1. Background Images & Full Screen Videos Instead of Sliders
Sliders are a great way to showcase blog content, portfolios, videos, photography or news stories. Most sliders work on auto-scroll, allowing users to pause, stop or click through the different landing pages at any point in the slide. While still wildly popular, some designers are beginning to move away from sliders to focus on oversized “hero” areas featuring a large graphic header with a minimal amount of text. Large blurred backgrounds are popular among businesses like Paypal and others because they tell a story and capture the imagination.
2. Parallax Scrolling
Parallax scrolling is a neat technique where the foreground images move faster than the background images. This technique can be used to breathe life into your page and add “wow” factor. It’s perfect for storytelling on single page websites. This was a hot trend in 2013, but a lot of business owners went overboard. This year, we’ll see more emphasis on multimedia product showcases and less text. Personally, we think parallax is fun… but infinite scrolling is not!
3. Slide-out Menus
Some people find navigation bars to be too cluttered. Web design in 2015 has gravitated toward greater simplicity, so the slide-out menu bars (like Microsoft has implemented on Windows 8) are an extension of that desire. Users can access the menu by toggling to the top or side of the screen. These menus are especially great for mobile web designs, where space can be an issue. My newly designed #8ways site, which you are reading now, has a slide-out menu on the mobile version. If you are reading this from your mobile phone or tablet you can look in the top right corner, click on the “Menu” button and you will see the navigation menu slide out.
Here is a screenshot of what my slide-out menu looks like on this #8ways site, once you click the “Menu” button:
4. Fonts with Personality
Long gone are the days where all sites use boring Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman fonts. Designers realize that quirky fonts are a great way to add personality and style to a website, without adding clutter or bulky elements that may slow down loading time. This doesn’t ring true for every industry, as it would look odd to have a funky font on a serious corporate or healthcare website. Whereas industries that have room for a bit more creativity are embracing new, fun fonts.
5. Flat Design
Say goodbye to gradients, beveled edges, reflections and drop shadows. Apple’s iOS7 brought us the first glimpse of “flat design” as we know it. Flat designs often use bright colors to jazz up a simple layout. It has been the rave for most of 2014 and we anticipate many designers to continue utilizing flat design well in to 2015.
6. Videos Instead of Text
Web design is simplifying. Professional caliber videos are getting easier to produce. Not to mention, attention spans are shorter. The marriage of all three ideas brings us to an increased focus on using video to tell a quick story. Sometimes videos can slow down a page’s loading time, so they should be used judiciously, but they can work great to explain a complicated topic or make a quick impression. For instance, General Electric uses a lot of videos to give information on their products.
7. Hand Drawn Illustrations
Illustrated images, icons, typography and backgrounds add uniqueness and creativity to your site beyond the usual business stock images business site visitors see all too often. Like photos, illustrations are going big and bold in 2014 and 2015. A lot of retro and vintage styles have been coming back in vogue. This trend is not new to 2014, but it’s certainly not waned in popularity at all. This style won’t work for every business — especially if you’re a super corporate B2B, but it works for any business looking to tell a creative story with their website.
If you look carefully, you’ll find that information is often arranged in little “business cards” or “tiles.” Websites like Google, Twitter, Pinterest and Spotify are all using this web design trend to share information in easy, digestible ways. Some may say cards can be a little cluttered looking, but others argue that it’s intuitive and follows how mobile apps are displayed.