2012 round-up

By Sam S December 19th, 2012

I’d love to be able to start this blog post by making some casual comment about how difficult it’s going to be to get back to the daily work routine after the Holidays. I’d like to joke about how I’ve eaten way too many mince pies, and how the last 2 weeks of pure festive gluttony have turned my creative juices into little more than turkey gravy.

The truth is though, that here at Pixel Primate HQ we’ve been working the whole time. Don’t get me wrong - we haven’t been huddled around our macs dealing with clients whilst our families unwrapped presents around us - rather, we’ve been dreaming up big ideas, drawing up big plans, and thinking about where we are headed in 2013. In light of so much forward-looking, I thought it might be useful to look back at 2012, and see what we’ve learnt. What trends, fads, styles, and themes defined last year, and which ones do we think will continue to shape the way we work in 2013?

Mobile Gestures; Swiping and Scrolling

Ever-popular mobile and tablet platforms aren’t only changing the way that we interact with and navigate content on the go. In 2012, we started to see some of the gestures and movements most associated with touchscreen devices appearing on websites too. This change is both because users are increasingly comfortable with the way that touchscreen devices behave, and also because products like trackpads and magic mouses allow for greater fluidity in web navigation. Here are a couple of examples of how the ‘swipe’ and ‘scroll’ functionality of mobile devices have migrated onto the web:

Grid Layouts

It’s true that grids have always informed web design in some form or another, but in 2012, we noticed just how many websites were using really similar grid systems. Pinterest, Dribbble and Trippy, to name just three, have all opted for the brutal simplicity of rows of images and very little text, to create highly visual websites which encourage lots of social interactivity.

Superfast Sign-Up

Before the days of social network domination, it used to be that trying to capture information about users and visitors to your website required lengthy contact forms. Some of the more forward-looking companies of 2012 realised that today’s savvy internet users simply don’t want to have to sign-up to every site they visit individually. Having to input personal information, come up with passwords and create secret questions made the internet user of 2012 feel uneasy. Instead, they’d much rather just sign in using the online networks that they already have. This is about trust, safety and users wanting to feel like their web-presence isn’t too sprawling - but better connected somehow. Here are some sites which allow users to log-in and sign-up using their Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts.

We think that the migration of navigation and interfaces from mobile to web will continue, as tablets and other portable devices become increasingly popular. We also predict that the nature of websites will start to shift, with users continuing to favour the specificity of app-style sites. We’re expecting an increase in the number of microsites we’re asked to design and build, and also more and more clients asking us about how well their websites will work on multiple platforms. What design trends and ideas are you taking from 2012 and using to inspire your practice in the New Year?