The mobile web is expanding at an exponential rate. According to Business Insider, global Internet usage will more than double by 2015 and most of these users will be on mobile devices. Mobile users expect to be able to browse your website just as easily on their mobile devices as on their desktop computers. But that doesn’t mean you have to build a mobile version of your site for every type of device available – the solution lies in a technique known as responsive web design.
Responsive web design, which has been around for less than two years, is bound to explode in 2013. Responsive web design involves using fluid grids, media queries, and flexible images so that a website adapts to the layout of a user’s environment and provides an optimal viewing experience on a variety of devices.
People visit your site via a dizzying array of smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, laptops, and browsers. Rather than requiring you to design a website version for every type of device or browser that comes along, responsive design enables you to build a website that responds automatically to users’ needs based on screen size and resolution. Responsive web design is the future of design!
Infinite scrolling refers to when you scroll down a page and data keeps appearing until all of the data on the page is displayed. Websites that utilize infinite scrolling include Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Infinite scrolling may lead to higher visitor retention rates since users don’t have to click to another page to continue viewing content. However, this functionality may not be appropriate for a typical business website. You have to use infinite scrolling in the right context in order for it to be effective.
At the end of last year, many web designers predicted that HTML5 and CSS3 would be widely adopted in 2012. While the latest versions of major browsers now support HTML5 and CSS3 features, we still have a ways to go before HTML5 and CSS3 take over with certainty. Many less-than-tech-savvy users are yet to upgrade their browsers.
Prior to the advent of HTML5 and CSS3, Flash allowed web designers to integrate animation and movement with their designs to tell a brand’s story. However, Flash was long held back by the fact that it wasn’t SEO-friendly or compatible with Apple devices. With the growing adoption of HTML5 and CSS3, Flash has finally become obsolete. Adobe announced last year that it would be discontinuing development of the Flash Player for mobile browsers. In August of this year, Adobe announced that it would disable new installs of Flash on Android devices and that Flash wouldn’t be supported on Android 4.1. To put it simply, Adobe has caved and Flash is dead.
Parallax is a special scrolling technique used in HTML5 wherein two-dimensional graphics are placed on different layers and scrolled in the same direction at varying speeds. Parallax scrolling creates an illusion of depth, even though the graphics are two-dimensional. In the past, parallax scrolling was only used in video games, but it’s starting to be implemented on portfolio and product websites to enhance their user experience.
Owing to the prevalence of devices with touch screens, large buttons are becoming more common. Large buttons are easier to touch and tap, and they also enhance the visual appeal of a website. The downside of large buttons is that they can slow down your site’s load times. To avoid this problem, generate buttons using CSS3.
Website Designers are no longer limited to Arial, Georgia, Verdana, and other standard typefaces. Our prediction is that a growing number of professional web designers will beautify their designs with creative typography in 2013. Typography enhances both the aesthetics and usability of a site. Web designers are experimenting with a wider variety of fonts, but they have to be careful and use them consistently so as not to distract users.
Nothing appalls web users more than an outdated website. Consider applying these web design trends to your online marketing plan in 2013 to keep your web presence fresh and ensure that your website stays ahead of the curve. Staying on top of web design trends could help you retain and convert more website visitors in the New Year, and that’s a resolution we’d all like to fulfill!