Mobile design has radically changed! At least, that’s what almost any modern blog post on the subject will tell you. And it has, if you’re comparing it to 2007. But the truth is that in the past few years, there have been precious few radical shifts in the foundations of mobile website design. You have responsive design, you have minimalist design (sometimes called ‘flat’ design, or the new red-headed stepchild, ‘material’ design), you have a focus on load times, and you have SVG graphics for any and every image that you expect to show up on a mobile device.
Guess what? Those were the same things people were saying were “new for 2012.” The only things that have really changed since then is that we’ve learned that some things aren’t good as universal rules. Responsive design, for example, is really not ideal for some kinds of web pages — companies that rely on a page with many small interactions are better off building entirely different mobile sites than they are on trying to force a complex website into a responsive format.
So what is going to be new for 2015? Here are our predictions:
- Infinite Scrolling Goes Mobile. Infinite Scrolling was popularized by Tumblr in 2011, and has taken a lot of sites by storm. It’s not great for every kind of page (looking at you, e-commerce anything), but there’s no real reason it shouldn’t play nice with a well-designed mobile page. It just hasn’t — yet.
- Microinteractions Do, Too. Microinteractions are the technical term for ‘any element of your website that interacts with the user in an unexpected and clever way that doesn’t actually affect the usability of the page.’ In other words, if you mouseover a button and it pulses with a momentary gleam of energetic light, that’s a microinteraction. Right now, mobile sites don’t have a lot of these small elements, but mobile web designers are learning that they can play, too — and we think they will.
- Card-Based Design Becomes The Norm. Card-based design — witness Pinterest — is kind of the ideal format for information in the tl;dr era. A picture, just a few words, easy to manipulate, easy to scroll through large numbers of (perhaps even infinitely scrolling to do so!)…they’re not universal, but they’re good for a startling amount of purposes. We think cards are going to be a hot mobile web technique this year.
Are we always right? Heck, no. But we’re pretty good at this — bookmark the page and check back at the end of the year to mock our arrogance!