Millis web design
Hello and welcome to this web design Web Designer Millis video tutorial.
I’m Owen Corso from Google.
And today, we’re going to build a rich media expandable creative with video.
Let’s start by selecting file, New File.
This opens a dialog box where we will set up our ad.
First, let’s make out high of project.
We have four options– The default is Display & Video 360so we will leave that as is.
Does Going to the Dentist Make You Nervous?
Sketch was made for screen-based design.
Websites, app interfaces, icons… these objects of design exist within a world of pixel measurements, RGB colors, and presentation on digital screens. Unlike many of the Adobe creative tools which include 10,000 features and the kitchen sink, Sketch is laser-focused in its purpose—and consequently works far better (and more efficiently) for what it does do.
Sketch was not made for print-based design.
Business cards, brochures, posters… these exist within a physical world of inch/centimeter/point/pica measurements, CMYK or Pantone colors, and presentation on a variety of papers and materials. Adobe Illustrator and InDesign are two of the most popular tools in this arena.
And when a print design project rolls around, you might find yourself yearning to continue using the same tool you’ve become so adept at using for web/UI design. I want you to know that it’s possible. Here’s how I do it:
(full disclosure: Adobe Illustrator is required)
The Magic Number 72
Dating back to the craft of setting lead type for a printing press, the primary units of measurement were points (72 per inch) and picas (12 per inch). Lead type (pictured here) is measured in points, and is produced in pica or half-pica increments such as 12, 18, 24, 36, and 72 points. Those numbers should sound familiar to you, as they became standard digital font sizes with the Macintosh. The first Macs used screens where every inch contained 72 pixels, resulting in 12pt text that looked practically the same size onscreen as in print. The evolution of pixels per inch (PPI) is too extensive for this article (especially since the advent of retina displays), although it’s important to know a bit about the origins of this 72:1 ratio.
This article will mostly use inch measurements, as used for print design in the US. If you are familiar with a centimeter workflow, I’d love to hear from you!
Sketch measures everything in pixel units, so we need a way to convert our design to the physical world of inches. By now you may have guessed where this is going: 72 pixels in Sketch converts to 1 inch in an exported PDF.
- An 8.5" × 11" piece of paper (US Letter) converts to a 612px × 792px artboard.
- A typical 3.5" × 2" business card converts to a 252px × 144px artboard.
- When adding a new artboard, Sketch 3 gives you a few “Paper Sizes” presets. Speed things up by adding your own custom artboard presets!
The pixel dimensions of a 72 PPI layout may be far smaller than you are used to when working on websites or user interfaces. Remember that the clarity of your print project is dictated by the print method you use—Sketch’s “Show Pixels” function is of no use here!
Tips for Designing Your Layout
- For elements in your design, try to use measurements that make sense in inches. 1px = 1pt for lines and font-sizes. I’ll often use 1/8 inch (9px) or 1/16 inch (4.5px) increments for layout elements.
- You can use Sketch’s Grid feature to make these inch-appropriate positions or measurements easier. I suggest a grid with a 9px (1/8 inch) block size and thick lines every 8 blocks (1 inch). Show/hide the grid with ⌃G on your keyboard.
- You can turn off “Pixel Fitting” in Preferences. There’s no need to be a stickler for pixel alignment as you would be for screen-based design.
Margins & Bleeds
Professional print shops often require your artwork to have extra space on all sides, extending any parts of your design that “bleed” out to the edge (see example below). This compensates for the slight, yet inevitable, variance in where the edges are cut on your final print. My printer asks for a 1/8 inch bleed, and I often add this to my Sketch layout (9px extra on all sides). If your design has elements that bleed, I suggest you do the same—if not, you can easily add these extra margins later when saving a PDF from Illustrator. Printers will also recommend that any text is at least 1/8 inch inside the trim lines (a “safe zone” or “critical print area”), as in the business card below.The “Trim Lines” indicate what the final card will look like. Because trimming is rarely 100% accurate, any parts of the design that extend to the very edge should continue out to a “Bleed”. Shown here, the bleed extends to 1/8 inch outside the artwork.
Preparing the File for Print
99% of print shops are strict about the specifications of your “artwork” files. The following process will help you give printers the files they want! If your layout relies heavily on images, gradients, or shadows, skip to the next section!
