Ok so the year’s not quite finished, although as 2012 has been a huge year in terms of web development, we feel that it’s safe to reflect, albeit a little prematurely, on the top web development trends of 2012.
Similar to 2011, this year has seen some radical changes in internet technology and web design with this year’s buzzword being mobile web design and development. Take a look at the best web development trends of 2012.
Hand-drawn designs and the rise of personal interaction
You may or may not have noticed the recent trend for websites to incorporate hand-drawn designs. Whilst images on a site that have been hand-drawn are not entirely new to web design, there does seem to be an increasing demand for such arty illustrations. As Internet Solutions Provider CPR Enterprises avows:
“These designs are not exactly headed to an art museum, but they do convey a sense of whimsy, and blur the line between cold web and personal interaction – the ultimate goal of the internet. If you can doodle, you can sketch for web design.”
With the web design and development industry experiencing, as Happy Cog founder Jeffrey Zeldman refers to as a “standards nightmare”, with there being: “A plethora of devices out there with widely differing abilities,” there has never been so much emphasis on building interfaces that are compatible with a wide platform of devices. Henceforth the arrival of responsive design. Just over 12 months ago, an official report was released by the telecoms regulator Ofcom, announcing that nearly one in three adults used a smartphone. With such a prolific rise in mobile technology in the last two years it is naturally within everyone in the industry’s interest to build a website that is appealing for mobile users as well as conventional online use. From the building of a site, to the user experience, to site marketing, having a website that adapts to different user platforms, including mobile ones, has been a key web development trend of 2012.
In June this year the official Google blog announced an authoritative stance on smartphone optimised websites. Google’s headline grabbing announcement effectively pronounced that to ensure a website is optimised in the best way for both search engine spiders and for smartphones, responsive web design is the way forward.
In short, the advances in responsive web design development we have seen in recent months has been dedicated to making users feel as comfortable as possible when interacting with anywhere in a site’s design.
Oversized logos and headers
2012 has seen a rise in web designers using oversized logos and headers on sites for the simple reason to make a more memorable impression on the visitor. Due to years of poor navigation, the phrase “clicking phobia” was coined. These giant-sized logos and headers aim to eradicate the annoyance of clicking phobia, whereby users click away erroneously in desperation to navigate to somewhere new, as they often take up an entire page in which visitors don’t have to click but simply scroll down.
Having been cited as being one of the most difficult trends to tackle, typography has remained an experimental and innovative design trend in recent months. Fonts that are moulded, twisted and explored to fit the purposes of a site, in other words, utilise typography as its leading design element, will inevitably be more attractive for a visitor then overloading a site with hordes of photos.
The trend of incorporating modal boxes into the design of a site has been gradually gaining popularity in the past couple of years. What is effectively the pop-up’s more refined sibling, the smoother, aesthetically-superior and more sophisticated modal box have become a popular feature for web designers that are primarily concerned with usability.
2012 has seen some prolific changes in web design and internet changes. These five web development trends are just the tip of the iceberg in a wide-ranging host of hot trends in web design, and the year isn't even over. One can only expect that next year will see similar advancements in web design technology and trends.