It will be a year for embedding design patterns into our favorite sites so that interactions feel intuitive across all our devices. Websites now need to be completely and thoughtfully responsive to match user expectations. Specific trends to follow as you jump around the Internet include:
- Card layouts (like Pinterest, BuzzFeed and Facebook Open Graph) give your users bite sized “chunks” to consume quickly whilst “grazing”. They provide neat content containers and are popping up everywhere.
- Micro-interactions take apps and websites forward in the area of two-way communication. By “liking” or “checking-in” the user is offering the content owner a status report, which turns into an acknowledgement that their input has had an effect. The user finds that very satisfying. The provider gathers data to make the content richer and more relevant in the future.
- Material design is now offering an alternative to pervasive flat design. Google have pushed this and are bringing back shadows, depth and movement which combine to make the web feel more realistic.
- Lots of scrolling on mobile is now an acceptable way to tell a good story. Splitting the scroll intelligently can improve an experience, but overall users don’t mind scrolling down.
- Usability tools and testing will mature to become more easily accessible for developers to validate that their digital proposition can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.
- UI animation in a post-flash world is getting more sophisticated and the tools for making it are getting easier to master.
- Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page initiative should see the mobile web focus on blistering load speeds and a faster mobile internet.
- Digital storytelling will continue to define the success of content focused propositions. Understand your audience and offer them something useful, personal, relevant, entertaining or intelligent. Users are getting tired of too much choice and want safe havens that satisfy them every time.