2013 Website Design Trends

In 2013, web design continued to evolve. Mobile devices became even more widespread. Desktop sites continue to be simple and engage the user.

With newer technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3, more design and style options are possible which results in rich, chic, and elegant sites. HTML5 allows you to watch videos without needing a plug-in such as Flash. CSS3 allows easier way to apply stylesheets to different conditions, such as browsers and screen size.

These are the top 10 trends for 2013.

1. Importance of Content

“Content is King.” – Bill Gates (1/3/1996)

Without content, there would be no website. There must be enough content to get the point across without exaggerating or appearing as verbiage to the user. The content that works the best takes a few seconds to grab the user’s attention and keeps them engaged.

Content has always been a trend and will continue to be one.

2. User-Centered Design

UX, or User Experience, is the evaluation of how users feel about a system. A key factor in website design is how the users perceive it. Is the site easy to use? Does it look nice? Does the website provide a value? How are users interacting with the site? UX Design is important because it puts people first.

With users turning to their mobile devices for more and more aspects of their lives, UX-centered design is more important than ever. Websites that are rich in content and visual effects must enhance the user experience and meet the needs of the user.

3. Responsive Design

It was hard enough to ensure that websites functioned on a variety of desktop browsers—now websites must respond to the variety of mobile phones and tablets on the market, as well! This is called responsive design—design that responds to the user’s preferences. Developers must pay more attention to the website design in the early stages of development to ensure that it is responsive to many devices—everything from desktop browsers like Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, to Apple and Android mobile devices, and many others.

4. Moving away from Skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphism is the practice of an object copying the design of a similar object to convey a message more easily. Some examples of skeumorphisims are the concept of arranging folders and documents on a desktop or moving an item into the trash or recycling bin, much like you would throw something away in real life. Email programs are represented by an envelope mimicking a real life letter. Books are placed on a bookshelf to show your reading list.

Apple recently announced their decision to move away from skeuomorphism and take a more minimalistic approach. In the past, design leaned more towards the visual cues for what to do on the desktop or mobile device. Nowadays, people are more knowledgeable about technology and use it more than ever before resulting in more knowledge and understanding of how programs work. Some basic skeuomorphism techniques will still remain, while others will move towards newer inspired designs.

5. Social Media

Social media will be integrated in web designs more and more frequently. Social media plays an important part in marketing to a business. You want users to “like” or “follow” your site, as well as promote your products and services. Web designs need to ensure they include the most popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, but don’t forget about Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Yelp, Foursquare, Instagram and many more. The social networks that should be included on a website will depend on what type of website it is.

6. Simplicity of Design

In web design, less is more. It is usually best practice to take a minimalistic approach. Pages that are cluttered with too many ads and too much content distract the user and take away from engaging the user in the site. Many pages will be designed using more whitespace, drawing attention directly to the content on the page rather than having the user looking everywhere.

7. Single Page Design

In 2013, the single page design has taken off. A single page website is simple, modern-looking and unique. They tend to grab the user’s attention faster but it is challenging to ensure the right amount of content is on the page.

A single page is a page where clicking a link takes you to another part of the page, not an entirely new page. The change between the “pages” has a scrolling or sliding effect. The page can also be designed for the user to scroll through or only be one single page with all the necessary content on one page. The style of the single page design will depend on the content of the site.

8. Fixed Header Bars

Fixed header bars aren’t new, but they haven’t caught on quickly until now. This year, many more pages have a header bar that remains in place as the user browses around the site. This makes for easier navigation and a more pleasing look and feel.

9. Typography

Typography has gained more importance as a key element in web design. Presenting the content in a nice font is taking the place of images and Javascript. This makes the site more responsive than dealing with more complicated designs because it is easier for the user to read and feels more pleasing to the eye.

10. Visuals and Graphics

Detailed graphics and large images are being used to make an impact and to capture the attention span of the user in just a few seconds. Many sites are using large graphics on their landing page to make an impact. Even though they are using large images and visuals, the landing pages still take a minimalistic approach when it comes to their design.