Bold predictions for the savvy designer, 2006 edition
~ 09 December 2005 ~
Fortunately, I think there’s still plenty of room to take a second look into my crystal ball of web dev (first one was in 2004), with an eye squarely on what 2006 will bring.
- Page Refreshing - I know, I know, this isn’t a sweeping statement. Sure, page refreshing is certainly a good thing. But expect the web dev community at large to continue to embrace Ajax, in search of reducing the page count between point A and point B (aside from other reasons).
- That Fisher Price Look - Big buttons, big text, big everything. Yes, it definitely has its place at times. But I wonder if we belittle users with visuals that implicitly say, “Hey, you’re too foolish to choose what to do next, so I’ve put a really big button right here just for you.” The exception, of course, are pages on which 90% of the visitors are seeking the same action item, e.g. Mozilla.com (download Firefox). If you’ve got the big blues, consider negative space as suitable replacement.
- Lucida - Expect this very webby typeface to continue to become mainstream. I, for one, am beginning to tire of it already much as I did Verdana a few years back, but its usage is showing no signs of slowing. Just don’t expect it to appeal to Windows users with ClearType disabled.
- The Trusted Trio: drop shadow, gradient, dotted line - On several occasions over the past few years I’ve thought all three of these would have fallen by the wayside by now. But they’ve proven resilient enough to stick around for probably a few more years at least.
- Rounded corners - Apparently, encoded in every human being is an innate attraction to rounded corners (yes, I’m paraphrasing poorly). I must admit I was hesitant at first when Patrick Griffiths requested an abundance of rounded corners for the Vivabit redesign — and there’s no shortage of them on the site — but I’d say it turned out rather nicely in the end. Them Brits are always ahead of the curve, say it ain’t so.
- Tags - If you haven’t had to consider tags for inclusion in an interface yet, you certainly will in 2006. Consider 37signals’ “Tag formats: Can’t we all just get along?” before your first foray into tag UI design.
- Helvetica/Arial + negative letter spacing - Expect this trend to spill over in spades into 2006. Currently enjoying Ben Saunder’s execution of this technique (see his
- The grid - Mark Boulton and Khoi Vinh ushered in new thinking in 2005 in regards to using grids in web layouts. I take that back — the use of a grid in graphic design is nothing new, but the fact that their articles enticed many of us to think more seriously about using grids in web layouts is perhaps the better statement. I know they influenced a few of my designs, some of which I may reveal at a later date.
- Mobile - If CSS was the big push in the first half of this decade, mobile design could very well be the battle cry of the second half. The two movements share many similarities — presentation of data controlled by big corporations (first browser developers, now carriers) and the eventual collide with grassroots efforts towards standards by the little guys (us). See Mobile Web Design, The Series.
- The fluid layout - I actually anticipated more wide-scale adoption of fluid layouts in 2005, but they didn’t take hold as firmly as expected. Though I’ve got hopes for 2006. So much so, in fact, that my case study site for CSS Mastery is a fluid one.
- New MS fonts - JSM explains (back in March). If Vista includes the new typefaces as expected, I’m confident plenty of us will be quick to
Wow, I somehow made it all the way through with no mention of “Web 2.0” and only one mention of “Ajax”. Fancy that.
Stock photography, type, and killer tees. Genuinely recommended by Authentic Boredom.
Authentic Boredom is the platitudinous web home of Cameron Moll, freelance new media designer, author, and speaker. More…
Full-time and freelance job opportunities. Post a job...
A selection of fine reading, available for a limited time only:
- Jobs home page reorg
- Coming soon: Mobile Web Design, the book
- Dyson ad: Text as more than just words
- Setting sail for Europe
- Review: Sumo Omni bean bag chair
- Dashboard widget for Authentic Jobs
- Limited-time offer: $99 listings
- Nine skills that separate good and great designers
- Fire sale
- Introducing AuthenticJobs.com
CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standard Solutions A solid round-up of indispensable CSS design techniques by Andy Budd, Simon Collison, and Cameron Moll.
Mobile Web Design A guide to publishing web content beyond the desktop. Tips, methodology, and resources. Now available.
Letterpress Posters The unassuming beauty of a freshly letterpressed print.
That Wicked Worn Look. Techniques for that worn, aged, distressed look.
Mister Retro Machine Wash Filters Turn the dial to “Instaworn” with these filters.
Blinksale Dive in and enjoy shamelessly easy invoicing from Firewheel Design.
Basecamp My preferred web app for internal and client project collaboration.
HOW Conference Austin, June 24–27. Pentagram, Adobe, P&G, et al.
Web Design World Seattle, July 20–22. Practical sessions on web design.
Stimulate Salt Lake City, September 2009. Entrepreneurship and design conference.