Author: Karim Hachani

The time has come for a newly evolved Internet. While it has yet to reveal its final form, many changes in 2014 will dictate the way that people search for information, find new sites, watch media and engage with websites. As the digital age nears its peak, new technology will also arise and give way to all kinds of Internet-ready devices that aren’t just handheld devices. There are a few major web design trends to look out for in the new year and possibly implement in your own site design.

1. Scaling Design

Scaling design

Digital and mobile are tied to the hip right now. Responsive design is already so important to websites today, but in 2014, it’s going to be everywhere. Businesses are now seeing the importance of a design that can scale with any type of device that connects to their site. That’s what responsive design must do. There are plenty of guides out there on how to incorporate responsive design effectively and still maintain your site design, but it may also be best to completely revamp and include some other web design trends.

2. Parallax Scrolling

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Entertaining people by performing magic tricks is an old-fashioned game. Parallax scrolling plays off of that need for human beings to be impressively entertained. Parallax scrolling allows websites to create the optical illusion of 3D images while scrolling at different speeds. One good example is www.boy-coy.com. The effect uses multiple background layers that create depth on a flat page. Apple also adapted the new parallax scrolling on iOS 7.

3. It’s All About Simplicity

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Users are looking for information that pops up within seconds. Your site has to load quickly and provide something engaging in the snap of a finger. Otherwise, they’ll likely move on to something that really interests them. It can be a little frustrating, but the way to go is simple web design. Too many graphics, drop shadows, gradients, bevels and animations just won’t cut it in the new age. In 2014, sites will move towards large typography, simple UIs and solid colors. There may still be a few high resolution images in the picture, but they will be solitary and intriguing to the user. Many web designers have looked a single page web design, but this can be tricky for SEO. It also involves a lot of scrolling. However, single page design may evolve into something that benefits both users and businesses.

4. A Word on Typography

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Typography is going places in 2014. It’s about more than funny looking words. They are design elements and need to be utilized appropriately. Typography will become incredibly important as new premium typefaces will be defined in large, bold print on business sites using interesting call-to-actions and headlines to draw user interest. A font can plant a variety of thoughts in a user’s mind, so it’s important to pick the typeface that truly correlates to your brand or content.

5. Get Stuck On Headers

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Sticky navigation, stationary headers or fixed headers are already popular, but the trend will expand as sites redesign for the new year. The fixed header increases a site’s usability and provides navigation to the user in a clearly defined way. The sticky header is found on every page and usually contains a logo and some links, but businesses may also want to use a call-to-action button or contact link with just a logo.

6. Bye, Bye Flash and Splash Pages

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It’s not that no one likes you Flash, it’s just that everyone’s outgrown you. Well, that’s not entirely true. Flash has its uses, but it’s not the best for web design and never has been. It’s slow, complicated and simply doesn’t work for mobile. Web design will now focus on using Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3. Straightforward pre-processors will make it easy to get animations on a site like SASS, LESS and jQuery. Splash pages seem like a good idea, but there are some issues with providing information to Google at the moment. Google needs to understand what a splash page is to rank the information, so it’s still in the early stages of designing these pages for SEO uses.

7. Visually Grabbing Backgrounds

Background for webpages,

The full width background is here to stay. A large background with big, bold typography is the absolute in simple web design, and it’s already a major trend in 2013. As more websites look to spark a feeling in their visitors, they’ll want to use high definition full width backgrounds that relate to the site’s theme, brand and content.

8. Interactive Infographics

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Infographics can be rather stale and stationary, which is why the trend is moving towards engaging infographics that move with the user. You can click on the areas, reveal information with cool animations and even use 3D effects to highlight the most intriguing parts of an infographic. In essence, it becomes something much more than a standalone PDF.

9. Minimal Iconography

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Icons can jump out at users if they are designed well and contribute to the overall design of a page. However, too many icons can clutter up a page. It’s best to stick with a traditional three icons for social media to utilize other web design space. However, sites are also using innovative icons to denote where users can click for more information or guide the user’s eye to the right link. Swims is a great example of how to use iconography for product web design.

10. The Refined Animated Gif

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Animated gif

Video backgrounds can be hard to load, but with an animated GIF and today’s Internet speeds, many companies are providing that extra movement to interest the user’s eyes with creative animation. While GIFs are already pretty popular for every kind of cat sleeping, playing, jumping and ninja hiding there is, you should expect to see more refined and elegant uses of GIFs by major brands. For example, the Kenneth Cole Awearness Campaign uses a smooth animated GIF to advertise their newest fundraiser.

In addition to these popular trends coming up for 2014, there are some things that will undoubtedly fall away from the picture. Home page sliding banners used to be quite popular, but they’re typically not interactive and don’t allow any interaction from users. Extensive fill-out forms will also fall away as well as circular script logos, slow-loading Flash intros, multiple fonts and complicated designs.

Going forward in 2014, it will be most important to utilize minimal design and engaging typography to impress your visitors. Once you add in some high resolution images and master your content management system, you’ll be able to attract all users from any device and maintain your site with fresh updates. If you need some inspiration, you can always check out Awwwards to see top web design examples.

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Passionate blogger, social media guru, seo master, the coolest geek you'll ever meet, he will help you bling your blog and make your social web sexy! Karim Hachani is also the Founder of Pepperweb. Google+

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