Back in 2012, before Jony Ive became chief of Human Interface at Apple, I predicted that Apple would strip back their infamous iOS skeuomorphism and turn towards flat design.
I’m not suggesting that I called it before the endless debates on the subject began, but there’s no denying that this was some kind of crystal ball sh*t.
With that modest statement finally out in the open I wanted to outline some design trends that I think we’ll definitely (maybe) see more of throughout 2014.
1. Full screen hero sections on mobile websites
As designers get more creative with responsive websites the boundaries between app and web design blur further. Not so long ago landscape devices ruled the market but as designers embrace mobile through responsive design, support for the portrait ratio increases. As a result there has been a noticeable rise in full-screen intro and hero sections.
One recurring concern is that by filling the screen with one section the user may not realise there is more content below. Many websites counter this by encouraging the user to discover more content with a prompt to explore the rest of the page.
2. Flat and skeuomorphic design will merge
In 2013 there were countless “flat” vs “skeuomorphic” design debates, resulting in many designs styled either one way or the other. Since skeuomorphism traditionally offers real-world familiarity to keep interfaces naturally intuitive, flat design can be more limiting due to the amount of detail it strips away. Over time flat designs have increasingly included small prompts to enhance the user experience by using solid colours to imitate shadows or highlights.
The undeniable popularity of flat design shows no evidence of slowing down. But as designers become less precious over which camp they choose to sit in, I predict that old trends like grunge effects and textures will start to creep back in, forming some kind of flat/skeuomorphic hybrid.
3. Everything will be a lot more animated
As mobile phone hardware becomes more powerful, so does the performance and support of animation in mobile browsers. Much like the increase in full-screen background imagery mentioned above, mobile websites are behaving a lot more like apps as a result. Compared with static interfaces, those which include more movement and animation evoke a greater emotional response from the user.
Recently on dribbble (a community where designers showcase their work) the popularity of animation and movement within designs became so popular, a small label was introduced to identify which posts were animated and which were static. I predict not only will designers start thinking more above movement within their designs but that it will increase the need for specialist jobs within the industry.
If you’re reading this from the future like some kind of hipster Terminator, feel free to tell me how right or wrong I was over on twitter.