This year renewed our hope in the future of web and mobile design. A handful of services, apps, individuals, and trends showed us a more beautiful, elegant digital world than we’ve ever seen before, and we’re actually looking forward to highlighting them.
Thank the gods skeuomorphism is finally, thoroughly dead. That wrinkled carcass was on life support last year. Someone, somewhere finally pulled the plug, paving the way for well-designed interfaces featuring shapes, colors, blend modes, and every kind of non-wood-grain effect imaginable.
Gone are the fake-shiny overlays of yesteryear! Gone are the hokey “stitched leather” frames, the linen-textured menus, the ruled freaking paper backgrounds, the letterpress-ish drop shadows.
Now, we got us some flat design. It’s everywhere. It’s nice that iOS 7 rode that train into town, but the train started out long before Jony Ive unveiled his own take on the trend.
Here are a few of our favorite flatness implementations:
Responsive design was an inkling and a promise in 2012. In 2013, the trend continued to blossom with lots of help from organizations like Mozilla, Adobe, and quite a few others.
For those in the dark, responsive UIs automatically resize and reconfigure based on the end user’s preferred form factor. If a desktop browser window gets smaller, the site’s content changes. Columns automatically adjust and decrease; entire content categories are shuffled around; headlines move in front of images, etc. This all works especially well when you’re designing a site that needs to render beautifully on all kinds of smartphones, tablets, TVs, and other connected devices.
Here are our picks for responsive design examples:
White space. Pure and perfect typography. Minimalism, but with just a few flourishes that take your breath away. A photographer’s aesthetic for image treatment.
Designers be classin’ the joint up.
Truly, apps like Exposure and (shocker?) Yahoo Weather made a huge impression on us this year with their pitch-perfect design work. These shining examples attained the height of elegance in appearance while maintaining hugely functional user experiences.
Now that, my friends, is the purest essence of good design…