When you have finished your design in Sketch, export it as a PDF at 1x scale. Many programs, such as Preview or Adobe Illustrator will automatically interpret the file at 72 PPI. You can view the PDF’s dimensions in inches in Preview (Tools > Show Inspector, ⌘I), or in pixels using Finder’s Get Info window (under “More Info”). If you save your PDF through Illustrator, pixel and inch dimensions will be automatically included in the file.
There are 2 other things we need to change about Sketch’s exported PDF:
- Text needs to be “Converted to Outlines”.
- The colors need to be CMYK values instead of RGB.
- Any images in the design need to be embeded as CMYK images.
Converting Text to Outlines
To ensure that your design is printed exactly how you see it on your computer, it is important to convert the text objects in the PDF to actual vector shapes, or “outlines”. This makes the text look exactly the same on any program on any computer, regardless of the fonts you’ve used in the design, and regardless of whether or not those fonts are installed on the printer’s computer.
You can convert text to outlines in Sketch (more about that here), although if your design has more than a few lines of text, Sketch will slow down dramatically. If you want a guaranteed way to crash Sketch, try selecting a dozen text objects and converting them to outlines all at once! Fortunately, Adobe Illustrator excels in this department, so we’ll use that instead.
- Open the PDF in Illustrator and navigate to Select > All (⌘A), from the menu bar.
- Also in the menu bar, navigate to Type > Convert Text to Outlines (⌘⇧O). Easy as that!
Converting to CMYK Colors
After opening your PDF in Illustrator, navigate to File > Document Color Mode > CMYK Color. This converts the entire document to a CMYK colorspace from RGB. That’s the easy step. Now we have to change the colors in our design to actual CMYK values.
If you’re used to screen-based design and appreciate great colors, I feel obligated to tell you that CMYK may disappoint you. Due to the nature of combining those 4 colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) in ink, many bright and saturated colors are difficult or impossible to recreate. Without diving into color theory or the pros/cons of various print methods, I will simply suggest that for any color that is important to your design you see a sample of that exact color value from a similar printer on a similar material. To do this I recommend choosing a close match on a Pantone swatchbook (a bit pricey, but a great investment), or ask your printer for a printed sample of a variety of colors printed on the paper you’ll use (they probably already have these, and can give you each color’s CMYK value).
Once you’ve chosen great CMYK values for all your colors, it’s time to replace the color value for each of the elements in your design. This sounds tedious—and to a certain extent it is—but I’ve discovered a few shortcuts to help you!
- First off, you will need to select the elements whose colors you want to change. If you aren’t familiar with Illustrator, know that a layer is only selected when you click the small circle to the right of it. Simply clicking on the layer’s name will not do anything!
- If your design has many elements with the same color (say, all green text), they can be selected all at once by first selecting one instance of the element then clicking the “Select Similar Objects” button on the right of the toolbar. If this toolbar or button isn’t available, try navigating to Select > Same in the menu bar.
- When your elements are selected, hold down the Shift key when you click on the fill color in the toolbar (fill color to the left, stroke/border color to the right). Even elements that are pure black need to be converted to CMYK black, for which there is a little swatch below the color sliders.
When all of your text has been converted to outlines and all of your colors are CMYK, it’s time to save a separate PDF (I add “-print” as a suffix to the new filename). By using File > Save As, you get a trillion options for the PDF. The single option I ever use is to add a bleed margin (my printer likes 1/8 inch) on all sides of the artwork. To do this, go to the “Marks and Bleeds” section on the left and uncheck “Use Document Bleed Settings”, as shown below.
You’re all done! Trust me, next time this process will take you half as long!
Is Your Design Image-Heavy?
If your Sketch design includes bitmap images (non-vector images), they will be automatically converted from RGB to CMYK when you change the Document Color Mode. Upon importing the PDF to Illustrator, any shadows in your design will be converted to bitmap images and any gradients will become un-editable “Non-Native Art”. Because of this, if images, shadows, or gradients are important to your design, I strongly suggest you instead save the entire Sketch layout as a PNG and convert it to a CMYK file in Photoshop using the following steps.
- Export the Sketch artboard as a PNG at 4.166x scale, which gives you the amount of pixels you’ll need for a 300 PPI print-ready file. Printers rarely accept bitmap images less than this resolution. Make sure your artboard includes the necessary bleed margins (described above) before export.
