Top Website Design Trends to Implement in 2014

Cameron Madill

The web as we know it is over 20 years old. As with anything that grows, the world wide web has changed dramatically over the last two decades. Like the internet, website design techniques constantly evolve to enhance the user experience.

While not all of the upcoming trends may be appropriate for your website redesign or audience, it’s good to know what’s available and popular so you can effectively and efficiently reach your visitors.

2014 Website Design Trends

The Walking Dead site used a great parallax effect.

The Walking Dead site used a great parallax effect.

Parallax scrolling:

Parallax scrolling brings websites to life while adding depth to images and text. Examples of this technique include changing graphics or animations so that they start to play as you scroll past them on a page.

This scrolling technique implements HTML5 and CSS3 for a low-cost, cosmetic design solution that can boost the wow-factor of your site.

Single page design:

Websites usually have a handful of pages that you can access using navigation links. Smaller sites with less content are easing away from this model to a simpler one, incorporating images and content onto a single web page.

Single page design often utilizes parallax scrolling so visitors do not have to search through many pages to find the most important information.

While this trend is great for removing unnecessary clutter, it may not be the best if your site is content-rich, or if you are aiming to increase its SEO.

Fixed headers

Fixed headers have gained in popularity alongside responsive design.

Fixed headers

The hot trend in 2014 for content-rich websites is a fixed header bar at the top of the page. A fixed header stays put on a browser window and doesn’t disappear as a visitor scrolls down the page. This technique makes it easier to navigate between pages within the site instead of scrolling back to the top of the page.

Responsive website design

Responsive design streamlines the process of designing a website for both desktop and mobile, ensuring that the website content looks consistent and works seamlessly for all device sizes.

Flat Web design

Flat Icons

Windows 8, Facebook and Gmail all use it —- a flat Web design and user interface that capitalizes on simplicity. Flat design does away with heavy gradients, shadows, unnecessary decorations, three-dimensional effects and images that don’t add value to the content.

Instead, the emphasis is on bold lines, creative typography and saturated colors. This design technique offers a cleaner look for content that’s easier to scan and process. Flat design can enhance a website’s responsive design and allow pages to load faster.

Larger Font Sizes

Large fonts

While 12-point font is great for school papers, it can be difficult to read on a computer screen and seemingly impossible to see on some mobile devices. 2014 is the year when website redesigns will include larger text that’s attention-grabbing, readable and easier on the eyes.

A solid, focused web design is more important than a trendy one that doesn’t serve a purpose. As you plan your changes with a web designer, take into consideration your goals for the site, your company’s objectives and values, and key conversion points that you want to enhance.

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  • g00glen00b

    Upcoming trends? These look like the trends of the past year to me. Nonetheless they will probably be trendy this year as well.

    • Gil Fewster

      Agreed. This article should have been titled “Web design trends and cliches of the past 12 or more months which are likely to continue into the next year.” But I guess that’s less catchy.

    • http://stuey.net/ Stuart Starr

      Amen. These are not just trends but they are standard. Fixed header that shrinks on scroll followed by a huge hero image. Then 3 feature boxes with large icons. Call to action within a parallax full width section and nice chunky but flat button. Team or client carousel. Testimonials. Rinse. Repeat. What is next?

      • Christian Bonato

        Oh Dear Lord, save us from Vanilla Bootstrap.

  • http://www.acewebacademy.com/ Acewebacademy

    This was the trend prevailed almost a year back. Nothing has been mentioned
    about the latest trends

  • greedness

    Dont forget the square, metro-like interfaces

    • http://www.lifesuccess.asia/ Pitou

      Flat generation now, maybe no need square ;)

  • David Sheppard

    No mention of mobile UI elements coming to standard websites, off screen menus, and slide down notifications.

    • Alex Walker

      That’s a good call, David. Not sure about the off screen menus (though Foundation packs them in for free now) but I’m seeing slide down notifications everywhere.

  • http://w3responsive.com/ Javed Ur Rehman

    Indeed these are web design trends that are implementing, these increase the appearance of website and give a better and professional look, flat designs look awesome on mobile devices, great share Cameron Madill.

  • harishchouhan

    Thanks for sharing Cameron. Do have a look at http://flattrendz.com for some flat design inspiration.

