Web design trends have been very popular. This is the first part of my blog series.
1. Responsive Layouts
This topic was my first point in the 2012 trend article, however I feel that responsive web design has been changing to ultimately come to a threshold where layouts are designed to match all forms of digital media. The idea is to support all devices from laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and anything released in the future.
You could think of this trend more like a uniform web design where the goal is to have a single set of codes which run perfectly on all environments. Responsive websites are often thought to cater towards mobile browsers, but that isn’t the sole purpose.
You can have a responsive website which also adds brilliant illustrations and graphics into the layout when the browser window is larger.
The big idea here is to think about website design as a single canvas which is dynamic and fluid by nature. CSS3 media queries allow developers to customize layouts based on limited or expanded screen real estate. Use this to your advantage and see how other designers are using it as well!
2. Retina Support
Along with responsive support for website layouts I have also seen a dramatic rise in people building for retina devices. Apple first engineered this idea with the iPhone 4 and has since applied this screen display onto their other devices, including the iPad and some MacBooks.
Retina screens are basically twice as dense as any average LCD. So they are the same number of physical pixels, but digitally twice as many pixels can be fitted into the same physical space.
This means pixel-perfect web designers supporting retina devices will need to create two sets of images. First you need to sample your image at double the resolution, then save a “standard” version at half the size. The larger image will be scaled down to the standard resolution and will look very crisp on retina screens.
Although this won’t detect CSS background image, it is still the most handy resource as opposed to coding everything in media queries.
3. Fixed Header Bars
Using the CSS position: fixed; property is a great way to staple a header bar onto your website. As visitors scroll down your page this will offer constant support for navigation and a trip back to the home page. This trend has been around for a while but now we are seeing this in full force.
Fixed headers are so interesting because they can work on practically any website. This includes social networks, blogs, and even design studios or private companies. The design is very trendy and looks great paired with most layouts. But aside from the aesthetics, this bar also provides an exceptional user experience without needing to look very far to navigate the website.
4. Large Photo Backgrounds
Photographers or even fans of photography will definitely enjoy this design trend. I have seen countless showcases discussing the ideas of big oversized photography in the background. It’s an excellent way to capture your visitor’s attention and it can look great when done properly.
I am often fond of big photographs since they can be pleasing on the eyes. When blended into your layout, this design technique can give your website a major edge in marketing. On this topic I always consider the ever popular design portfolio of Kerem Suer. This unique background photo behaves as custom branding for everybody who lands on his website.
5. CSS Transparency
The new CSS3 properties have allowed for opacity edits on any webpage element. This means you have control to generate transparency in any modern web browser – no Photoshop required! This trend of web design transparency was recently discussed on Codrops with some very enlivening talking points.
Squarespace transparent website layout css design
One excellent example is on the Squarespace Blog where the central wrapper is given a background: transparent property. Typically this can be used to generate some other background from repeating http://media02.hongkiat.com/web-design-trend-2013/, or to setup the background using internal elements.
Another interesting design technique for manipulating transparency is through rgba() color syntax. When designing in CSS you have the option of specifying colors using Red, Green, Blue, and Alpha-Transparency values. So using the syntax rgba(255,255,255,0.6) would generate the color white at only 60% opacity. This is certainly a design trend we can expect continuing into 2013 and beyond.