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Designs have moved ahead with the Times.

In a world accessible ever more online, web design is growing in significance. But as the rate of development increases, staying in advance of the curve is essential to standing out from the mass. From adaptive designs, to large-format media, to simplified experiences, 2014 promises to be a year of changes; changes you can, and should, realize.The importance of flat design are being recognized and implemented ubiquitously. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, flat design eschews 3D and shading techniques, commonly used by designers in the past, for flat colors, simple layouts, and a less cluttered look. The result of this design choice is a sleek, clean interface that currently sits at the cutting edge of web design trends. Sadly, the benefits of flat design are not simply aesthetic. By reducing the amount of visual litter, websites become more usable, providing a better experience for site viewers (which means a healthier shopping experience for potential consumers). This occurs because each piece of visual stimuli on a screen, whether links, images, or even shadows, requires some level of processing by the human brain, thus demanding tired eyes and minds. By simplifying the experience, the customers mind is free to think about purchase decisions or read valuable content, which means improved revenue and brand impact. Instead of multiple page assets and superfluous loading, websites are opting for a single-page look that differentiates content by altering background color and typography as the user scrolls down. In addition, users wanting more information without scrolling can simply click on links that move the page down to the desired section. The net result is a more coherent experience, which is aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use for even casual browsers. There was a time when web designers were limited to repeating, easy (or solid color) backgrounds due to the limitations of dial-up Internet and resolutions of computer monitors. However, with retina displays and high- resolution smart-phones controlling the marketplace, web designers are utilizing attractive, large-format photographic backgrounds for a number of reasons. But the ranges of devices upon which these are viewed require a little accommodation in order to optimize their aesthetic effectiveness. For many websites, the change is happening in a thoughtful way. Landing pages may contain a single, large video at the top with supplementary transcript below, but the focus remains on the video. While more in-depth and researched thoughts still require the capabilities and functionality of text, consider looking into video as a way of more quickly and efficiently demonstrating usability, convenience, and product value. With users ever more making decisions on a momentary basis, a strong, well-crafted first impression can make the difference between sales conversion and boredom. The web is becoming sleeker, more adaptive, and more informative in 2014. Flat design and single-page layouts are driving websites away from complex navigations and saving user headaches in the process. Effective typography and adaptive images are ensuring that effective websites are usable and pleasing on a psychological level. Finally, video is taking the lead as the most efficient means of conveying meaning and brand image, while engaging users in the process. Iteration and constant improvement are key on the Internet, and observing the dominant trends of 2014 can make yourwebsite, and your company, stand out in the New Year.

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