In 2010, we saw plenty of web design trends come and go. Some have been wildly overdone, and some have been applied into the overall design so well that it created a brand new style. Like most design trends, it’s about the correct application rather than just what “looks good.” I guess it goes with the saying: It’s not what you wear; it’s how you wear it.

2011 will bring us the trends that held their ground last year, plus more. This is the year of warmer and richer websites, the continuous rise of social media networking, and more importantly, responsive web design. So many designers have regrettably gone astray from adhering to one of the most basic design principles: Form follows function. Fortunately, we are seeing a more uniform standardization of web specifications. In result, we should see a strong emergence of beautiful and functional website designs.

Here are some of the design trends we will see in 2011:

Website Environments: The sense of depth

Gone are the days of the flat, lifeless shapes and the overly-clean “vector” look. 2011 is about achieving the right ambience, created from rich design elements full of shadows, lighting, gradients, gloss, texture, and atmosphere.

Riot Industries
Riot Industries
Foxtie
Foxtie
Tomas Pojeta
Tomas Pojeta
Spreads App
Spreads App

 

Responsive Web Design: Flexibility you can trust

With the influx of smart phones, tablets, and netbooks in addition to numerous desktop monitor resolutions, web designers need to keep in mind the flexibility of their layouts. Big and small businesses are beginning to realize the importance of having a mobile-compatible website. This year and in the years to come, we should see a considerable shift in how designers plan out the logic behind their layouts. In reality, mobile-compatible layouts are becoming more of a necessity than a trend. The practice of responsive web design is similar to applying liquid layout or fluid grid as the structure of a website, but adapts much better to each specified media type. A List Apart shows an excellent example of responsive web design.

 

The Footer: No longer an afterthought

Websites typically have 5 visible main sections: The logo, a header, some navigational links, the content section, and the footer. There was a time, a couple of years back, when the footer’s main function was to display only the copyright information and possibly some legal and contact details. We have begun to see more prominent footer designs and will continue to do so in 2011. FooterFetish.com provides us with plenty of examples.

 

Typography: From print to web

Typography will always have its place in web design, but with greater emphasis this year. Since the beginning of the Web, designers were only allowed a handful of available fonts that are browser-supported. However, there is an increasing emergence of font replacement methods like Cufón, Font Squirrel, Google Font API, Typekit and Fontdeck (the latter 4 uses the CSS @font-face selector) just to name a few. With the dominant browsers now supporting the @font-face function, the possibility of incorporating custom fonts into web design is looking very promising.

 

Staying Connected: Just a Tweet away

This ongoing trend should come as no surprise. Social media networking is no longer just a marketing tool but a way to build business/client relationship and establish credibility and trust. We’ll continue to see an increase of companies take advantage of social media networking to expand their business and to stay relevant with the current market.

 

HTML 5 and CSS3: A perfect combination

The application of HTML5 and CSS3 will become the prevalent practice for web designers and developers this year. HTML5 is the current major version of the HTML markup language, after HTML 4.01. There are new elements like article, details, footer, header, canvas, keygen, mark, output, progress, source, and plenty more. Deprecated tags are: onreset, marginheight, marginwidth (attributes of the body tag), align, border, controls, dynsrc, hspace, loop, start, vspace (attributes of the img tag), and language (attribute of the script tag). For all valid and obsolete HTML5 elements and attributes, here is a “cheat sheet” available for reference. As for CSS3, here are just some examples of its capabilities. Although not finalized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and not completely adopted by all browsers, HTML5 and CSS3 are already being implemented by many web designers and developers. Some also say HTML5 will replace Flash in the near future and CSS3 will contend with Photoshop. Guess we will just have to wait and see. 

So, here’s to 2011 and the advancements in web design. Please feel free to leave a comment if there is something I have missed, something you agree or disagree on, or have a design trend in mind that you believe should just stay in the past.

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