- Open the PNG in Photoshop and navigate to Image > Image Size, in the menu bar. Uncheck the “Resample” checkbox and type in either the artwork’s dimensions in inches or the “Pixels/Inch” you used when exporting from Sketch (again, this is often 300 PPI). Click “OK”.
- In the menu bar, navigate to Image > Mode > CMYK Color. This will alert you that Photoshop is converting the file to a default CMYK color profile. This step may visibly change the colors of your design. Rest assured that your computer screen is not an accurate representation of colors in print, although you should also not expect the same bright or saturated colors capable with RGB (as described above).
- Adjust the colors slightly if you desire, then Save As a .psd or .tif file. Be sure to tell the printer what bleed margins you included in the artwork!
Of course you can use this process in conjunction with the PDF + Illustrator workflow above, by embedding the Photoshopped images into your Illustrator document. But most of the time I stick to one process or the other.
Is This Workflow Right for You?
If you’re fast at designing in Sketch, feel more at ease or more creative using it, or aren’t very familiar with Illustrator/InDesign, this may be good for you. This may also be a useful workflow if you have existing designs from Sketch (an interface, icon, logo) that you want to prepare for professional printing. I can’t read the future, but with Bohemian Coding’s small team and success focusing on screen-based design, I don’t advise you to hold your breath for print features. It’s a huge can of worms!Examples of projects made with this workflow. From packaging, to letterpressed business cards, to laser-engraved signage. This work for Juice Shop recently won the Type Directors Club’s prestigious annual design competition.
I’ve written this article to share my workflow for print design projects, but also to learn of ways that I might improve this workflow in the future. If you have any suggestions, especially related to Illustrator or the print process, feel free to share them!
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Sketch Master is a collection of video training courses for professionals learning Sketch—the popular design tool. sketchmaster.com
Millis web design
Next, we can select the type of ad.
We want to make an expandable, so we select Expandable on the left.
Next, we can set again ad’s dimensions.
We are building a 320 by 50that expands to 480 by 250.
So I will make those changes.
We then assign the Millis creative a name.
I will leave my Save ToLocation as the default, and leave the talk about set to Quick.
Once I’m happy with my settings, I click OK.
Google Web Designer creates the initial pages of the ad for me with the dimensions I defined.
The collapsed page already contains a Tap Area event to expand the ad and an expanded pageMillis with a close tap area to collapse back down.
How I joined Google
CHRIS: Welcome! My name is Chris and I'm a designer on the Google Web Designer team Today I'll walk through a new dynamictemplate with an emphasis on text We'll cover customizations includingconfigurable panels selecting nested elements, dynamic text fitting, editing groups and a demonstration of the template when uploaded into Display &Video 360 Ad Canvas Let's get started First let's navigate to the templatelibrary You'll find the template under the thumbnail Data Driven for Display & Video 360 Notice we have three new template layouts to choose from Blank Slate, Cue Cards and Panorama but today we'll be focusing on cue cards Let's create a template using cue cards I'm going to give the file a quick name andclick Create Now before we proceed in Google Web Designer let's take a quicklook at a design schematic of cue cards So cue cards is a template that utilizeselements and assets such as a logo, a background image, a swipe gallery a swipe gallery navigation, an animated arrow icon and three dynamic text groupslabelled SlideA through SlideC You also notice a few tap areas utilized for dynamic exits OK jumping back into Google Web Designer Let's review a fewimportant panels for customizing and configuring cue cards the template In the timeline you'll notice we have a lock icon Let's click the lock icon to unlock and edit the layer Let's select componentswipe-vertical Next navigate to the Properties panel The Properties panel iswhere we can configure the elements attributes style, position and size, andalso edit the component properties You'll find this component is driventhrough the use of groups SlideA, SlideB, and SlideC Now let's move to the Library panel We'll find the individual group definitions and group contents in the Library We can right click a group nameclick Edit and edit the contents of the group Protip: to quickly inspect theelements inside this group We'll use the Outliner The Outliner is a really coolnew tool for enabling us to view nested elements inside the group versus clicking through your divisions you can rapidly find which element you would like to target and edit You'll also notice in this creative we have twodivisions: wrap-SlideA txt-wrap-SlideA These are dynamic text divisions thathave a little bit of CSS logic that helped to auto center them depending upon what type of information comes down through the feed Now let's click on txt-description-SlideA in the Outliner You'll also notice there's a T icon next tothe txt-description-SlideA This signifies that it's a text element