What to Expect From Digital Design in 2013 Posted by: Derek on 28/03/2013

What to expect from digital design in 2013 image

"68% of UK smartphone owners used their device to check email in the past 30 days. Only text messaging was more popular (92%)." Nielsen – The Mobile Consumer (Feb 2013)

It had been coming for a while but 2012 really was the year of mobile. With the number of smartphones in use crossing the 1 billion mark and studies indicating more people are opening email on mobile devices than through webmail using a desktop browser, the gap is only going to increase. As a result of this it should come as no surprise that digital design in 2013 will be driven largely by mobile. Here is a list of our digital trends to expect this year: 

1. Responsive layouts

The main shift in digitaldesign this year will see responsive web going mainstream. With more and more users browsing the internet via their smartphones, as designers we had to deliver. The “one size fits all” approach to design is no longer applicable as users browse the internet on various sized devices. Responsive design is not just geared to making the internet mobile friendly, it can provide you with beautiful in-depth designs for the desktop as well.

2. Modular design

Responsive web has seen a rise in a more grid-based, modular approach to design on the web. The grid-based content block layout has become popular for many types of website, as it is easily applicable when utilising a responsive approach. Sites that utilise modular design tend to have a series of tiling blocks that fill the page, where they rearrange themselves depending on the screen size of the user.

3. 'Flat' interface

Any fan of interface design will be impressed and surprised with the design approach Microsoft have taken recently, distancing themselves from the skeuomorphisism associated with early Apple design, instead embracing a clean minimalistic approach, which revels in white space. Flat interfaces encourage a user friendly layout which is easy to navigate.

4. Fewer buttons, more gestures

Carrying on from the 'Flat' interface trend, it would seem difficult to create an app which is stylish and minimal but still cluttered with buttons. The answer? Gestures. The App world was shaken up last year with the launch of Clear. A simple to-do list application that is free from buttons, switches and other standard interface controls. Instead, users interact with the app solely through intuitive gestures (swiping, pinching, pulling), which as a result presents the user with a clutter-free interface - the direction apps will be going in.

5. Multi-device design

The main issue facing businesses when deciding to develop a digital solution is that the digital world is changing rapidly year to year - developing a lasting digital solution that works across multiple devices is an ever-increasing challenge. Design focuses on a set of decisions to solve a problem, and multi-device design is the best foot to put forward when creating digital solutions for multiple devices: it encourages designing from the content out so that whatever the device, the message remains the same. Eric Meyer says it’s “not just desktop vs mobile any more”, but “desktop and mobile and couch and TV and more”.

6. Wider websites

There has been a leaning towards very thin width websites recently, due to the increase in viewing sites from mobile devices. However, 2013 will see a resurgence in wider websites in order to optimise visual media. The increase in visual techniques over text, such as the increasing popularity of infographics has meant that there has been a renewed interest in visual content, rather than textual.

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