4 Trends of The Adapting Web

Posted on Mon, October 21, 2013 in User Interface, Web Design, by Kevin Carpenter

As 2013 draws to an end, the web design and development world has changed a lot. Here are some trends that I predict will continue to become more and more popular in the year 2014.<br>

Responsive Design for Every Display

Responsive web design has been around for several years now, but it really came alive in the last year. We’ve seen more widespread adoption of adaptive, fluid approached websites.

Every major site  has converted to a fully responsive design which looks good on all devices, not just mobile phones and desktop computers.

In the WordPress market (66% of the market), nearly all newly released themes come fully mobile-optimized, bearing the “responsive” badge on their download pages. This trend is also present across web hosting sites such as GoDaddy and E-Commerce solutions such as Shopify.

In 2014, it’s obvious that this trend will continue with more and more device widths to design, develop, and test for. It won’t only be about folding down the design from desktop to tablet to handheld. We will also need to plan for how websites will expand upward, adapting to larger and different types of displays. New devices are popping up in surprising places of various sizes. For an extreme example, think about the different sizes of screens available in cars today which all have access to the web.

Whether or not Apple actually releases a TV set in 2014, you can bet on large-screen web browsing to become more and more popular in the living room, on the digital menu board and in the local cafe. Websites need to be ready for every device they are displayed on.

Retina Displays

If you haven’t heard of “retina display” over the past couple of years, pinch yourself and get out more. Apple has coined this term for the latest generation of displays that have up to FOUR times the pixel density of non-retina displays.

For web developers, retina displays cause issues with some image-heavy websites, where some images can appear “grainy” or pixelated. To address this problem, web designers and developers were summoned into action and have since served up a variety of solutions. These include retina.js, along with HTML/CSS and pixel query solutions.

Twitter Bootstrap is THE Framework

There have been all sorts of frameworks for web creation, with varying degrees of popularity over the years. But no framework ever gained as much traction as Twitter Bootstrap has over the last year or two. For awhile, it seemed like a neck and neck race between Zurb’s Foundation and Twitter Bootstrap, but that has quickly turned into a one man race.

Twitter Bootstrap began as a barebones set of UI elements to speed up the process of creating web applications. It’s no longer just for creating a UI for Rails apps, however, as Bootstrap has since grown into a full-fledged web-creation framework, complete with responsive layouts, interactive JavaScript plugins, customizable components and more. Now websites of all shapes and sizes are using Twitter Bootstrap to create beautiful, responsive layouts and experiences and more plugins built on Bootstrap appear everyday.

In 2014, Twitter Bootstrap will continue to spread and gain widespread usage among web developers and designers. There are already quite a few resources springing up to support those creating with Twitter Bootstrap.

A couple resources come to mind:

Customizable Components for Twitter Bootstrap

Boottheme - A Twitter Bootstrap Theme Generator

Web Education

For too long higher education programs failed to provide a solid foundation for professional careers in the web design field. All of the coursework seemed to be five or more years behind the industry, adopting old age programs such as Dreamweaver and sometimes just the most basic websites built solely with Notepad. With today’s standards using these tools will set you up behind a growing curve when you need to be ahead.

In this industry we’re seeing new ways for newbies and experienced professionals alike to rapidly advance their skills and gear up for professional-level work as web designers enhancing the quality of work provided by Web Freelancers.

CodeSchool teaches web technologies in the comfort of your browser with video lessons, coding challenges, and screencasts. It provides a very engaging learning environment and the lessons start from ground zero to the most advanced concepts.

Treehouse aim is to teach anyone how to become a professional web designer or app developer. It offers high quality video courses, complete with projects, challenges and game mechanics to advance through the ranks at your own pace.


This past year has enabled web designers and developers to become more and more productive as these concepts and tools have come into play. In turn, websites are becoming more and more friendly to use, edit, and even develop. 2013 had a lot of pleasant surprises for us here at GRAYBOX, and as these new technologies continue to emerge and adapt, you can expect us to be at the forefront of the ever-adapting web industry.

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