Steve’s Web Design Trends and Predictions for 2013

Web Design Trends and Predictions for 2013

It’s that time of the year again. Christmas and the New Year are imminent, and here at Matter Solutions, we’re all thinking of the year ahead, contemplating what lies ahead in the world of web design and development.

Here are a couple of my tips for 2013.

1. Goodbye Mobile Templates, Hello Responsive Design.

As the vast quantity of mobile devices of various resolutions and aspect ratios continues to proliferate, creating mobile ‘templates’ has become impractical. The better option is a responsive design that can adapt to any browser size (wrap text, resize images, reposition blocks, remove blocks completely) regardless of the device.

Here’s one of our recent responsive designs for Business Result Accountants, based in Northlakes, north of Brisbane. If you’re on a desktop, go crazy and resize your browser window, you’ll soon see the lengths we’ve gone to to implement this responsive design. Likewise if you’re on a mobile device right now, it should just look great – no more pinch to zoom in/out!

2. The End of Flash Online (almost)

OK, so this is more wishful thinking rather than a prediction for 2013. The death of Flash will be more likely be a slow one taking 2-3 years (based on the typical website lifecycle). But none the less, its days are numbered. As HTML5 matures and iOS devices continue to dominate the mobile browsing stats, websites will be forced to loose the Flash. We haven’t used Flash for a while here at Matter Solutions and the first thing we do for re-design projects is kill all Flash, absolutely no questions asked.

3. Minimal Banners – More Text Above the Fold

The trend over the past couple of years has been to design the homepage with a huge banner laden with images and slideshows. While these might look good, they are not particularly functional, although some marketing types will try and convince you otherwise. We predict that these large banners will continue to shrink in favour of freeing up precious real estate for ‘real content’ and more specific CTA’s (call to action). Why? If you’re web developer is SEO focussed, they’ll tell you Google rates text over images, and further to that rates text at the top of the page over text at the bottom of the page. Makes sense really, doesn’t it?

4. Location Based

Again, this one is tied to the rapid increase in mobile browsing. On mobile devices, in particular mobile phones, we’ll see GEO IP or HTML5 Geolocation type technologies being integrated more often to allow websites to deliver custom content/information to users based on their location. A simple example of this would be to display store location/contact details (on the homepage as default) for users  browsing for a retail store within a certain distance (5km) of a physical store.

5. Web to Follow Mobile OS

The browsing experience is becoming more integrated in our daily mobile experience (think of the simple example of viewing web pages within Facebook, with the ‘Back’ button that takes you back to the app, not back in your browser). As more and more browsing is done on mobile devices and indeed within native applications, you could expect to see some of the UI elements of iOS, Android and Windows Mobile to become common place in web design. Examples – simple animations using HTML5 and Skeuomorphism.

6. Retina Optimised Websites

Following on from the previous prediction – web to follow mobile OS, one aspect worthy of special mention is the emergence of Retina or HiDPI optimised websites. No longer will beautiful high resolution images be the preserve of native applications. You can expect to see more websites transitioning to high resolutions imagery.  The uptake of this new technology will largely come down to ease of use for developers and the additional design cost. Doing its best to alleviate some of the burden on developers is WordPress. The overhauled media manager in the latest release of  WordPress (3.5) will support handling HiDPI images via the Retina dashboard.

What Do You Think?

There you go, my web design trends for 2013. The trick now is taking the time to plan properly to be able to maximise the effectiveness of these design ‘opportunities’. As developers we certainly can’t complain about a lack or interesting new ideas and technologies to play with.

From the whole team here at Matter Solutions, have a great festive season and we’ll see you all in 2013!