Top 10 web design trends and predictions for 2015

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With the new year finally here and with the rapid changes that designing for the web has experienced over the last few years. We thought it would be a good idea to list our predictions for the strong and potentially new trends as we slide into 2015. So without further adieu let’s get started.

  1. Adoption of Google’s Material Design
  2. Context over consistency
  3. Mobile first responsive design
  4. Design for small data
  5. Death of the sidebar
  6. Scroll over click
  7. The rise of storytelling in design
  8. Animated elements
  9. Increased use of full screen navigation
  10. Death to the popup context

1. Adoption of Google’s Material Design


The new year will see a larger adoption of Google’s Material Design or at least some of it’s core principles.

Although some people don’t like it, stating that it’s too “child like”, I feel that they are missing the main point. For me Google’s Material Design implements design concepts that I’ve been thinking about for years, including having the main action sitting at the bottom of the device window where it is easily accessible by both mobile and desktop users, which contextually makes more sense. There are many more examples like this, that are just common sense and a good starting point for UX designers.  So I predict that we will see a wide adoption of some of these core design principles in 2015.

2. Context over consistency


This is something I think designers should already be considering when it comes to new and current projects. What is more important? I’d rather have a website or mobile app the offers up the right actions based on context over consistency.

But why? Users know how to use the iOS navigation, and it hasn’t changed for some time.
Well, maybe it makes sense for people that have always used Apple products, but that won’t be the case for those who are new to the iPhone or iPad. Having navigation that’s obvious to everyone is far better than having something that is consistent to a specific device or OS.

It’s already started creeping into designs this year but this is something that will become more widespread in 2015.

3. Mobile first responsive design


You could say that this one is already a big design trend now, however, you would be surprised how many sites still don’t implement it.

Studies show that more and more people are using their mobile devices to visit and purchase from websites these days and It’s not just about mobile. Literally all new devices, including desktop machines, vary wildly in screen size and dimensions, so it makes no sense to design for one screen size/width. Websites will have to adopt to this new way of thinking or be completely left behind by their competition. So expect Mobile First Responsive design to be a huge thing this year.

4. Design for small data


Everyone is so concerned these days about Big Data that sometimes they forget how valuable small interactions can be.

A good example of design for small data is Tinder‘s yes/no swipe mechanism – by recording each decision you make, Tinder rapidly gains insight into what you like and dislike. This allows them to narrow down the pool of “would be” candidates, to ones that you’re more likely to say yes to. This type of data not only provides better insight into improving your app’s speed, it’s also more useful.

App design that focuses on small but significant interactions like this will become more widespread in 2015, as developers continue to find smaller and more specific niches in the market.

5. Death of the sidebar


Do sidebars actually add value or is it just one large distraction? That’s a question that we have been wondering for sometime now, and the current trend, led by the likes of Medium and Quartz, is definitely towards the latter.

And it makes sense too – when a user visits your website to read your article, it’s more than likely because they are interested in that specific discussion. While reading they don’t care about your Twitter or Facebook feeds, nor do they want to sign up to your newsletter halfway through. So why shove all that stuff in their face, distracting them while they read? If anything, you want all those actions at the bottom of the page ready for them once they have finished. Once they decide they like what you’re producing they will be more willing to interact with those actions.

And before we get any comments about this, we are happy to announce that the Zing Design Blog is currently being redesigned without a sidebar and less distractions, so stay tuned!

6. Scroll over Click


“Scrolling is a continuation; clicking is a decision” – Josh Porter

It’s as simple as that. Have you ever been comfortable making an ill informed decision? Probably not. So why ask your visitors to do the same with your website. Inform them about what you do, why they should continue checking out what you have to offer, and then ask them to make that decision. That’s not to say that you can’t provide them with the option of making that decision from the beginning. You never know, they may have already done the research and decide to click that button straight away. Just don’t expect them to click through to the rest of your site without knowing what it’s about.

Expect the practice of making single long scrolling pages over many smaller pages with links to each other to become the standard. In 2015 there will be more emphasis on scrolling then clicking to influence visitors to opt in to your product or service.

7. The raise of storytelling in design


This one has always excited me. I’ve been a big fan of storytelling my whole life. That’s why Pixar is one of my favourite companies, and why I became an Illustrator. Storytelling in design is a powerful tool that can be used to get buy in from potential customers. Telling the story behind your service can go a long way in converting visitors. It makes your company more relatable, and helps build more of an emotional attachment to your service. This emotional attachment will be what makes them choose you over any competing company.

Expect more companies in 2015 to start adopting storytelling in the design of their product / services pages to get step up on their competitors. Advanced designers should watch out for the emergence and wider adoption of transmedia – storytelling across different platforms.

8. Animated elements


The use of subtle animations on buttons and off screen elements has just starting picking up by a lot of web designers, and we can see that growing in 2015.

The idea is that the short subtle animation on certain elements provides the user with a sense of where they’ve come from, rather than just magically appearing without warning. Not only does this make the introduction of the elements less jarring, but it also gives the user a sense of how they would return to the previous state.

9. Increased use of full screen navigation


An interesting trend currently developing in the area of web design is the full screen navigation, usually accessed via a button or nav icon. On mobile, this technique feels natural and interestingly, many designers are starting to implement full screen navigation designs when viewing the website on desktops and larger screened devices.

Once the navigation is active, it becomes centre stage and opens up many new and interesting opportunities. For example, given the extra space you could opt to include the main actions you want your users to perform, such as a form for signing up to your newsletter, along with the navigation links. This will give the newsletter form a much larger focus as well as making it more contextually relevant than sticking it in the sidebar.  Check out Long Story Short for an example of this.

Expect web designers in 2015 to continue exploring this trend and all it’s potential advantages with promoting specific actions or redirecting focus.

10. Reduction in popup context


With the continued trend of more users browsing with mobile device over desktop, it makes sense to drop the popup context. Popups on mobile feels especially clunky and are often poorly implemented. And although it is equally not well liked on desktop, from our experience, popup context does increase readership and subscribers, compared to doing nothing.

So our prediction is that although popup context won’t be completely gone by the year’s end, websites will instead favour smarter and less intrusive implementations of these actions.

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  1. Codetoils

    The trends you have predicted are happening in 2016. This is the reason that I like this website and believe in the information provided here.

  2. WebsiteDesingningCompany

    I am wandering .. Parallax scrolling has removed the depth of a website. It is user friendly but what about search engines.. we don’t have dedicated pages for a group of keywords?

  3. technocrab

    I am sure that these predictions will come true in the near future. All i want to say that if any company works according to these predictions then they will earn a huge profit in this industry so web designing companies should follow these trend predictions.

  4. d

    Interesting post, thank you.
    Odd coincidence, just as I was reading that it makes sense to drop the popup, your site popped up a sign up form!


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