It's a new year and with it comes new opportunities for design evolution on the web.
Looking forward, there are three trends I think we can expect to see more of this year.
1. Mobile no longer an after-thought.
There has been and will continue to be an increased and hyper-focus on mobile. There is still a lot of upside growth in the mobile web space to be had. Consequently, it can't be ignored and what we can expect to see is more inclusion and integration of mobile in website planning. There will be less of sites being thought of in silos based on desktop or mobile. Instead, there will be more of a holistic approach to web presences where desktop, smartphone, and tablet instances will be thought of collectively. This will manifest itself in more sites being built responsively, more hybrid sites that are built for desktop but with mobile support, and specific smartphone and tablet sites.
2. Simple yet designed.
In light of mobile and the influence of the mobile experience, we can expect to see desktop sites still well-designed but simpler and clearer. Sites will take their cues from mobile and adopt a less cumbersome and busy interface, and take on a more streamlined and visually effective appeal to accommodate for mobile viewing. Style and design won't be out the door; but the all-things-mobile rage and the need to make sites accessible via mobile devices will influence site design.
3. Docked UI elements.
While scrolling for new content is acceptable, not having to scroll for the same content because it can be made portable will become be popularized. This includes elements such as navigation, contact information, and contextually relevant content. Abuse of this feature will diminish its value but if used judiciously and appropriately, this can be a user experience hit. This will not be applicable to all sites and scenarios but will make sense for consumer and information-driven sites with lengthy pages.