Five web design trends for mid-2011 that you cannot ignore

The lines between design and development are fading. It’s the marriage of form and function, and that is a true beauty. Which essentially means that design has grown up, become responsible, and it is is now a team player with technology. Halfway through 2011, and there are a few dominant web design and development trends that seem to have emerged leaders. Before we go into detail, we need to remember that lately, emerging technology is affecting how web designers are planning and executing their work. Let’s look at five interesting mid-year trends…

1. Adapting to touch screens

Thanks to Steve Jobs and Apple, navigating the world wide web is moving fast from being driven by mouse and keyboard to thumb and finger. Thanks to the huge rush and take-up of the tablet format (a bow here to the iPad of course,), and smartphones, and even some desktop hybrid monitors – navigation has become a lot more tactile. It’s now touch, not click, and everything is at our fingertips. This is going to change web design hugely.

The tablet format, or even the mobile has thrown a curve ball at designers by introducing viewing orientation change. We need to be conscious that the viewer can via one flick of the wrist switch from horizontal to vertical. This is called ‘liquid layouts‘.

Then of course, with touch screen navigating, there is no hover or rollover. So how does the visitor know which one’s a link, which one’s not? How do we indicate links? How does a finger successfully navigate, hold and then go into a sub menu on a pulldown? It doesn’t. So, design needs to be aware and change.

2. HTML5

Yes, HTML5 is here for good. Thanks again to Apple and their avoidance of Flash, new format sites with any form of animation are headed towards HTML5. Our clients are increasingly asking for it. Flash-based uber designers are feeling the heat. Even in its infancy HTML5 is making huge inroads. Flash is still very much around, (see our post on HTML5 vs Flash earlier), but it’s a changing world, a new order.

While on this topic, one must mention the emergence of CSS3 in design. Elements like transparency of images, text handling etc are now easily done using code, not Photoshop. Yet another hit at Adobe?

3. Small screen vs big screen

This is a conundrum. Yes, for web design we have to be, we must design (thanks to smartphones) sites ready for mobile, ready for tablets, ready for anything. Without blinking and forgetting that while every one’s rushing off to do mobile-ready main sites (not made for mobile sites,but one site that can play on both screens), there’s this new trend of absorbing online media on our tv screens. All major tv manufacturers have introduced ‘internet-TVs‘. It’s tv and internet together at last, and designers are scrambling to utilize all that wonderful open space. The best trends are towards a happy medium. The best designers are searching for the holy grail – the one common solution that will work from 6cms to 60 inches!

4. Ready for a thumbnail view?

Increasingly, today’s Google user is making a go/no-go decision by using the magnifying glass next to the result of the search query. People want to see what you have out there on your site or the page quickly. They use the Magnifying Glass icon and there’s a preview. No longer do they need to go to your site by clicking through. Designers need to be aware of this quick look trend. How does the page look like in micro mode? Oh, and if it’s in Flash, then forget it. As today’s web visits become shorter and more user driven rather than design or brand driven, the ability to grab quick attention is key.

5. Simplicity and large scale photography

Forget the small format tiny little photos. Large, full sreen or widescreen photography is here, at least for the Summer of ’11. Web designers are going where no man has gone before, and treating us to full screen, high-resolution visual treats. Thanks again to the tablet format, I would say. And, it’s not just designers and photographers or magazines. Tech companies like Teletech, restaurants like Kuletos, and retail sites like Chicago L Shirts are all now fullscreen widescreen and gorgeous!

The other design trend is color simplicity. Monochrome or two-color sites are suddenly the norm this year. Web design in primary colors or across a single palette are pleasing to the eye, uncluttered and making big impact. Shun the temptation of the 256 color web safe palette. Minimal is now in.

This is 2011. And it’s liberating. Design is collaborating with tech and bringing us harmony and intuitiveness. At Innovations_Digital, we call it design ergonomics.

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This post was great but I think it is not a trend. For me this is all you need to have a successful website. Anyways, this is a great research and reference. If you want to have a good reference try visit my blog Web design trends 2018


This post is from 2011. Obviously the trends are completely out of date now.


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