With the text element selected We will come up to the panel at the top named Text In the text panel you'll be able to configure text fitting of dynamic text and also the styling of the text in your document We can set a maximum size andalso a minimum size and when the dynamic text is passed to the division it will display the rendered fitted text size Now let's navigate back to the root ofthe document you'll notice we have breadcrumbs in the bottom left-hand corner of the stage right above the timeline Let's click Div to jump back tothe root of our document Now two more notable panels are the Events panel and the Dynamic panel In the Events panels we have events thatare specific to the control over the animated arrow icons behavior during autoplay and also during user gesture Next to the Events panel we have theDynamic tab These are the dynamic bindings that enable this document to bebound dynamically including assets, text, styling, and click exits You'll also notice Brand Awareness ishighlighted Brand Awareness is the schema we are going to be utilizing inside of Display & Video 360 Ad Canvas click OK to exit the dialog As an added bonus I would like to demonstrate the power of this creative If I jump over to a mock from a visual designer this is technically the specthe designer would like me to build to This creative is dynamic so the textcould technically be interchanged Let's fast forward to what the creative canlook like if I built it using Google Web Designers Cue Cards template You'll notice as I refresh this page the creative auto animates The arrow tries to grab the users' attention by animating and jumping The creative also has anavigation on the right hand side where we can drive the creative Users can also use gesture to scroll through the creative upon user interaction Let's say I wanted to publish this creative and upload it into Display & Video 360Ad Canvas So you might have a question what is the Ad canvas The Ad Canvas isa visual editor you can use to build and edit creatives in real time The Ad Canvas only supports our Google Web Designer data driven templates and also custom variations So in DV360 my template is loaded in the center and on the right hand side I have a UI that is editable on-the-fly You'll notice textfitting is working Variations and iterations can be knockedout proofed and signed off in a matter of minutes now with Google Web Designer'snew data driven templates in the Ad Canvas The new dynamic workflow hasnever been easier if you would like to learn more about Ad Canvas please look in the details section of this video for a Display & Video 360 Ad Canvascomprehensive demonstration link This wraps up our video Please have funcreating new dynamic ads Thank you from the team at Google Web Designer.
7 future web design trends
Ant (GitHub) is much more than a React UI kit with a minimalist design aesthetic and every component under the sun. It is a rabbit’s hole that leads to a giant maze of interconnected libraries, with a serious ecosystem surrounding it. There’s a custom build tool based on Webpack called ant-tool, several CLI apps, community scaffolds, and a complete framework (dva, which has its own CLI as well). And the UI components are mini-projects in and of themselves — see this repo for information on each component.
Many of these libraries appear to be very polished, including an entire React animation library. And I’d love to learn more about them, but Ant comes with a challenge — the majority of the documentation is in Chinese.
How’s Your Chinese?
Let me preface this by pointing out that the components library and its terrific style guide have been translated into English by generous volunteers, so the UI kit is completely usable. And the translation effort demonstrates the project’s intentions to open up Ant to a wider audience, boding well for companies considering adopting it.
However, there are some language issues that remain. The English is sometimes confusing or obscure. The maintainer of the library has commented here that they welcome PRs for improving the documentation, so that could be a great way to get involved in this amazing project.Good luck hunting down issues!
Another issue is that issues in Ant.Design are mostly filed and debated on GitHub in Chinese. This could be a deal breaker for enterprise applications, but I’m not sure it should be one for early startups since Ant can be used quite minimally, without making use of smarter features like built-in form validation. Still, if you find an issue or bug with the library, it will be difficult to research previous solutions to your issue, and that’s why I recommend making minimal use of the surrounding ecosystem at this stage.
Popular UI libraries for React include Material-UI, Semantic-UI, Foundation, and Bootstrap (this and this), and they are all fairly mature. Material-UI should be singled out as it massively eclipses the others in popularity, with over 22k stargazers — and over 600 open issues. But it turns out that Ant.Design is a surprisingly worthy candidate as well. It’s battle tested by some of the most well-trodden sites on the web (Alibaba, Baidu), and it boasts a brilliant style guide, custom tooling, and, of course, a comprehensive catalogue of components. It also has only 85 open issues at the time of writing, which is a good thing considering its popularity.
So let’s take a tour of the library, see what it has to offer, and how to get started using it.
