2013 – A year in review

As 2013 comes to an end, we can’t help to look back at the year and reminisce. Whether it is the floods that affected millions throughout the Philippines, or even our own neighbours to the south, we also remember the joy from the birth of a Royal baby, and the mourning of the loss of many iconic people. However 2013 was also a big year in the online world, as we saw the beginning of a lot of new trends, and the fall of some older ones. Here is a list of a few trends from the past year, some of which will continue to shape the web throughout 2014.

1. Responsive Web Design/Mobile first

Although not a new idea of 2013, responsive web design and mobile-first have caught fire throughout the last year. With a countless amount of CSS Frameworks on the rise, responsive web design is now easier than ever.

amp

Day by day, the number of devices, platforms and browsers that need to work with your site grows. “Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come…” – Jeffrey Veen

Mobile browsing, responsive web design and mobile-first approaches are definitely trends that are here to stay.

Here is a list of a few CSS Frameworks:

2. Large Image Backgrounds

Another idea that is not necessarily new, but has taken a stand in the foreground of 2013 web trends is large, high quality background images with text overlays.

Chimo Website

This trend makes for an impressive visual impact as the designer uses a background image to quickly establish the mood, branding and purpose of a website.

A few reminders when using large background images:

  1. Use good quality photos. No one wants to go to your website and see a low resolution photo taken from your phone.
  2. Keep mobile in mind. With the use of large photos, your site may start to suck bandwidth from mobile users. Use media-queries to keep your file size appropriate for the device being used.
  3. Test test test. Although your image may look good on your screen, test it on multiple browsers and multiple screen sizes.

Although the trend in 2013 revolved mostly around large static photos, don’t be surprised to see a rise of large background animations and videos in 2014.

3. Flat Design

While the web 2.0 use of 3D design, dramatic gradients, drop shadows and shines were fun, a more flat design approach has virtually taken over in 2013. Even major players like Apple have followed this trend with the release of the new iOS7.

ios7Source: Apple

Flat design is a style that takes the focus away from the eye-popping, surreal or 3D images, and instead focuses more on color, usability and content.

Flat websites offer a pleasing visual through clean, minimalistic design with a focus on great typography and content.

JA Website

Combining these techniques with CSS3 also impacts website loading times. We are no longer dependent on heavy texture and gradient images.

Although flat design can be considered a website “trend” of 2013, I feel like this will be more than an “in and out” technique like other trends before. I think that we will continue to see this flat design look through the years to come.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the powerful trends that have made an impact in 2013. And of course, as the industry surges forward, new trends will continue to appear. We are excited to see what 2014 has to offer!