1. Simpler Aesthetics for Websites
There’s been a sweeping trend in the way new websites are being visually designed. Web designers are forgoing complex visuals and overdone design techniques, opting instead for clean and simple web designs with a high attention to detail, a greater emphasis on typography — with the help of web fonts and the upcoming open web font format (WOFF) specifications — and stronger interaction design for richer and more captivating user experiences.
2. Web Design as a Profession Will Become Specialized
Web designers are increasingly contending with many roles and tasks. What used to be just HTML, CSS and designing static brochure sites for the desktop has extended to designing web-enabled solutions for mobile devices, web apps, rich Internet application (RIA) interfaces, content management systems (CMS) and much more.
We’re tasked with making harmonious designs that carry a website’s brand across all platforms and situations — designs that establish the company’s brand whether it’s being viewed in a 28-inch desktop monitor or an iPhone.
This leads to two things. Job security is one, but the other is the need to distribute these tasks so that we can specialize and excel in one specific area.
In the future, there will be greater stratification of the role of web designer. Right now, web app designers, mobile app designers and traditional website designers are clustered under the umbrella title of “web designer.”
Just as the profession of being a doctor and the field of medicine are branched out into sub-fields such as oncology, dentistry and neurology, we may see a similar division in the field of web design. I can see specializations such as mobile web designer, content management system designer (with further sub-specializations such as WordPress theme designer or Drupal theme designer), and RIA interface designer becoming a reality and being in demand as we move forward.
3. Mobile Web Goes Mainstream
The mobile web has been the dominant subject in web design for the past 2+ years. A quick peek at Dribbble, a social media site where designers share their projects, will show you that many of us are working on mobile device apps and interfaces.
However, it’s still safe to say that most websites have given little to no attention to their mobile web presence. Most of the innovative mobile device web designs we’re seeing are on big, industry-leading, tech-centric sites such as Amazon.com, Google, and Digg, or niche sites targeted toward web designers.
Where we’re not seeing mobile web design implementations are in run-of-the-mill company and corporate sites. Small- and medium-sized businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and government websites are sadly falling behind instead of in line.