The Ant components list is dizzying. Sure, it contains the basics — modals, forms (inline and vertical), navigation menus, a grid system. But it also contains a ton of extras, such as a @mentioning system, a timeline, badges, a seriously nice table system, and other small fancy features, such as an involved address box (see the Habitual Residence field). Have a look — it has everything that a modern web application should, with a tasteful, minimalist aesthetic.
There’s a nice, concise section in the documentation on the guiding principles of Ant.Design. I found it a great read as it got me thinking a lot about UI/UX considerations, especially the “Provide an Invitation” section, where they discuss different ways of making interactions discoverable by a user. By the way, if anyone can recommend me a good book on UX, I would be grateful.
The Ant layout system is comprised of a 24-aliquot (a great new word that I learned from the translated documentation — it means parts of a whole) grid and a separate Layout component than you can choose to use. The grid uses the familiar Row/Col system, but you can also specify a prop called flex which allows you to harness Flexbox properties to define a responsive UI. (See a previous blog post of mine for help grokking the Flex standard.)
Flexbox is now fully supported on just about every browser (with partial support on IE 11 as well as some older mobile browsers), so it should be fine to use. If your customer base is largely Internet Explorer users, which does happen in some industries or countries, you would be wise to abstain from using flex Rows or the Layout component, as Layout is built strictly on Flexbox.
Layout includes components for a Sider, Header, Content, and Footer. Again, these are strictly based on Flexbox, so there’s no choice here — but to be honest I’m not sure what these components give you on top of using the standard Row/Col grid system, aside from a couple extra props you can make use of and possibly some built-in design choices. All in all, it doesn’t seem to me to be hugely useful.
Col elements can be supplied with a span prop to define how many aliquots a column takes up and an offset prop to define an optional offset; Row can take a gutter prop to define space between columns in a row (in pixels, not aliquots).
Here’s a UI example from a side project of mine. It contains one row with two columns:
The code would look something like this:
Ant does not let you down as far as forms are concerned, with options for inline, horizontal, and vertical forms, amazing select boxes, and clear validation messages and icons. In fact, it goes a little overboard here. It allows you to wrap your entire form-rendering component in a higher-order component à la Form.create()(<Component />) to gain access to a built-in validator syntax and custom two-way-binding system (cue audible lip biting). You can then specify standard rules such as ‘required’, or supply custom validator methods. (What are Higher Order Components? Check out this excellent post by James K. Nelson.)
Do you need to use their HOC? Absolutely not, and I’m not sure you should. As I said above, going down that path could expose you to language risk should you encounter bugs and I don’t see why you would want to use a custom two-way binding data system anyway. But you could easily use the HOC and just not use the two-way data binding.
Au Naturel — Plain React Forms
So let’s go over how to use the Ant validation messages without using their higher-order component.
Ant gives us three props that we can supply to each Form.Item component to display validation messages or icons:
- validateStatus — This determines the colour & icon scheme of the validation message (see photo above) — valid options are success, warning, error, and validating.
- help — The validation message to display.
- hasFeedback — This is one of them props that don’t require a value. Just include if you want to display the associated icon, and it defaults to true.
Here’s an example of a simple form element that displays a validation message:
Notice that I used the long-form Form.Item component name. You can make yourself a shortcut for this and any other Ant sub-components as follows:const FormItem = Form.Item;// .. allows you to use:
Form Validation using the Ant Higher-Order Component
Now what if we do want to make use of the Ant Form decorator? It’s fairly straightforward to implement. Create your React component class, and then pass it as an argument to Form.create(). The component can then be exported:class SomeComponent extends React.Component
render() <place_form_here.. />
FancyFormComponent = Form.create()(SomeComponent);export FancyFormComponent as default ; // imported as SomeComponent
Inside your form, decorate your Input fields using the getFieldDecorater method, which exposes a ton of extra props on your component. You can now manipulate form elements directly from the props (eek!).
This example in the documentation gives a thorough demonstration on using the complete higher-order component.
Interactive Components — Message (Alert)
Ant provides a number of other components that give web applications a high degree of interactivity. A great example is alerts — or messages, as they’re called in Ant. Adding an alert is as simple as calling message.success('Great! Item has been saved.') in your component. Message types include success, warning, or error. Just don’t forget to import message (lowercase) from ‘antd’.Minimalism at its Best
As I mentioned above, you can either go all-in on the Ant ecosystem (with its custom Webpack adapter), or just opt for the design framework. I went with the latter and I suspect you might too, not the least because using other parts of the ecosystem could require a working knowledge of Chinese. But I’ll cover both options.
