2014: A year of change for web design

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The only thing you can count on is change. That’s doubly true of web design. We ran across some interesting and smart observations from Envato founder and CEO, Collis Ta’eed. He purports exciting times ahead for web design and he does this by understanding the larger picture, accurately noticing what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not working.

Flat. Not where it’s at.

Flat design was the name of the game last year and for good reason. The clean lines and simplicity make flat design attractive to users but it has a long way to go as designers seek ways to differentiate their clients. But overall, flat design is getting ready for change. Ta’eed anticipates an evolution of the style with more depth and more layering.

As the “trendulum” swings from heavy texture to minimalism and back again, it’s more important than ever to negotiate a balance between building your brand and focusing on the user experience. That means designing websites which are faster, easier to use, and more flexible for audiences browsing from a variety of devices. The growth in smartphones and tablets has driven a significant shift in design standards, and that’s impacting user expectations for full-size desktop websites as well.

Move me.

And in this vein, Ta’eed says a logical step forward from flat design is incorporating more motion. With the growing sophistication of web browsers, small details of your website can behave more like an application, conveying the brand personality through subtle animation and effects. And with the increasing popularity of video content and social networking sites like Instagram and Vine, you can bet that – as long as the bandwidth continues to increase – more of these elements will be used to enhance the user experience.

Pressed to beat WordPress.

It may be too early to use the phrase “world domination” but, according to Ta’eed and market reports, WordPress could make a strong argument for it in the open source CMS (Content Management System) market. What started as a simple blogging platform is now a full-featured administrative tool, powering websites both small and large.

Other competitors continue to improve and gain ground like Wix and its easy IPO offerings. However, scrappy little contenders keep popping up and challenging the status quo, bringing many web professionals to the realization that sometimes a full CMS is overkill. There is opportunity here, but WordPress is clearly here to stay.

The ever-changing face of the Interface.

Interfaces are propagating like mad and its evident in beautiful new products like Glass, Nest and Fitbit. Expect to see continuing growth and creativity in interface design. Additionally, while most of the last couple years has focused on UX design, Ta’eed believes that more data-driven design is about to upset the marketplace. After all, mixing design with data helps in the decision-making process… but it’s not there yet. Expect thought leadership to weigh in on how we can use data to enhance the user experience.

Closing in on the future.

Overall, Ta’eed’s take-away is that everything points to making things easier and more enjoyable to every user – which is a great thing in our opinion! Because, at The Ocean Group, we share and employ that same philosophy in every project we tackle for our clients. Onward into the web design future!

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