The web design industry is, as with technology in general, ever-changing. As we approach the end of 2013, we will begin to look back at the year and how we’ve changed or stayed constant in the field. In 2012 and the beginning of 2013 we predicted the web design trends of 2013, and now it’s time to see which were true. Here are the latest web design trends.

Responsive Design

If you haven’t heard of responsive design yet, it’s time to climb out from under your rock! As predicted in the end of 2012, responsive design has continued to influence this field far beyond many people’s expectations. Responsive sites are vital for companies looking to grab their audiences, especially the younger audiences who browse the web on anything imaginable. Creating a usable website that is the same on both desktop and mobile devices can be a challenge, but will really payoff in the end.

Keeping it Simple

Complex websites used to be what we’d see cluttering the Web, but not anymore. No more will we see Flash and collage-focused headers that are followed up by more slightly related pictures with little content and navigation layouts. We’ve moved to a more simplistic, minimalistic approach. Many people still like flashy websites, but a phone visiting on a 3G/4G connection will likely leave before your site even loads up, rendering your design useless to a large portion of users. Making websites content-focused, accessible across all devices, and UX-driven is one of the latest web design trends.

Speaking of UX

UX (short for user experience) is critical for web designers to understand. The tough yet simple part of UX design is learning how to design for an audience’s experience when they haven’t even visited your website yet. Try to wipe your mind and go to your homepage with the mindset that you are shopping, as that’s likely what visitors are on your site for: to browse what you do. Can you find simple information, and is it aesthetically appealing? Many websites use simple graphics and to-the-point content coupled with easy navigation to guide their users through the website.

Make it Faster

What, your site doesn’t load in less than 5 seconds? The Internet is getting faster every day and hardware manufacturers are making hardware capable of speeds we don’t even have at home yet! But soon, we will. And then it will get faster many times over. The same trend is found in the Web world. We want faster websites because the rest of the Internet is growing in speed and it will seem out-of-place if we don’t keep up. We are in a society where we grow impatient quickly and just want what we came for within seconds. Don’t get left behind: upgrade your speeds!

Social Media

Businesses have realized that to do business in this world, it’s almost required to have a Facebook and Twitter account. More than 50% of businesses now use some form of social media…usually Facebook. If you’re using WordPress, it’s time to grab the social media plug-in that best suits your website. Whether it’ll be in your header, footer, or sidebar, it will be there eventually. Why do businesses use social media so much now? The answer is simple: content distribution. Someone is more likely to read your content if it’s posted on Facebook or Twitter than on your blog. Their pocket will vibrate alerting them that you have posted something for them, which in many cases results in a glance at the very least. If it’s interesting, you will grab their attention.

Conclusion

Give the users what they want because generally we are not the ones who guide this industry; it’s the users! The average website visitor wants to be able to use any device on a fast-loading, social-media-integrated, and simple website that is easy to navigate to find useful content quickly. Well, there you have it: the latest web design trends of 2013 all in one sentence. Do you think these trends will keep in 2014? Or is the next big thing going to bust out from the darkness to revolutionize the web design industry?

Author Bio: Ryan Gavin is an associate of Ignition72, a corporate web design agency. He follows internet marketing strategies and web design trends and can’t wait for next latest and greatest in the web design industry.

header image courtesy of flipp