Option 1 — Use the CLI
Ant comes with antd-init, a CLI for generating a complete React application with Ant installed. I do not recommend this route for non-Chinese speakers, but if you want to try it, getting started is easy. Just install the CLI using npm, create a new folder, and run antd-init:npm install antd-init -g; mkdir demo-app; cd $_; antd-init;
You will then be greeted by the following message:antd-init@2 is only for experience antd. If you want to create projects, it’s better to init with dva-cli. dva is a redux and react based application framework. elm concept, support side effects, hmr, dynamic load and so on.`
It’s a rabbit’s hole. Open your new application and you will see that your familiar webpack.config.js file is no longer familiar — the CLI uses ant-tool, a “Build Tool Based on Webpack” that I mentioned above. The documentation is in Chinese, but it appears to set common defaults for Webpack and then allow you to just supply values that you want to override. Here’s what the config file looks like:// Learn more on how to config.
// — https://github.com/ant-tool/atool-build#配置扩展module.exports = function(webpackConfig)
]); return webpackConfig;
The index.js contains a lovely demo page that uses the understated Ant styling.
Option 2 — Use Standard Webpack
This would be my preferred route, but it can be more complicated getting your Webpack settings right at first. The Getting Started page includes some good instructions. First install Ant in your React app:$ npm install antd --save
Ant recommends using their own babel-plugin-import in your .babelrc:"presets": [
"plugins": ["transform-decorators-legacy", ..., ["import", [ libraryName: "antd", style: "css" ]]
Make sure your Webpack includes loaders for .js and .css files, and you should be good to go. To use an Ant component, import it in the module file. E.g.import Row, Col, Icon, Button from 'antd';
There’s no doubt that Ant has a lot to offer as a UI framework, with a formidable catalogue of components and a serious ecosystem around it. It does, however, come with some risk. If you experience an issue with the library, you may be stuck communicating in Chinese. Ultimately I recommend trying it out if you like the minimalist aesthetic, while keeping usage of the peripheral Ant ecosystem to a minimum.
1. Gestures are the new clicks
We forget how hard scrolling webpages used to be. Most users would painstakingly move their mouse to the right edge of the screen, to use something ancient called a ‘scrollbar’:
As a pro, you probably used a mouse wheel, cursor keys, or trackpad, but you were way ahead of most users.
In 2015 it’s far easier to scroll than it is to click. On mobile, you can scroll wildly with your thumb. To click on a precise target is actually more difficult — the complete opposite of what we’re used to on the desktop.
As a result, we should expect more and more websites to be built around scrolling first, and clicking second. And of course, that’s exactly what we’ve seen everywhere:
There’s every reason to expect this trend to continue as mobile takes over more of the market. Modern sites have fewer things to click, and much more scrolling. We’ll see fewer links, more buttons, bigger ‘clickable’ areas, and taller pages that expect to be scrolled.
Websites which spread their articles onto multiple pages will soon learn this lesson. Expect these to turn into longer single pages or even, like TIME magazine, into infinite scrolling pages:
It’s too early to know if the web will expand itself onto devices like watches, but if it ever does, you can bet it’ll be almost entirely driven by gestures.
2. The fold really is dead this time
Now scrolling is so cheap, and devices are so varied in size, ‘the fold’ is finally becoming irrelevant.
Designers are increasingly free to not cram everything at the top of a page. This leads to a design trend popularised by Medium — full-screen image titles, with no content visible until you start scrolling:
With tall, scrolling pages, designers have the chance to do what magazines have taken for granted for years: fill their pages with big beautiful images. In 2015 expect to see more designs that take up much more space — especially vertically — and a lot of larger imagery like this.
3. Users are quicker, websites are simplifying
Today every young adult is an expert web user. And even the amateurs are acting like pros: using multiple tabs, and swiping to go back a page.
The result is that everything is faster. And we’ve all learned to become impatient. If you want to make a mild mannered person explode with annoyance, just make their Internet really slow for a minute.
Now websites are forced not just to become faster (a technical problem), but to become faster to understand. Designs which slow the user down have the same impact on their audience as these websites which don’t load at all.
Simpler designs are easier to scan, which means they’re faster to appreciate. It’s easy to see which of these two designs is newer, and it’s because it’s the one that user’s can enjoy the fastest:
This is the biggest reason for the death of skeuomorphic design: users are more perceptive, less patient, and clutter only slows them down.
