Please do not mistake me for some kind digital prognosticator, soothsayer guru, evangelist, swami, samurai or whatever risible term is currently popular in digital marketing circles.
I am but one writer who has spent the last year immersed (and only occasionally floundering) in previously unchartered waters in my first 12 months of writing for Econsultancy.
This isn’t just a list of trends that I’ve noticed during my own research, but also ones discovered by my many venerable colleagues, various friends of the blog and passed on to me by Dan Barker or compiled throughout the year by Chris Lake.
All of whose contributions to the following have been invaluable. (You can therefore read the above as, “if you pick on me I’ll get my older brothers on you.”)
Some of these predictions will be more obvious than others, but I’ve decided to err on the side of ‘likely’ rather than ‘wildly fanciful’.
Some of these predictions will also be more about what I’d like to see, rather than what we’ll definitely see.
Anyway, with that massive list of caveats out of the way, let’s begin.
Parallax scrolling for everybody
Now that mesmerising parallax scrolling templates are readily available on WordPress and other platforms for very little expense, expect to see a lot more highly innovative, narratively driven web pages.
As Chris Lake states in his round-up of card-based web design, cards are ideal for the TL;DR generation, perfect for mobile devices and responsive design.
We’ll certainly be seeing a lot more of them in the years ahead.
The meeting point between skeuomorphism and entirely flat design. Google invented it apparently, here’s a quote directly from its manifesto:
The material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by the study of paper and ink, yet technologically advanced and open to imagination and magic.
Much like an eerie spectre hovering in the corner, ghost buttons aren’t meant to distract you, just attract your attention in a subtle way.
They are transparent but have a recognisable shape, are bordered with a very thin line and contain light sans-serif fonts.
They’re not quite a call-to-action. Perfect for designers not wishing to clutter their sites with albeit necessary navigation.
Examples from WebsitesWithGhostButtons.Tumblr
“It’s always talked about, but people don’t always do anything about it,” according to Dan Barker. He continues:
These things come and go in waves. There was a period where everyone would try for minimal graphics to speed things up, then desktop connections got faster and nobody worried.
Then mobile came along and everyone worried again. Then 3G got faster and lots of sites let it slip. Now with things like the Black Friday queuing debacle, I think people will probably start to look at this again more broadly.
Micro UX design is all about delighting the user by using simple innovative design that not only makes a task easier but also creates an engaging, humane experience that’s a pleasure to repeat.
Hopefully the trend for larger experiences built on these little touches will really shine in 2015.
The Threadless shopping cart pop-out that bounces up and down with happiness
The simple way to switch between Twitter accounts in the iPhone apps with just a drag of the finger
More joyful examples can be found here.
It’s becoming more popular for websites to hide left-navigation off screen until you interact with an element towards the top left of the screen, which is occasionally in the form of another 2014 trend – the hamburger menu.
Over to Dan Barker for this one:
Pinned elements have caught on over the last couple of years but never gone entirely mainstream. Whenever I do user tests on tablets and the header is *not* pinned on long pages, users complain about it.
I therefore half-hope, and expect that this will spread a little more.
Scrolling not clicking
Scrolling through webpages is far quicker than clicking. It helps convey masses of information without slowing down the experience for the user, it’s mobile and touch friendly, it’s a non-committal action that requires little thought and it’s perfect for webpages where the purpose is storytelling.
World’s Highest Website
Nike Air Jordan
Although there are plenty of brands adapting their websites for smartphone and tablet users, responsive design should work for bigger screens too.
Quoting Chris Lake from his article on websites designed for big screens earlier in the year…
It goes without saying that a growing proportion of your website’s visitors will be using handheld devices with little screens, but you may be surprised by how many people use bigger screens.
Ecommerce brands will hopefully recognise this going into 2015 and adapt the experience for our giant screens in the office and at home.
Pull & Bear
Chris Lake rounded-up 14 motion design trends for web and mobile interfaces back in July and many of these we will hopefully see more of next year…
Infinite scroll fade ins
More content! More!
Why bother with static images when you can render a chart on the fly?
It is possible to scroll individual columns, as well as whole pages. If you scroll down this very blog post, you can see it in action too.
Dan Barker really hopes that big fonts will make a comeback.
You see them on some blogs and publisher sites, and they work really well on mobile, but they have yet to resurge on ecommerce sites.
Perhaps 2015 will be the time.
Shades of colour
By choosing one vibrant colour, and various shades thereof, then offsetting it against a neutral background you can create a rather elegant looking interface.
There are more examples in Chris Lake’s beautiful designs based around shades of colour.
You may see more thin permanent menus across the very top of larger websites. These bring unity, allow consistent navigation across multiple pages and are a handy place to present alerts.
Mobile first, but not only
‘Mobile first’ well and truly took hold in 2014. Unfortunately sometimes that means that things look great on mobile and dreadful on desktop and tablet.
As Dan Barker states:
I’m not sure that will end fully, but if you are reading this sentence and you have anything to do with a design project, please do remember that ‘mobile first’ shouldn’t mean ‘mobile only.
We’re still in that period where people carry out their most important tasks on desktops and tablets (booking holidays, buying from a site for the very first time, online banking) so it’s vital that the desktop audience is still catered for.
Again a huge thanks to Dan Barker, who can be find over at barker.co.uk and Chris Lake, who you can hound on Twitter.
Finally a massive thanks to the awesome gang here at Team Editorial, Mothy, Ben, Matt and Graham.