Happy New Year: Our Web Trend Predictions for 2014

Written by Tom Greenwood - January 1, 2014

2013 was an exciting year with many great sites and new technologies pushing our web experience to a new level.  But what’s coming in 2014?  We think that 2014 is going to be one to remember!

Here are our predictions of the big new trends in web design and digital communications coming for 2014

1. Front End Editing

2014 is going to be the year of the front end editor.  As I stated in my recent WordCamp presentation, it has long been assumed that you access your CMS in the “back end” of your website, but user expectations are changing fast and it only makes sense that you should create content in the environment that you are going to display content – i.e. on the front end.

Front End Editing for WordPress
Front End Editing for WordPress with Barley Editor

This is the year when we are going to get that.  There are already a few free plugins available for WordPress that are in their early days, Barley Editor has recently launched for WordPress and believe it or not, Drupal 8 is going to come with a front end editor (before WordPress does!!).  But fear not, the WordPress Front End Editor project is gaining a lot of momentum and I’m pretty confident that we’ll be seeing a front end editor not only appearing in WordPress in 2014, but evolving fast thereafter.  The way we edit content is about to change radically.

2. 3D Effects

We have seen some pretty cool new CSS and JS effects on websites in 2013, and Flat Design has been this years style of the year.  But we reckon that in 2014 people are going to be looking for a little bit of depth and there will be a lot of new effects appearing that give a sense of 3 dimensional form and motion without straying too far from the flat aesthetic.  Nothing tacky, and nothing requiring you to wear stupid glasses.  Just clean and simple effects with a little sense of 3D motion such as this lovely unfolding menu effect.

3. Hidden Menus

I think it is fair to say that most people are now familiar with the way that website navigation menus work on mobile devices, usually with an icon or the word “MENU” being tapped to reveal the list of pages.  So now that we are all used to this idea, it is inevitable that people are going to start migrating the idea onto the desktop, allowing for much cleaner, clutter free designs.  It might not always be the best thing for usability (context is everything!), but trust me when I say that you will be seeing  a lot more of it.

HotelStyle.biz uses mobile style menus on desktop
HotelStyle.biz uses mobile style menus on desktop

4. Unified Communications

The number of different digital communication channels that we all use is getting a bit out of control, and trying to keep track of your emails, text messages, phone calls, tweets, linked in messages, IM/Skype chats, facebook message etc etc is time consuming, frustrating and unreliable.

Whatsapp has been a big success recently, merging instant messaging and SMS, O2 launched service that allows your phone to work when on wifi (although apparently not very well) and Google just merged SMS with instant messaging in Google hangouts for those using Android.  This is just the beginning and we reckon things are going to get pretty exciting in 2014 with more channels feeding together more seemlessly than ever before.