Web Trends to Watch in 2014

Simple layouts that display optimally across platforms were all the rage in 2013, but the focus this year is on customers. Responsive design–layouts that repaginate to fit different screen sizes and devices–reigned supreme in 2013. That trend will likely continue as business leaders look for ways to keep customers coming back to their websites. But while it’s a useful concept to incorporate in your design decisions, what you’ll really want is a website that puts customers first, while still managing to stand out on mobile. Here are a few trends to look out for this year: Flat Design, Upgraded Apple senior vice president of design Jony Ive took flat design–a colorful, bare-bones aesthetic–mainstream with iOS 7 and iPhone 5, and such simplicity was everywhere in 2013. At first, flat design developed as a solution to simplify Web layouts so that they were optimized across different devices. Now businesses need to find ways to differentiate themselves, “as many websites start to look and feel the same,” says Shane Mielke, an award-winning creative director and Web designer. “The only way to improve and separate your website is with custom content, images, assets, and stories that make the design just the mechanism by which you’re connecting with and engaging your target audience.” To do this, just remember the mantra “keep it simple, stupid,” says Marko Saric, another design expert. Flat design will still be a buzzword this year, but don’t focus on being trendy. Just “remove all the unecessary elements and let the content be the main focus in order to provide the best user experience.” Parallax Scrolling Gets Smart Parallax scrolling–that nifty technique that lets background images...