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Web Design Trend Breakdown

It’s time for our semi-regular, informal gathering together and breaking down of the latest and greatest web design trends. Let’s get straight to the meat:

Parallax — the ability to set up a website with multiple layers such that the ‘deepest’ layers move more slowly while the topmost layers travel more quickly — has been around for several years, but has only really exploded lately. I largely regard this as a reaction to the depthlessness of Flat Design, which was really in about seven months ago, and as a pretty good thing in general. If you’re really talented, you can combine Parallax with…

Infinite Scrolling — probably the most user-friendly of the latest advances in design tech. Infinite scrolling sites (I think the most popular is probably Forbes.com) actively gather and load new content below the fold so that as you scroll down, you get the next story in line, and the next, and the next. It’s essentially the opposite of the extreme amount of pagination that many sites (looking at you, About.com) use in order to increase advertising exposures. While many sites use Infinite Scrolling to keep the text coming, it’s also just as easily used when you’re using…

Dynamic Picture GridsPinterest.com is probably the first truly major site to make a grid of pictures with a small caption each into a model that worked — but boy, howdy, did it work! Today, many sites have mimicked Pinterest’s visual model, because it’s incredibly attractive to the eye (and thus to the mouse click.) The movement of large, clear, eye-catching pictures is so important to web design right now that it also appears in the form of…

Dynamic Carousels — first showing up on mobile devices as a way to make icons and pictures ‘flip past’ in a satisfying manor, dynamic carousels are showing up all over the Web now, too. They made the leap to mobile-oriented websites, but now you can find them all over the Internet, and it’s a great thing because it’s both intuitive and pretty. In fact, many websites are combining Dynamic Carousels with…

The Hero Image — the Hero Image is a massive picture designed to take up half or more of the screen above the fold, and to communicate that thousand words that pictures are famed for being worth. Some pages a have a mountain of content below the fold, so the Hero Image maintains its dominant place in the first impressions of the visitor that’s arriving. Others skip the landing-page content altogether and simply use a Hero Image with some form of “Enter Here” button, most likely using…

Ghost Buttons — usually transparent, usually rectangular, and made to either be nearly invisible against the background (like those “No Thanks” buttons in the top corners of ads that really don’t want you to click anything except “Buy Now”) or to stand out so that it’s impossible to miss. Ghost buttons have been around for a long time, but their popularity started rising with the advent of iOS7 and hasn’t started flagging yet, so they’ll probably be around for a long time.

None of these trends are going to represent any sort of foundational shift in how we use the Internet — but they’re definitely going to shape what the Web looks like for years to come.

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