  • Alex Walker

    Point taken, Max. ;)

  • http://www.sovainfotech.com/ Sova Infotech

    Less text will probably stand up as yet another web design trend for 2014. The World Wide Web is becoming significantly less text heavy and there are many websites and apps devoid of visible text. Instead, a growing dependence is noticed on images and icons.

  • ceasehope

    FIXED HEADERS!!!?? Can you say ‘frames’? Most of you are too young to remember frames. It was brutal

    • Alex Walker

      Frames were actually pretty useful in lots of cases . They just had a bunch of issues — direct linking to page, SEO /search concerns, splitting content across pages, etc — that made us move away from them as a solution. Modern fixed headers don’t really have any of those concerns.

  • Francis

    Large text: a lot of web sites (esp blogs) now show HUGE typefaces on desktop. That’s not responsive, it’s applying mobile rules to everyone, like Windows 8 that makes sense on mobile and tablet but fails on the desktop.

  • Roy

    I don’t think responsive web design is a ‘trend’ so much as it is a standard nowadays with mobiles and tablets being increasingly used for web browsing.

    Flat web design is IMO on the other side of the coin too much of a fad – it’s boring when every site starts looking every other. Bootstrap is another commonly seen design ‘trend’ – not that it isn’t handy, but effort should be put into customising it. If you want your website to stand out from the crowd, the last thing you want is for it to look like many other sites out there.

  • Steve Norris

    the issue here is that sites tend to move, die or change, and the last thing you want is a dead link on your portfolio area! Clients are not going to let you know if their site moves or is replaced with a new one

    • http://www.nixonvs.com/ Nixon Virtual Strategies

      True, but as an admin of your site you should regularly be running programs that check for broken links and such. I just used one a few days ago and updated some broken links to pages I’d referred to in prior blog posts.

  • Matt M.

    The second trend needs to die immediately. I have never visited a “one page site” where I had a decent user experience. They are horrible to navigate and often impossible to bookmark (individual “pages”). I’m 50-50 on the flat web design trend. It can be good (Facebook), but it can also be bad (Sitepoint), or horrible (Windows 8).

    • Christian Bonato

      SPA are coming your way, like it or not. The future belongs to webdesigners who understand that it is the web page that is dying. Sitepoint’s current design is top notch when it comes to readability. FB, well designed ? Really ? Read the “Larger Font Sizes” paragraph again, at least he got that one right.

  • wordsilk

    We started out with a single-page design (c. early 2012) to sell a new education course. Didn’t work very well. We switched to a “normal” layout and sales went way, way up. This is for a pretty pricey product (an art course), so my guess is potential customers didn’t find the single-page “meaty” enough to back up the purchase.

  • http://www.gefundenwerden.at/ gefundenwerden

    i love parallax

  • nvrau

    Let’s hope larger font size… I have to zoom almost every website I go to and thus the web is skewed and often creates a LOT of horizontal scrolling.

  • Grey

    And it’s so gratifying to block your stupid fucking ‘awesome bar’ on this site. Thank you, AdBlock.

  • Christian Bonato

    Fixed top header — OK for desktops and laptops, but I would definitely switch for a bottom fixed nav on tablets and phones. Closer to the fingers.

    Don’t forget that on mobile platforms, the finger is your pointer, and alas the finger is attached to the hand. Therefore you may find yourself constantly hiding the page content each time you interact with the nav.

    I always hated the Windows 95 bottom navbar approach on desktop screens, but on “hand-piloted” devices, the bottom positioning makes sense.

    I may add that semi-fixed navbar are more trendy : a simplified version of the topnav that floats above the content when the users scrolls down a page that has content below the fold.

  • g00glen00b

    I wouldn’t call them “new”. The hype of flat design is already there for a while now, same for responsive design (I think that hype came together with Twitter Bootstrap) and fix navigation. The only trend I didn’t hear about yet is long shadow.

  • andyrwebman

    Flat design – an awful trend based on trying to make everything look like what works on a mobile. YUCK!

    This whole thing about “trends” sucks – why do we all have to be like sheep?

    The web used to be great, then along came the mobile and it was like going from advanced literature to kindergarten books. Over simplicity is for the overly simple