Here we are! 2014! Can you believe its been 45 years since the Internet was first but to its test? Its come along way since 1969 and there are many new, unbelievably hot trends that not only businesses, but individuals with Portfolios, Social Media accounts, etc. should be looking out for in the last 9 months of the year. Here are a few trends we see being HUGE!

Grid Style Layouts

My first mainstream recognition of the grid design was on Pinterest. Social news feeds have always been in a streamlined fashion such as Twitter or Tumblr. Nowadays even many Facebook pages scatter timeline updates to appear like a grid.

This isn’t something you can force into any old website. There needs to be a purpose, the user experience always comes first. In situations using thumbnail images or text updates the grid layout condenses everything into an easy-to-read format. Everything is skimmable yet still coherent and it doesn’t require much space on the page.

Deeply Focused Landing Pages

I remember when the iOS App Store was launched and developers were clamoring to release their next great idea. Fast-forward some years and we have millions of apps for Android + iOS devices. Many of these applications even have their own companion website.

Software developers often purchase a domain name and launch a website as a marketing tool. This idea has since expanded to encapsulate mobile games, open source scripts, smartphone apps, really any digital product you can imagine. These landing pages are basically essential to encourage prospective customers into learning more about a product before buying.

3D Transition Effects

I’ve been finding a number of creative 3D animations in more websites over this past year. These are often built into the page for animated image galleries, navigation menus, and elements. The 3D effects can be created using jQuery although CSS3 has been catching up.

Personal Portraits

Simple portfolio websites are often my favorite. You want to convey a bit about yourself, where you’ve been, and showcase your work samples. But to keep people truly interested you need to form a human connection. One of the best ways to accomplish this would be including a sample photograph of yourself somewhere on the page.

Mega-Navigation Menus

All kinds of new fancy navigations have been tested and adopted in recent years. The mobile responsive web is a big piece to this, along with the HTML5/CSS3 specifications. I have noticed a small yet growing trend of mega navigation menus which expand to hold large blocks of content and links.

These are most common on websites that publish lots of unique content in high volumes. Online magazines or web forums immediately come to mind. It does take up a bit of space on the page, but it also gives readers a broader choice to navigate your site.

Mobile-First Design

A book called Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski gave me this idea some time ago. When browsing a website it’s not easily possible to differentiate how the design process worked out. But the idea is to first mock-up how your website should look as a responsive layout on mobile screens. Eliminate all the excess fluff and keep only the bare essentials.

From this standpoint it’s much easier to scale up your design to wider screens. Navigation menus become wider, content is lengthened along with a possible sidebar. Mobile-first design places a higher priority on the mobile experience which then becomes a baseline for the entire layout. I love the concept, and I hope designers will try implementing this to see how it can affect workflow and the final outcome.

What do you all think is the hottest web trends of 2014? Leave a comment below!