Trends and fashions are difficult to predict at the best of times, least of all with an industry constantly evolving and improving at such a rapid rate like digital design. But the continual increase in mobile and tablet usage helps pinpoint what areas will be improved, and which trends will continue to grow throughout 2014.
Simply put, the z-axis is the plain that exists between the x- and y-axis; in this context it describes the layers that sit above or below one another. As the devices that web pages are browsed on adapt and change with technological advances, so should the pages themselves. Rather than being simply considered as flat, infinite spaces, the z-axis has emerged as a way of implementing interfaces using a system of layers. This incorporation of three-dimensional interface design is increasingly in vogue with digital marketing agencies, and looks set to dominate the future of digital design.
Utilising more motion in various forms is another natural progression from the traditional flat web page design. Several factors point to this conclusion: the increasing popularity of video on Vine and Instagram, the ongoing heavy use of video content and transitions on popular websites, the resurgence of GIFs and more use of SVG graphics together with animation all suggest the use of motion is only set to increase in the future. It is one of the most simple, yet effective ways of making an impact. Using motion to differentiate from an otherwise flat, simple design, will increase user engagement and improve bounce rates. This trend allows more creativity when it comes to web design, which is why it is already popular in the digital and creative agency sectors.
Hand in hand with more motion comes the reduced reliance on text in digital design. The web seems to be becoming much less text-heavy in general, with many websites and apps having very little writing, and some none at all. Although this is currently popular, and looks set to grow, it has a limit, particularly as content is absolutely vital to a majority of websites.
For many websites, smartphone and tablet usage has already overtaken desktop usage. This shows no signs of slowing down, particularly with the meteoric rise to popularity of responsive web design. 2014 will see more people than ever before using tablets and smartphones as their primary web-browsing device.
Whilst website design has advanced significantly over recent years, the software tools have struggled to keep up. The glory days of Dreamweaver and Flash are gone, and even Adobe seems to have taken their foot off the pedal a little. The release of their new Edge Reflow product suite looks set to try and buck this trend.
More and more sites try to avoid loading new pages, instead choosing to provide additional content on existing pages. Overlays, repositioned tiles and lightboxes all help keep the amount of clicks in a user journey to a minimum.
The process of scrolling down a page and having the navigation remaining on the page is another aspect of digital design that has grown in popularity recently, and looks set to continue in 2014. The navigation will often reduce in height to a smaller bar or icon that will expand when needed, a practice that is becoming commonplace, particularly with newly created websites.Photo Credit to Vancouver Film School
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