Web Design Trends in 2012

There is a thin line between design and development, and as we move into a new decade, this line is becoming extremely blurry. Is it enough to draw beautiful mock ups in Photoshop? Maybe 5 years ago. These days, the average internet user requires more. All beauty, with no substance, gets boring after a while. 2012 is not about beauty, it’s about function. The trends for this new year and emerging decade are responsive design, constant connection and virtual reality.

How will you stay relevant as a designer in 2012? The ultimate goal of a designer is not to dazzle but to entangle. Best practices evolve and change over time, technology we use, client needs, and user’s needs change too. Any designer can get ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ that are easily forgotten.

The supreme designer is able to create an environment which charms and captivates the user to the point where he does not want to find the ‘Back’ button. Several elements come together to forge such a wonderland: harmonious color scheme, intuitive design, easily accessible information and fast response.

Additionally, one can never under-estimate the power of simplicity. Of course, this has always been the case, but in 2012, you are no longer at the forgiving discretion of the desktop, or even laptop, computer.

Now, your design must contend with smart phones, iPads, netbooks, tablets and the like. What designers and developers do is complex ball juggling, so it makes sense that we are reticent to accept the hypervelocity of technology change.

Are you ready? We are because not everyone gets to sketch, brainstorm ideas, and play with colours all day.

1. More CSS3 + HTML5

What a gratifying sigh of relief! CSS3 and HTML5 have been on the distant horizon of web design for the past couple of years, but now, in 2012, we see an explosion of it.

2. Simple Color Schemes

Simplicity. There’s nothing quite as impacting as an honest message on a quiet backdrop.

3. Mobile Ready

This means your web design must be responsive to multiple viewports,

4. Parallax Scrolling

It’s not just for old school video games. The hot web design trend for 2012 is creating a sense of depth.

5. Designing for Touch Screens, Not Mice

How much of your design is mouse-oriented? As designers, we worship mice. Our links light up when the mouse hovers over. However, there’s no hovering in touchscreen. How will your design indicate links to your visitors? What about drop-down menus?

6. Depth Perception in Web Design

Depth perception is about creating dimension in your web design, so that parts of your site looks nearer than others. It conjures a faux 3D effect when done masterfully.

7. Large Photographic Backgrounds

Large scale backdrops will surge in 2012. Large photos are an instant way to grab your audience. The background photo must be content-appropriate.

8. Adventurous Domain Names & Integration

Although not in the strictest sense a web design issue, look forward to seeing more creative domain names.

9. QR: Quick Response

If you have noticed those square barcodes popping on business cards, magazines or elsewhere, you may already know that they are a hot trend for 2012. How exactly does it translate into web design? Amazingly well, in fact.

10. Thumbnail Design

The ever-enterprising folks at Google have introduced the average user to thumbnail browsing. Gone are the days of clicking through to see the content of a website.

11. Constant Connection/Life Stream

Expect to see more intimacy through the form of life streaming. Personal blogs and portfolios in 2012 will prominently feature live Twitter feeds. In fact, expect to see a dedicated life stream for all of one’s online activity.