Apps put most websites to shame with super-minimal, beautiful interfaces. And they’re doing this because minimal interfaces perform better.
Flat design is just the beginning. The real trend is towards simplicity and immediacy, and we expect that to go further than ever in 2015.
4. The pixel is dead
On a desktop, a pixel was a pixel. You even had an idea of how many pixels made up an average inch: 72 dpi. Nowadays very few people know what a pixel is.
With responsive design, we’ve seen a move towards grids and percentages. But one huge area remains still unchallenged: bitmap images.
Almost all of the web is built with images that have half the resolution of a modern display, and they don’t scale. With Retina displays and modern browsers, the time is right for vector images to become more popular in 2015.
We can see this trend already happening with the font-based icons and Google’s Material design. The website loads faster and scale the icons to any size without losing quality. That makes them ideal for designers and modern web browsers.
The technology exists now, but it will take time for professionals to change their habits to create for higher quality displays. Once the average desktop display becomes Retina-grade (like the new iMac), we expect designers to follow suit.
5. Animation is back
If you want to make a website look dated, cover it with animated “Under Construction” GIFs and Flash animation. But several things are coming together to make animation a rising star in modern web design.
Flat design can end up looking too consistent, boring even. Animation helps a website to stand out and to pack more information into less space.
Mobile apps have redefined what a user expects. Mobile apps use motion to convey meaning, and websites are just starting to do the same.
New technologies like CSS animation make it easy to enhance designs without plugins, speed or compatibility issues. And Web Components (#6, below) will only accelerate this.
GIF animation is back, and surprisingly effective. You’ll notice this article makes extensive use of GIF animation (if it doesn’t, you should view this version), which has never been easier to create or share.
6. Components are the new frameworks
Web technology continues to get more complicated, and less semantic. Designers must embed messy code onto their pages for simple tasks, like including Google Analytics or a Facebook Like button. It would be a lot easier if we could just write something like this instead:
And we can with Web Components, which aren’t quite ready to be used by most designers yet. 2015 is looking like their year.
Google’s Material design is here, and it may just be what gets this movement started. Powered by Polymer, and supported by all modern browsers, it provides the rich animation and interaction components from Android apps, with simple tags like these:
If that takes hold, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more component based frameworks appear in 2015. Perhaps Bootstrap 4.0?
7. Social saturation and the rise of direct email
Social media has been a huge success for consumers, but many content producers aren’t so happy.
The problem is saturation. With billions of posts every day, Facebook learns the posts that users are most likely to enjoy and shows only those. Unfortunately that means over time, what you post is increasingly seen by a smaller percentage of your followers. (A problem you can solve, conveniently, by paying Facebook).
Social isn’t going away, but in 2014 we’ve seen a lot of prominent bloggers like Tim Ferriss move their focus away from social and into good old fashioned email lists. They’ve realised that email has one significant advantage over social: a much higher percentage of people will see what you send them.
I expect this post-social trend to continue into 2015, with the under-appreciated trend of Web Notifications (which work much like notifications in a mobile app).
Bonus non-prediction: CSS shapes
This cool technology won’t get noticed, except by designers. CSS shapes allow you to flow layout into shapes, like circles:
It’s incredibly cool, but until browser support is guaranteed, this is likely to be too risky to put time and effort into it you’d need almost two complete designs, for old and new browsers. And outside of designers, we don’t think many users would notice.
It is really cool though.
What to expect in 2015
In 2014 we saw mobile use overtake desktop, but the general public hasn’t caught up. Most organisations still commission a website to look good on their computer first and work on mobile second.
In 2015 that strategy is likely to look out of touch and unprofessional. As the mobile becomes the main device for browsing the web, “mobile-first” will become less of a buzzword and more of a requirement.
Flat design may be everywhere, but when you look beyond ghost buttons the real trend is that simpler sites are faster at gratifying users.
Simplicity is not just a fashion: it’s the future. Expect it to only continue.
It will become more and more common to embed animation into blog posts, and for motion to signify both premium quality (for those who can afford it) and to support the user experience.
Pixels and the fold will slowly be set aside making more room for scrolling and click-second experiences. Web Components will make it easier to deliver app-like experiences in our websites.
Right now you see the best of mobile app design appearing in web design. With enough time, the difference between an app and a website might almost entirely disappear.