Web Design Trends for 2012

As you peruse this article, even though the shifting trends from year to year may seem subtle, you'll recognize some of these trends already. But watch and see how these trends will impact web design with a bigger and better impact come 2013.

1. Responsive web design

Most of my customers ask me if I include a responsive web design as part of the package. Although it's my assumption that within the next 12 - 18 months, web design clients will come to expect this function rather than thinking to ask for it. Media queries will make their way to a lot more style sheets thus making it easier to be looked at via many various devices and screens.

2. Fixed-position navigation

Any website designer, and users for that matter, will have come across fixed-position navigation at some point. Even though this trend seemed to have dropped back somewhat throughout 2010 - 2011, I have noticed a distinct resurgence this year. If perhaps your website only has a few main links in it's navigation, you might as well keep them visible to users at all times, right? This method has been proven to dramatically increase the performance of the website thus blending into the website structure easily. The conventional idea behind this is so your visitors can easily scroll through your main content areas.

The use of jQuery has enabled a strong growth for fast prototyping of this concept. You could even disable the JavaScript to apply some impressive CSS code as a way to duplicate the sticky navigation effect.

3. Circles

Using circles in web design seems to have died down somewhat over the last couple of years. You may remember back in the web 2.0 boom when web designers were focusing more on various desktop trends including rounded corners and drop shadows. However with CSS3 and beyond, it's even that much easier to manufacture such eye-catching box effects. Furthermore, you can even design circles and other types of shapes and designs without needing images. The implosion of these sorts of features has suggested to web designers to look at photos with a completely different angle all together.

4. Big vector art

Those big and bold mascots that often hold prime positions on websites, are an increasing presence on home pages as a means to stamp their brand on the forehead of their site visitors. As little as just a couple of years ago, you'd be hard pressed to find much illustration at all that was tied into a companies branding. Today, I can't think of too many better approaches than to combine a lovable vector into a websites theme.

5. Multi-Column Menus

I'm sure you'd agree that, many websites contain far too many links for the average users liking. Unless you move a fair amount of links to the side bar, the main nav simply gets too overcrowded. However, studies have shown that there are better results yielded for the website owner, and from a user perspective, if the core links remain at the top navigation.

Multi-column layouts are awesome in their own right. They allow you to easily and effortlessly display your site links to your visitors and at the same time keeping this portion fitted perfectly around the web page logo.

6. Custom Font Faces

Typekit, which is a free font library, offers a free trial to try out their tool. With this, you can easily embed JavaScript thus allowing you to write basically any custom font. This particular trend has become popular with WordPress designers as a means to keep their sites looking as unique as possible.

The problem with Typekit though, is that their customer support leaves a lot to be desired. With Google Web Fonts now a major player, you can simply browse through a library of supported fonts, the platform then generates the required code. The next step is to reference the individual fonts by their name and declare CSS font-family properties within the HTML component.
Although there are many more web design trends of 2012, the abovementioned are those that I thought rated a mention.

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This article was published thanks to Website Hotline and Web Design Australia.
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