As with just about every aspect of computing and the Internet, web design has seen much advancement over the past year. As technology continues to advance and we change the way we use the Internet, web designers need to keep up with the trends if they want to enjoy success in their online ventures. With more people connected to the Internet than ever before, using a wide variety of devices to do so, web designers need to program their sites to accommodate as large an audience as possible. Following is an overview of some of the most significant trends in web design over the past year.
Long gone are the times where web browsing was something restricted to just computers; these days, more and more people are getting online using smart phones such as the extremely popular iPhone. There are also ultra-portable tablet computers and tiny, lightweight netbooks which people use for browsing the web on a regular basis.
Because web designers should be thinking about reaching as many surfers as possible, it is often necessary these days to accommodate mobile browsers. Many sites provide versions of their websites for both mobile browsers and the traditional computer browsers.
Mobile browsing forces web designers to get creative since they have to work with a relatively small amount of space on the screen. Designing a version of a website that is properly optimized for the small screen also requires paying attention to the fact that most mobile browsers use touch-screens.
Larger, Better Quality Multimedia
We live in a time in which people are demanding higher quality graphics and multimedia every year. As Internet connections get faster all over the world, web designers no longer need to feel restricted to using low-quality images and videos. While a graphically-intensive site should ideally have a low-bandwidth version as well in most cases, it's a better time than ever to truly unleash the creative flair and provide surfers with a unique and memorable experience. This includes high quality image and texture backdrops as well. Gone are the days where web designers should feel the need to avoid large, high-quality images.
The same also applies to the use of Flash technology. While Flash has been around for a long time as a way to provide versatile and unique interfaces, it is more feasible than ever before to use it now thanks to faster Internet connections and improved compression and optimization technologies.
CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets)
Cascading style sheets have been around for quite some time. They provide the look and formatting for a website. The latest version, CSS3, has now hit the mainstream and with the new features supported, web designers have even more opportunity to present their sites in a unique and creative way. CSS3 provides web designers with features including rounded borders, shadow and glow effects, animations and enhanced typography.
While web designers should still be careful to avoid going over the top with eye candy at the expense of providing something of value to their visitors, infographic designs are also a great way to provide a user-friendly interface that also looks unique and attractive.
Social media is nothing new, but the industry continues to grow at an incredible pace. Web designers should never ignore the all-important aspect of social media as a powerful tool for marketing and an inspiration for design. Many people use social networking sites on a daily basis and using a similar format in sites where it is appropriate is a great way to provide a more familiar and welcoming interface to visitors.