1. Responsive Web Design
Responsive design is web design that will resize and shape shift with the size of the browser window viewing the page. With more and more users browsing the web from mobile devices and tablets, there hasn’t been a time when responsive design was as needed as it is today.
As we look to the future we can expect this trend to continue to pick up steam as people get more mobile with their devices and tablets turn to phablets. Viewable window space is getting smaller and smaller and websites need to adapt in order to be able to service customers on these smaller screen sizes.
Overall the market is young for responsive design and most businesses would benefit greatly from having a design that can automatically resize based on browser and screen size.
2. Vector Image Prominence
Vector images on websites have been around for some time now, ever since I cracked open Adobe Illustrator and made my first vector image close to 5 years ago, I have seen vector’s rise in popularity and even be demanded by some of my clients.
Vector images have gotten larger and larger as of late and we are seeing them being used mainstream for a ton of websites as of late. Vectors go hand in hand with responsive design in that they allow for images to be manipulated in size without losing their focus or “view-ability”.
Vectors and illustrations as a whole are hard to design and require a web designer with a distinct skill set in order to pull them off properly, but when they are done well, they can add a ton of merit to an otherwise boring website.
3. Customized Fonts
Custom fonts and typography have grown in usage dramatically over the course of 2011 and heading into 2012, we have seen the integration of Adobe Typekit to allow users to embed custom fonts on their websites like never before.
With the emergence of new typefaces, websites are now seeing much more flexibility in their font selection which was extremely limited in the past.
However this has all changed and font coding has recently become much better, some even state that 2012 is going to be the year for custom fonts. This is going to help web designers make more fluent websites for selling items and changing a look of a page by utilizing exuberant fonts that stand out.
4. Circular Effects
With the advent of CSS3 and HTML5, support for circular designs has never been better as it is right now. It used to be that creating circles online was extremely difficult and time consuming and designs never really looked the way you wanted them to.
CSS3 helps web designers with circle shapes and makes it extremely easy to implement which is an added bonus to any designer’s arsenal.
I’ve seen them used for navigation bars, title backgrounds, sidebar enclosures and other random on-page elements. They are trendy and useful to differentiate your site from the norm, and something I believe that will only grow in popularity as we move forward.
5. Direct Call to Action
With more and more online marketing initiatives utilizing paid search for promoting their products, the need for focused design is growing greater by the minute (or by the click). As click costs rise, designs are trending more towards a direct finite result in getting the end user to complete a goal or objective in as little hassle as possible.
This leads to direct call to action styled pages that offer the user nowhere to go but to complete the goal (whether that be fill out a form or call a phone number) as outlined by the advertiser.
All in all these are just a sampling of what is currently trending in the web design world as concepts moving forward. If you have any suggestions for things I might have missed, feel free to leave a comment and continue the discussion. I would love to hear any insights you may have on relevant trends for 2012.
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