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
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”.
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
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.”
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
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.”