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2012 Design Trends Review

I've been watching web and graphic design trends for years and years and at the end of every year I take the time to reflect on what I've seen. Out of all of these reflections, this years is by far the most exciting. Previous years have consisted mostly of specific parts of sites that I recognized as successful and how I would use them better in the future in my own designs. This year, I'm not picking out pieces. There are very distinct systems that have taken over and are superior in basically every way. The web, software/firmware and operating system worlds are slowly becoming one and the most successful systems on either side are starting to look very similar. Fundamentally, what is different from you running an app on your smart phone and you loading a mobile website on you smart phone. The answer: nothing really, except how you got to it.

Before I continue, let me point out some of these successes and what they have in common. I'm specifically talking about Pinterest's main content presentation, the new PSN Store design and the new Windows 8 Live Tiles (which are loosely based on any other paged icon layout...cough...iOS...Android...cough, but they're old news). You can see images of all three below. What all three accomplish beautifully is presenting content in a way that packs the most content into one screen as possible without overwhelming the user and maintaining the ease of navigation with both touch and keyboard/mouse controls. The user can scroll down/over, see what catches their eye from a multitude of different items, find what they're looking for and continue into just that item. They accomplish this by having very distinct tiles containing pieces of content, sometimes weighed differently by size, that are easily browsed by scrolling or paging. I hope you are beginning to see the system I am talking about.

examples

Now, this isn't a new concept (EMCS has been using similar systems for years), but what's exciting is that now websites, applications, and operating systems are all beginning to adopt a universal system that is slowly being perfected with every version. This is the beginning of a new technological culture starting to emerge. If you think back to science fiction in the 90's and even today, every single space ship had the stereotypical hologram floating in front of them that they controlled with their hands. The closest thing we had to that at that time was the mouse, which is obviously extremely far removed. Even when the touch screen was invented, it was still very far removed from what they are now. I'm not saying that we're there yet, but it seems we have finally mastered the touch screen and our software is beginning to show it in its functionality. This means we are close to the end of touch screens being a 'new' thing and something is about to take their place as that 'new' thing (maybe even holograms) and we will all begin to take touch screens and their associated software for granted. I always found it interesting that science fiction becomes the future's science; why does science never deviate from our own imaginations? That, however, is a question for a different time...

As a business owner, its time to really think about the goal(s) of your website. Is your website delivering on those goals? Is your website presenting information in a way that will not get passed over when everyone is using a touch screen in this way? Jack Welch, former CEO and Chairman of General Electric said that "When the rate of change outside exceeds the rate of change inside, the end is in sight." We are in tough times right now, but if you don't continue to move forward, you will be left behind. EMCS can help you to move forward, no matter what your budget is. Just come talk to us and we can work something out.

I can't even begin to imagine what I will be reflecting on at the end of 2013...but it better be holograms. *Fingers crossed*

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