The Literal State of Art: Latest Web Design Trends for 2015
It seems like yesterday, but web design has been out around since the late '80s. The last 15 years however are arguably the golden age of web design, not only due to the fast-paced development of new technologies in the context of the Information Revolution since the early '00s, but especially because the focus gradually switched from a functional designing of information to a persuasive one.
This year we will see this as strong as ever as the web design approaches an advertising and artistic quality that was quite unlike some years ago, though it has been already tried and tested, carving its own way to achieve implementation in a scenario where technology really could allow web design to provide information in a different level of experience. This scenario is happening right now and we will see quite often throughout this year a wide array of sites developed like little art pieces, with very responsive designs, sleek layouts and a lot of artistic, unique qualities.
Pinterest is probably the mother of cards in web design, and thanks to them this approach has become quite popular in 2014 and is not going anywhere far from here. Giants like Google are already using cards with advertising purposes. Their promotions tab on Gmail now works with cards displays, and most likely Google is not the only one seeing the commercial benefits of this kind of medium.
Though they are around for a while already, the model of cards we have now is a new way to think and explore the interface with convenience as well as quite a hit when it comes to fast navigation. The most relevant fact about cards is how much information you can display all at once for the viewer, not overwhelming the technical capacities of their machines or their broadband limitations.
It is for sure a very elegant medium but also a responsive one, adapting very well to a key factor for web design these days: different viewports, different devices and experiences with interfaces. They might spread not only among smartphones, tablets and conventional computer browsers, you will much likely see these on HUD systems on cars, smart watches and more.
As the cards artistic aspect wasn't enough, things get much more conceptual and beautiful with scrolling layouts. Several film studios have been implementing a straight-forward design for the promotional sites of their features (for instance, Lars von Trier's Melancholia official site, designed in 2011, where parallax techniques were already implemented though were not yet popular and trending). There is only one page where you can get all the information you need, plus, you browse through the page with a conceptual experience that can mimic the themes of the film.
So far, this kind of design was not very much responsive and accessible as well as the loading was another impediment, but with the revolution of touch screens on portables, parallax web design has reached a peak moment where this kind of browsing is more than welcome.
Mouses are almost retired when it comes to browsing through the web, and the scrolling gets more and more popular due to an actual necessity with the touch screen interfaces. The iPhone 6 web site released last year, also designed with a parallax layout points out this approach is commercially appreciated and will likely soon become a standard.
The Verisimilitude of Photographs
As we previously mentioned, the general trend is to persuade rather than just display information with a neat appearance for the sake of simply being alive in the Internet. The speech adopted must stand out the site from the competition. The photographic aspect of the design will be a middle ground between the conceptual/artistic approach and the advertising speech, after all, all web sites are intended to be visited, appreciated and renowned, and so does the content, information and the creators of the site, from a professional blogger to a corporation.
As a combo with the cards and the long conceptual scrolling, the photography in web design is no longer intending to deal with Stock photos but to provide realistic portrayals. Professional photography has reached a meeting point with web design where its artistic services are quite welcome, especially to depict employees, facilities and a day-to-day scenario with an unique and authentic human warmth rather than a bunch of strangers from Stock images. Companies want to portray their uniqueness, their image through a web site is another way to generate leads. But what really enables web sites to adopt the use of professional but original images is the technical advances in the field. Huge background photograph have been around for a while already, but they faded in popularity in the mid '00s because, simply, they would take too long too load. Thanks to latest compression and loading technology, this is no longer the case.
Hyper-reality, Sites in Motion
The Flash days are over for web designers who are looking for great results both aesthetically, technically and commercially, though the animation in web design is not at all, reaching new standards and innovative ways to be more sophisticated. Just like the photography scenario these days, there is room for viewing animations, there is better broadband and better computers. You probably have seen last year an increase on video backgrounds, so that points out how smooth things are for animations, specially UI animations.
Putting in motion your menus - including hiding them - scrolling and other elements is something that surely adds a lot of value to your site as the interaction and the quality of the experience are much more refined. If you know how to build a UI animation design that respects your own site idiosyncrasy.
Java itself has a tasty library for these kind of developments, things tend to get just more popular than ever this year when it comes to using library animations. To sum up, get ready to see sites turning into cinematic art pieces as custom website design reaches new heights thanks to creatives professionals.
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