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6 Trends in Web Design for 2013

Author: Luc Malcorps

The dawn of a new year (best wishes, by the way) is a good time to consider possible trends for the web and digital world in 2013. Picking apart what has been written on the topic and analysing how the sector has evolved in 2012, we can piece together the key processes and methods that may well feature in 2013…

Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball and this is just speculation …



1. “Responsive design” will still be with us

If we had to name one revolution in web design in 2012, a sound choice would be responsive design. Multi-media access has become today’s top priority. It is now an (almost) automatic reflex to make content accessible from any device, mobile or not, while maintaining the graphic quality of the original site. It is very likely that this way of working will be even more important in 2013 with the advent of the mobile age. There will probably be further developments in terms of ergonomics, UX and optimisation*.

Of course, we need to consider how we will adapt to different media formats such as television screens and consoles. Every year there are new formats…and, believe me, this is just the beginning! I’ve even heard talk of responsive acoustic design. Technology will never cease to amaze.

2. The mobile first era

This is hardly a surprise: mobile is in vogue…It is handy and trendy…So why stop here? Mobile designers are thriving in the digital world. This clearly indicates a desire to give people products tailored to their needs. User habits are the foundation of developments in design, ergonomics and experience – not the other way around.

Interfaces are getting simpler, which will make it easier to be “responsive”. Meanwhile, in terms of touch screens and touchpads, we are seeing a lot of “big buttons”…since people with “big fingers” are tired of tapping two keys at the same time. But be careful not to compromise the speed of access and use!

3. Typography

Just as at the end of 2012, typography will have pride of place in design. It will even be considered the signature of a site. Riding the wave of minimalism, simple letters with an attractive style, good chunkiness and just the right size, will give a design its unique stamp.

There has been a decline in the use of “classic” fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Times New Roman, leaving the field open to original typefaces (and, no, Comic sans MS, will not be making a return!). “Full” visuals and “atypical fonts” will probably remain linked, allowing photographers to create master constructions in websites, mobile and other applications. Of course, for all this to work, we need to consider the efforts of integrators and developers who are keen to lighten the weight of this type of content.

4. Icon-fonts

Just like webfonts, icon-fonts came on to the stage in 2012. The term refers to a set of icons available as a web font and thus directly integrated and usable in web design, without any need for image manipulation. Hello vector graphics, bye bye bitmap…

Amongst other things, this will allow us to resolve display problems that might be caused by Retina Display, for example.

5. Skeuomorphism vs flat design

These are pretty obscure terms, so you might like a few reminders:

Flat design reflects the current wave of minimalism and is very well explained in this article. Recent Windows interfaces have been created in this mould.

Skeuomorphism (yes, this is a neologism) represents the objects or materials that surround us as faithfully possible. In other words, it is about a realistic appearance within a digital interface. Apple is a great fan of this trend (see its notepad, compass etc…).

Opinions differ on how popular skeuomorphic design will be in 2013. Some believe that it is a flash in the pan, and that minimalism will take over most of the digital world when it is gone. Others are predicting a year in which the two trends will co-exist. Finally, some people envisage a new and wholly original movement appearing … Who knows?

One thing is certain: in 2013, content will be king, above even design. The goal is to serve and prioritise content. It will no longer be good enough for a site to be good-looking, technically successful or easy to use … It will also be intrinsically useful.

6. Goodbye Flash

Finally, many people have the secret (or not so secret) desire to see 100% Flash sites disappear completely. This would hardly be a surprise, given the way this type of site is dwindling towards extinction, and the arrival of HTML 5.

 To conclude…

Whatever trend comes to the fore this year (existing or new), the objective will be to optimise internet sites (including mobile and other applications) and make them effective and visible. All of these predictions are abstract. That is why we must conjure up our own vision of the digital world and bring our convictions to life.

And never forget: “Keep it simple!”


– Original blog post in French by Roxane Jammet, Web Designer at Emakina.FR 




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