Where Do Web Trends Come From

28 Oct 2014

Design Trends

Analysis 1: Web Trends Inspired By Mobile

Smartphones, especially the iPhone (as we have witnessed over the years), have considerably changed the way we use the Internet. Allowing for the first time (for many) to access the Internet everywhere they went: waiting for the bus, walking down the street, on the toilets… But websites weren’t optimized on mobile then, and unless you had very small fingers it was very hard to navigate. Mobile apps began to appear (a little later in the game), and then finally responsive design showed up.

The design world was then irrefutably changed, and the approach of creating a ‘desktop version’ and a ‘mobile version’ was born. As the demand for more and more mobile friendly websites makes its way into the creative process, interface creation process changes, and the ‘mobile first approach’ appears. As the name suggests, it consists of creating the mobile version before creating the desktop version. Needless to say it has a significant influence on the final interface.

As we’ve now seen develop over the years, mobile has continued to evolve and become the touch screen interface of choice in consumers’ lives. People believe that we will observe an alignment between desktop website design and mobile apps design, and that the two interfaces will look more and more alike.

Analysis 2: Big Corporations Inspire Trends

Flat design is a very good example of this. While originally from the Swiss print style in the 50’s, it is Microsoft who brought that trend back to the general public with Windows 8 and its metro design. Apple and Google shortly followed, and then we witnessed a massive change in the whole design world to flat design.

Designers are usually inspired by Apple’s design because they believe that it is appealing and modern. So Apple switching to flat design led every designer to adopt asimilar design approach.

Analysis 3 New Web Development Techniques (Parallax, Responsive Design and Others) Are Creating New Trends

Technical innovations have played an important influence on web trends. They open new doors to designers, and make them rethink their approach to web design. Every designer or developer out there is looking to use the latest innovations to be at the forefront of technology.

We saw it with the multiplication of parallax scrolling sites; as soon as an innovation is discovered, everyone wants to use it. This is how a trend first appears. That influence is directly linked to the consumers: we know people are inevitably attracted to new technologies, so professionals make it their purpose to offer cutting edge solutions to reach the expected results.

Analysis 4: Communities Like Dribble or Behance Increase The Exposition To Create New Web Trends

Dribble and Behance are platforms that allow designers to showcase and discover creative work. People from the whole wide world can share and explore new projects; it is a sort of social network for creative people, and it is indeed a very useful good tool to keep posted on the latest trends, and to get inspiration. And as any social network, the information sharing process is accelerated, so trends come and go more easily on this kind of platforms.

Analysis 5: Consumer Habits Influence Web Trends

It’s probably the most important influence out there. In fact, it’s that very one influence that probably inspired responsive design. Websites were becoming more and more viewed on mobile, and less and less on desktop, so professionals had to come up with a good solution to make websites more efficient on mobile, enter responsive design.

Sidenote from our talented panel: Users are creating a need, and professionals of the industry do their best to answer to those needs. Once the need changes, the answer naturally changes too.

Analysis 6: Gestural Interaction

This would be more of a future influence rather than a current one and one that could, as some professionals think, maybe one day shake up mobile interfaces. So what exactly is gestural interaction? It’s a new way to interact with our phones, which Microsoft and Nokia are currently working on for a future phone design.

for instance, we could answer a call by placing the phone close to our ear, put it down to activate the speakers, or hang up by putting it in our pocket etc. With this type of interaction already exists on game consoles such as the Kinnect of X-Box, of the Wii of Nintendo.

People tend to think that this will be ‘the next big thing’ after touch screens and it will be interesting to see how the web interfaces will adapt to this innovation. The change will inevitably be drastic.

Analysis 7: Wearable Technologies

Wearable technologies are fashionable connected devices, allowing their owner to interact with their environment. We are talking here about the Nike Fuelbands, Google Glass etc.

People seem to believe that those connected items are going to grow, and take a bigger place to the general public, until maybe one day reach the same use as smartphones. The development of those technologies will then put designers in front of a new challenge, and they will have to find the best solutions for the design of those small interfaces.

1: Be Aware Of 'New Technologies'

With the rise of Apples, Apps and Androids, it's only a matter of time before it's out with the old and in with the newest 'new technology'. With innovations beyond our wildest dreams that will no doubt, drastically influence users’ habits, and consequently redefine consumerism. So this is where we need to focus our efforts and strategies in the long term: we need to always watch out what comes next, to be two steps ahead of the competition and even the consumer to an extent so as to be able to pre-empt the industry and technological change as we best we can so as not to be left behind.so we don’t get left behind.

2: It’s All About Mobile

With many predicting, we're still a few years off these hot 'new technologies' replace everything we've come to know and love, in the meantime the mobile, is still the king of our navigation and many other  habits. That's why we see the focus of our second recommendation to be on all things mobile and responsive design; making websites more and more optimised on smaller interfaces, and adopt the ‘mobile first’ approach. 

3: Observe Consumers Habits

Each recommendation seems to stem from this analysis: everything depends on the consumer. We've said it before and we'll say it again, the fact that users use more and more mobile is the very reason responsive design even appeared. As well as ‘app-style’ websites and the ‘mobile first’ approach as a direct result of it. And if the user one day decides to let the mobile go (honestly it could happen), for the hottest new technology, then it will completely redefine the design world (yet again).

This is why we continue to push the need to watch them and keep an eye on their consumption habits, so as to be reatctive to the change as soon as it happens.