Responsive Layouts

The idea is to support all devices from laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and anything released in the future. You could think of this trend more like a uniform web design where the goal is to have a single set of codes which run perfectly on all environments. Responsive websites are often thought to cater towards mobile browsers, but that isn’t the sole purpose. You can have a responsive website which also adds brilliant illustrations and graphics into the layout when the browser window is larger. The idea here is to think about website design as a single canvas which is dynamic and fluid by nature.

Retina Support

Along with responsive support for website layouts we have also seen a dramatic rise in people building for retina devices. Apple first engineered this idea with the iPhone 4 and has since applied this screen display onto their other devices, including the iPad and some MacBooks. Retina screens are basically twice as dense as any average LCD. So they are the same number of physical pixels, but digitally twice as many pixels can be fitted into the same physical space. This means pixel-perfect web designers supporting retina devices will need to create two sets of images. First you need to sample your image at double the resolution, then save a “standard” version at half the size. The larger image will be scaled down to the standard resolution and will look very crisp on retina screens.

Fixed Header Bars

As visitors scroll down your page, fixed header bars offer constant support for navigation and a trip back to the home page. This trend has been around for a while but now we are seeing this in full force. Fixed headers are so interesting because they can work on practically any website. This includes social networks, blogs, and even design studios or private companies. The design is very trendy and looks great paired with most layouts. But aside from the aesthetics, this bar also provides an exceptional user experience without needing to look very far to navigate the website.

 Large Photo BackgroundsDIPhoto

Oversized photography in the background is an excellent way to capture your visitor’s attention and it can look great when done properly.

Minimalist Landing Pages

Creating a landing page online is all about capturing new leads for your product or service. New trends are following the idea of minimalism: keep everything simple and focus on your core product.

Digital QR Codes

The abundance of mobile smartphones has led to a surge of QR Code apps. This stands for Quick Response Code and has developed from the older UPC barcodes. You will find these tagged everywhere from PDQRrestaurants to event venues and automobile sales lots. But websites are starting to emerge with these codes built right into the design. This isn’t something you would normally consider since they are often found in print. But QR codes could become trendy as data transmission becomes quicker over time.

Social Media Badges

Social media and viral marketing are exploding in many different websites. Digg used to reign popular in this domain but has since conceded to rivals like Reddit. But these are not the only two popular resources for sharing stories online. You can check practically any social community for sharing badges and will likely find a great solution. You can position these badges pinned to blog posts and articles anywhere in your layout. These are still used actively by readers and fans who want to share content quickly on places like Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn.

Infinite Scrolling

Infinite scroll loading has been around for at least a few years. But this technique hadn’t really hit mainstream until this year and I’m sure it will continue into 2013. Pinterest has adopted this loading technique for their layout and it works beautifully. You can search anything and the results page will continually load as you scroll down. Pagination is basically a non-issue and doesn’t even work as a detriment into the user experience. Talk about designing for simplicity! But another great example and possibly my favorite example is on Tumblr. You can blog and reblog photos from other people you follow which all appear on your Dashboard. So after logging into your account all the most recent posts will scroll infinitely down the page. This is an excellent technique which does not work on every layout, but for the right websites this can look and behave phenomenally.