New trends are fun to check out and see how long they stick around. When browsing websites in 2014 keep your eyes peeled for any of these UI/UX trends in action.
1. Grid-Style Layouts
I think the first mainstream recognition of the grid design was on Pinterest. Social news feeds have always been in a streamlined fashion such as Twitter or Tumblr. Nowadays even many Facebook pages scatter timeline updates to appear like a grid.
This isn’t something you can force into any old website. There needs to be a purpose, the user experience always comes first. In situations using thumbnail images or text updates the grid layoutcondenses everything into an easy-to-read format. Everything is skimmable yet still coherent and it doesn’t require much space on the page.
2. Crafty Image Captions
Many websites use image galleries to showcase portfolio items, photographs, article thumbnails, etc. Using a text caption helps the visitor connect more information to the image.
Each website should have its own design to provide benefit to the reader.
3. Extended Form Elements
There is a particular enthusiasm surrounding jQuery form plugins which enhance the user experience. These effects could include floating labels, input validation, guided tooltips, almost anything you might imagine.
4. Deeply-Focused Landing Pages
Software developers often purchase a domain name and launch a website as a marketing tool. This idea has since expanded to encapsulate mobile games, open source scripts, smartphone apps, really any digital product you can imagine. These landing pages are basically essential to encourage prospective customers into learning more about a product before buying.
5. HTML5 Video Players
Flash still has a purpose when necessary, but most web developers would agree that the future of Internet video is HTML5.
Media Element provides some default skins and greater documentation for building your own player designs. You can also try building a music/audio player out of the same codes. Both scripts provide documentation along with an API and they’re both fantastic libraries. Keep these in mind when you need self-hosted videos on any future projects.
6. 3D Transition Effects
A number of creative 3D animations are appearing in websites. These are often built into the page for animated image galleries, navigation menus, and elements. The 3D effects can be created using jQuery although CSS3 has been catching up.
7. Flat Design Elements
How could I discuss web design trends without mentioning the widespread use of flat UI elements. CSS3 allowed designers to create much flatter buttons using natural box shadows, text shadows, or rounded corners. This flat UI pattern transcended into form inputs and even navigation menus.
Flat icon sets and GUI kits have been released for free on dozens of websites. Metro-style layouts have also grown in popularity from Microsoft’s Windows OS and the Windows Mobile Phone.
8. Personal Portraits
Simple portfolio websites are often my favorite. You want to convey a bit about yourself, where you’ve been, and showcase your work samples. But to keep people truly interested you need to form a human connection. One of the best ways to accomplish this would be including a sample photograph of yourself somewhere on the page.
9. SVG Images & Icons
Vector-based graphics aren’t built around pixels, but lines and coordinates. Individual shapes are organized by mathematical equations and this allows you to stretch vectors to any size. SVG images are like vectors in the sense they can be manipulated easily without much quality loss.
The biggest problem is support for these images within all web browsers. Many people are still using older versions of Internet Explorer and other legacy titles. It’s a huge trend that will be sweeping the Internet in years to come (if it hasn’t already).
10. Unique Web Copy
One of the coolest new features in web development is the @font-face declaration. You can import font files hosted locally or externally on another server. These fonts are defined within CSS and you can write them into font-family properties to style your webpage text.
This has grown to include font-based icons where flexible icons are rendered on the page as text. These icons aren’t as well-designed in comparison to real graphics, which can incorporate a multitude of different colors. Yet simply having the ability to customize any font on the page is a powerful technique to help your website stand apart from the crowd.