As the web matures, so does its capacity to support a vital design community. New trends constantly ebb and flow, with many gaining no traction at all, but some have the potential for real impact and lasting effect. Here are a few ideas that have earned strong support in the last year or two and look to have an even stronger impact as time goes on.
1. Material designMaterial design was a huge success for Google with Android. Originally a design language the engineers hoped would ease the process of creating seamless, elegant user interfaces for Android phones and tablets, web designers have expanded the concept and built entire websites using the idea. A clear, concise, crisp look with an intuitive interface, material design's expansion into web design makes a great deal of sense, whether for desktop or mobile. As a bonus, the open source nature of material design means free resources like Materialize and Material UI can create custom code to help ease your integration of the language.
2. Sketch appSketch App, currently only for Mac, is making a real dent in Photoshop's monopoly in UI design for everything from icons to wireframes. Sketch gives designers a simple, smooth space to craft vector elements with a similar feature set, but at a much lower pricepoint than Photoshop. While there are no plans at present to expand Sketch to Windows PCs, if its success continues to grow, it seems inevitable.
3. Card layoutIntroduced by web resources like Google Now and Pinterest, card layouts have become a trendy look for content-heavy sites and blogs. Cards can be static or animated, of varying heights and widths, and are easily scannable for readers. It's best for sites with a great deal of information, and easily adapted via free online resources.
4. Touch supportThe preponderance of users viewing websites on touch-enabled devices, whether phones, tablets, or PCs, makes the implementation of touch-specific features a no-brainer. A simple search will reveal many plugins, such as the popular Photoswipe, available for sites that offer interesting features to add value to browsers. The ability to handle specific tasks via touch, beyond the basic touch features already available when browsing the web on your smartphone, will offer visitors something to hold their attention and traffic, keeping their eyes on your page and engaging them in an active way.
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