10 web design trends that will change everything in 2015

Some of the web’s smartest designers and thinkers reveal the trends and technologies they believe will transform the web in 2015.

In 2014, the biggest web design trends included: grid layouts, flat design, background videos, and the increasing capabilities of HTML5 APIs.

So which trends, technologies and techniques will define 2015? net magazine set out to uncover them by asking 20 of the web’s brightest designers, developers and thinkers.

Here’s our list of 2015’s defining trends. Some ideas are featured in net magazine’s feature. Most contained here are exclusive, and you won’t read them anywhere else.

01. Card-based design

Creative director Haraldur Thorleifsson says card-based design will be big: “Content needs to fit on different types and sizes of screen, and cards are the easiest way to make that work across platforms.” He adds this presents a design challenge, since cards can be dull, “but we’re seeing fun, clever takes on this from companies like Google”.

02. Disruptive frameworks

Developer Jack Franklin is “looking forward to large, prominent JavaScript frameworks continuing to grow and adapt over time, and how new frameworks can disrupt with different approaches”.

Coupled with the continuing support and development of ECMAScript 6, he says this “should lead to some really interesting developments and new approaches in 2015”.

Clearleft’s Jeremy Keith especially thinks Zaatar.js “shows what the future of JavaScript apps will look like: powerful, modular, and scalable”.

03. Device APIs

Speaker and designer Ruth John believes 2015 will see a rise in the use of device APIs: “The hot topic will be the web working even closer to mobile, with API such as Simple Push, Network Information and Mobile Connection gaining in popularity.”

04. Element queries

Anselm Hannemann says element queries will become important as the shift to web components accelerates: “You’ll be able to switch breakpoints based on parent elements, which is useful if you don’t know about the surroundings of the element or in what context the element is in.”

05. Huge background images

Blame Apple for more massive backgrounds images

Front-end developer Benjamin Hollway expects more massive background images in 2015, “used alongside rich typography and subtle parallax effects”, largely due to the lead taken by massive brands such as Apple and Google Nexus.

06. Experimental layouts

Designer Katie Kovalcin thinks “experimental design layouts and patterns will make a comeback”. In last year’s sites, a clean, flat aesthetic predominated. In 2015, she believes projects need to differentiate. “We need to push through the ‘Twitter bootstrap’ era and into new terrain.”

07. Isometric JavaScript

Aaron Gustafson has a different take on JavaScript frameworks

Web design author and practitioner Aaron Gustafson has an alternate take on investment in frontend JavaScript frameworks like Angular and Ember: “Development benefits can be great in terms of speed of development, but there are costs to using this approach. JavaScript is the single biggest point of failure in any web-based product. Unlike on the server side, we do not control the execution of code in the browser.”

He therefore reckons we’ll see more use of isomorphic JavaScript, for companies that have heavily invested in JavaScript for their site infrastructure: “It offers improvements in the areas of performance, SEO, and maintainability to boot. Airbnb and Twitter have moved to this approach. Others will surely follow.”

08. Iteration

Designer Robby Leonardi mulls that perhaps 2015’s big trend will be iteration on what we already have: “We just had trends such as responsive and flat design, and it will take time for another big thing to happen.”

By contrast, he sees enhancements on existing concepts and technologies, with increasingly sophisticated web layouts, better typography, and more designing in the browser.

09. Vibrant design

Google’s Material design is set to inspire designers

BaseKit co-founder Richard Healy believes Google’s Material design specification – intended to combine the texture and tactility of paper and ink with the ‘imagination and magic of digital’ – will inspire designers.

He told us: “Think bold, graphical and intentional. We’re talking vibrant, unexpected colours, contrasted with subdued and muted environments; large-scale typography, soft directional lighting and shadow; the use of responsive design best practices; and meaningful motion – carefully choreographed animation that provides fluid, seamless touch transitions and, more importantly, delights users.”

10. Web components meet adaptive design

Developer Aaron T Grogg predicts “web components and adaptive development will combine to create a new style of web development”. Someone will then fashion a “snappy acronym for this approach, which will cause all job ads to now require it”.

By adaptive, Aaron clarifies he means making decisions on the server regarding mark-up to send a user, usually depending on the device being used. “When you combine the power of adaptive development with the flexibility of web components, I think we are going to see very creative solutions from designers and developers.

Hopefully, we will still be creating mobile-first, responsive, one-site-for-all-devices, but making subtle differences will be powerful tools in our toolboxes.”

Posted on January 22, 2015 in Design, General Interest

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