Web design is constantly evolving, pushing the limits of human interaction with technology. 2014 was marked by grid layouts, big typography, background videos and parallax scrolling. So what trends, technologies and techniques will emerge in 2015?
Inspired by the 'cinematic' and 'magazine-cover' approach, big backgrounds are perhaps the single most important trend currently influencing web design. Their rise is set to continue with both images and video being used alongside rich typography, animation and subtle parallax effects – all thanks to HTML5, CCS3 and faster connectivity.
The format of a card (or tile) as a design pattern for displaying information in bite-sized chunks is not new, but with big brands like Google, Pinterest and Spotify all using cards, it's pretty certain they're here to stay. They are perfect for mobile devices and responsive design - content needs to 'fit' on different types and sizes of screens, and by breaking the content down into component parts, cards are the simplest way to make that work across all platforms.
Responsive design will go much further through the proliferation of everything from Ultra HD screens to small wearable devices like the Apple Watch. We can expect to see greater convergence between web and native apps.
Material Design is Google's design language which brings the user interface in line with reality - where elements, transitions, and animations appear as if in real life. Flat design was all about getting rid of extra visual artefacts that cluttered the screen, but it also got rid of some important details that make screens easier to read and interact with. Material Design is a systematic approach to how humans interact with devices - soft directional lighting and shadow, meaningful motion, choreographed animation, fluid and seamless touch transitions, and of course best-practice use of responsive design.
Most popular in 2014 was parallax scrolling where backgrounds move at a slower rate than the foreground content. Along with modular scrolling where individual columns move as well as the whole page, we expect to see more, highly innovative, narrative driven web pages in 2015. On the subject of scrolling, we may well be scrolling more and clicking less. It's quicker, mobile-friendly, and a non-committal action that requires less thought - perfect for webpages intended for storytelling.