The Internet is alive with predictions for 2015 of expected trends in website design and content practices. While some bloggers have made predictions that are clear outliers, there appears to be solid agreement of some of the developments we'll see in the coming year.
Responsive design will no longer be a trend in web design for 2015. It will just be done as a matter of course. Most web designers, including our designers at Blue Fire Media, have come to expect that most websites built from here on will automatically reshape and reform to fit whatever screen they're viewed on, from desktop to mobile phone.
Responsive design has been a trend for about the past three years. When Google decided, however, to give a significant advantage in search results to sites that adjusted to a variety of screen sizes rather than sites that created different pages for mobile viewing, responsive design stopped being seen as a trend and more of a must-have feature. A responsive design appears on a mobile device more quickly than if the device has to call up and load a replacement page.
The result for many B2B and commercial sites that haven't embraced responsive design will be a scramble to redesign sites and get back to ranking high on Search Engine Results Pages.
The key point of having sites adjust and reshape for any mobile screen is not the screen they're being viewed on but who's doing the viewing. They are people who are walking, are driving (but let's hope stopped at a red light first), they are hungry looking for lunch, or they are in the midst of a meeting trying to solve a problem. They are anywhere, and they're probably looking for something nearby. Is your site updated for search by location?
Scroll vs. Click
The ubiquitous links from a home page to topic pages aren't dead, but the drive to fit the home page "above the fold" is being undermined by a new trend to tell a site's story with strong visuals, interactivity, and content in one long page that you scroll down to view. It's a design trend that's coming on strong, but it's a design that may not fit the goals and function of every site.
The idea behind it is to not make a viewer keep clicking to different pages to discover what a website has to offer. The long-scroll home page design brings out a dynamic look and an easy flow of information that tells a complete introduction for the site. On some sites, it's the only page.
In part, the long page has been brought on by mobile viewing and responsive design. Responsive design transformed horizontal home pages to long, vertical pages when viewed on mobile devices. The reaction among viewers and web designers turned out to be, "Hey, not bad. I kinda like it." As a result, scrolling home pages and fewer interior pages will be coming to a site near you, and maybe to your own site.
While these appear to be the major trends in design, web designers are always coming up with new styles that may fit your site. There is no one style that fits all.