Web Design Trends to Watch for in 2012

This is an exciting time in website design. Today’s Internet has provided designers with an advanced platform to get creative, find innovative solutions and break down yesterday’s barriers that limited how a user interacted with a website.

Successful website design means keeping up with the latest design trends and techniques. Read on to see what Synapse is seeing (and doing) in the world of web design today.

CSS3 and HTML5
One of the newest trends is the increased use of CSS3 and HTML5. Most web designers are jumping from Flash to HTML5 because it gives developers more flexibility when connecting data, drawings, and videos; it decreases load time; and it eliminates the problem of Flash being unable to play on Apple products. Some of the new features of CSS3 include rounded corners, animated buttons, multiple backgrounds, box shadow, transparent images and much more. There are still some browser compatibility issues – mainly in Internet Explorer – with HTML5 and CSS3 but there are well-known fixes available.

Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design term is related to the concept of developing a website design in a manner that helps the layout to get changed according to the user’s computer screen resolution. By using this technique, it’s possible for the user to have a great experience on a website no matter what screen size, resolution or device type is being used. Responsive web design is particularly useful for displaying websites on tablets and smartphones.

Here’s an example. To see it in action, visit a site Synapse just launched:  www.members1st.org









Mobile Compatibility
Mobile compatibility is increasing in popularity due to the latest in tablet and smartphone technology. With so many different screen resolutions, accommodating the whole site on small mobile screens can be difficult. Instead of having to create a separate site, CSS3 allows web designers to accommodate mobile technology into the website by using a technique called responsive design (see above). This concept enables web designers to create one version of a website that fits in all devices rather than creating different version of the same website. Not only does it allow users of any screen size to have full view of the site but it conforms very easily to mobile and tablet.

We believe in the ‘One Web’ ideal. One Web means making, as far as is reasonable, the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using. Applying the One Web mentality to web design speeds up development time and safeguards your website from becoming obsolete on mobile devices and screen sizes that may not be currently in use.

Stylized Typography
Stylized typography is another technique that web designers are using to give their designs a different look. Typography has been overlooked because customizing it can be a complicated method. Now web designers can integrate custom fonts into websites with various tools which have helped them be more creative. Mixing bold and scrolling letters while using extra-large font sizes is becoming mainstream.

Synapse uses the most advanced font embedding software on our websites, which enables us to use more than 15,000 unique fonts on your website – while still reading as live text rather than images.






Ribbons and Banners
Although this design technique isn’t exactly new, it never truly broke through mainstream until just recently. You have probably seen examples of corner ribbons, banner navigation bars, and small ribbon badges.






Image Gallery Slideshows
With the subsequent popularity of jQuery, more and more image slideshows being dropped into web layouts. Galleries are perfect for demonstrating a quick glimpse of inner-page content. This could be a set of portfolio entries, photographs, blog posts with featured images, demo screenshots, etc.

When you consider the many unique sliding and fading animations, it has never been easier to construct a quick slideshow for your home page. You’ll see an uptick in these trends in 2012, and not just between designers. Online web applications and software companies have been seen using slideshows as guided tutorials to display screenshots and unique features.






Modal Popup Boxes
Modal boxes are still fairly new to the Internet considering they’ve been appearing in desktop software and mobile apps for years. The purpose of a modal window is to offer box content (such as user registration or login) on top of the current page without loading onto a new one.

One popular design technique is using a modal popup box in a lightbox effect where the background fades darker than the popup box.






Parallax Scrolling
Parallax scrolling in web design is the technique that features layered images that move around the website in different speeds and perspectives, creating interesting 3D illusions. This effect certainly makes scrolling around websites an interesting experience.

Check out these awesome examples of Parallax scrolling:

– Nike Jumpman
– Smokey Bones
– Art of Flight
– Nintendo Mario Kart

Oversized Icons
This unique trend semi-originates from the popularity of Mac OS X icon designs. As programmers began to launch websites for their Mac applications we all too frequently have seen the enormous sizes represented in branding. Accordingly, this trend has also been picked up through iOS developers and now comfortably rests within modern design culture.

It’s difficult to predict how icons will fare going forward. On the one hand these icons can be clunky and take up more space than necessary. Yet we’re not even close to hitting a shortage of iOS/OSX apps and designers are still churning out pixel-perfect icon specs. Not to mention that web designers are now including oversized icons within just about any page.





These ideas are only some of the more popular trends we have noticed gaining precedence in today’s world of web design and development. Great web design is always about creating an exceptional user experience. It’s unlikely these philosophies will differ in the future, but how we build layouts and present data is always in change.

We’d love to hear your comments.

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