right to scream and shout about the unbelievable amount of inaccessible material out there on and off the web, they instead pointed out the small things that you can quickly change to make a big difference to all of your users. This was the least that a user should expect from a website, allowing us all to progress into more complex issues with a good understanding of the standards expected by the RNIB.

Another interesting idea was that by trying to meet all AAA Priority guidelines in WCAG 2.0 could in fact exclude more users than aiming to meet the AA Priority guidelines and only a few but well chosen guidelines from AAA Priority! Obviously this is determined by the user group, but it was an interesting point that could only be really made by the experts!

Hopefully I've sung their praises enough, so please have a look for yourself as I would recommend this course to small and big companies alike, because this is the way web best-practise is definitely taking us.

Course details: http://www.rnib.org.uk/..../work_through_WCAG_2.0.aspx
Related article: http://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/..../uk_law.aspx

Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 03:16 PM


Tags: website internet web-development wcag-20 accessibility training


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Sweden goes offline because of a missing dot

On Monday, the entirety of the Swedish top-level domain (.se) went offline, apparently after a script failed to add a single terminating dot to a DNS configuration file.

This took every website ending in .se offline, and meant that no-one could deliver email to .se addresses.

The problem persisted for around an hour, but unfortunately DNS entries are cached around the globe for performance reasons, which means that some people would have had problems lasting up to 24 hours.

There are just over 900,000 domains on the .se top level domain, and all of these would have been affected. Whilst that is a very large number, it's easy for UK-based observers to downplay the seriousness of the incident, as it's likely to have affected a small number of UK businesses and individuals directly.

Imagine the effects of a similar problem hitting .uk domains, where over 7,000,000 domains are registered - or even .com domains, of which there are over 80,000,000.

For the most part, the DNS system is an oft-forgotten piece of the internet puzzle; it tends to work, so it's easy to forget that pretty much everything comes to a resounding halt if DNS does.

The provider of the Swedish .se addresses says it's holding an internal investigation to find the cause of the faulty software update. Let us hope that the alarm bells ring enough for other registrars to cross their Ts and dot their DNS correctly.

Links:
http://www.iis.se/en/2009/10/13/felaktig-dns-information/
http://royal.pingdom.com/2009/10/13/sweden%E2%80%99s-internet-broken-by-dns-mistake/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System
 

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Wednesday October 14 2009 12:27 PM


Tags: internet


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