As we say goodbye to 2011 and welcome another year of the decade no-one can name (the tenties; the tennies; the tens anyone?) we begin to wonder just what exciting trends web design will see in 2012.

The fact is that companies are becoming increasingly focused on using the Internet as a revenue stream. As they do, the importance of attractive and user-friendly web design flourishes.

A study cited in ‘Behaviour and Information Technology‘ stated that it takes 1/20th of a second for a visitor to your site to decide whether or not they like what they see, and if or not they’re likely to stay. Considering the fact that many suspect Google is now including bounceback rates in its ranking factors: these reasons alone convey why getting every aspect of a website’s design just right, is vital.

So here you have it: the top web design trends for 2012 that you simply cannot ignore.

Responsive Web Design

New Trends in Web Design You Cannot Ignore

The way we use the Internet is becoming increasingly mobile. From iPhones to iPads, people are browsing the Internet on screens of all conceivable sizes and as a web designer or site owner; you must consider how you can accommodate that.

Responsive web design refers to the creation of fluid websites with layouts and images that can be adapted according to the size of the screen the page is being viewed on. Sites built in this way are vital if we’re to make the transition to truly and wholly mobile Internet.

If you include mobile Internet users in your target market (and if you’re not, you should be), then getting to grips with responsive web design is a must.

Circles

New Trends in Web Design You Cannot Ignore

Who would’ve thought that something so simple could become such an integral element of web design?

Tests have shown that circles attract and draw in the attention of the eye. No surprise then that the circle is greatly favoured in logo design and is experiencing rapid growth in its use across the sphere of web design.

Custom Fonts

Why rely on Tahoma and Times New Roman when you could design your own font?

Custom font design was popular with WordPress designers throughout 2011 and with the help of JavaScript, 2012 is set to see the practice adopted by web designers everywhere.

The ethos behind it is that if you’re trying to build a unique brand with a unique site to match – why let a widely recognisable font let you down?

Infographics

New Trends in Web Design You Cannot Ignore

Whilst not impacting the design of the website itself, the Infographic is set to revolutionize the way we view and consume information.

Having harnessed a lot of popularity throughout 2011, the Infographic is a bright, enticing and uniquely user-friendly way to communicate information to the end consumer.

Here’s a fantastic example of an Infographic from 2010, linking celebrities with their correlating web browsers…

Simplicity

New Trends in Web Design You Cannot Ignore

While previous web design trends often saw designers think ‘the more intricate the design, the better’, site designs of today are becoming increasingly minimalist.

Web designers of 2012 understand that what users want is an attractive, user-friendly and consumer focused site. They want easy access to the information they’re after and they don’t want to have to wait for it.

The reality of web design today is that you’re competing with countless similar sites, and if your visitors can’t find what they want on yours, and quickly, they will simply click ‘back’ and go elsewhere.

Yet Who Knows?

While these are just a few of the possible trends for web design in 2012, no-one can say for sure whether these will in fact prosper, or whether something newer, more innovative and more exciting may come along in their place.

What we do know however, is that web designers are learning faster than ever before and that the World Wide Web as a whole is changing. Web design today is about much more than pretty graphics, interactive videos and optimised content.

When we want a website designed in 2012 our primary focus is the end user. Is the site functional? Is it pleasing to the eye? Does it work on laptops, desktops and mobiles? Does it offer the user what they want and does it encourage the user to convert?

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Tom Chu works at PsPrint.com, an online printing company specializing in brochure and poster printing among other popular services. Follow PsPrint on Twitter as @PsPrint