The world of web design is not susceptible to fast trends; changes are usually more gradual, more fundamental. There has been a slow shift toward the use of content management systems and social media integration in the last few years, and this is set to continue. Designing for tablets, integration of social media, screen-filling design, unique typography, and the use of CM, here are five main web design trends that are expected to go mainstream in the coming year.

1. Tablets and Smartphones

Cisco, Dell, Acer, Asus, LG, and Samsung are all releasing Android Tablets by the end of this year, so the tablet will no longer be for Apple aficionados only. With more and more people seeing the tablet as a valid replacement for a laptop or notebook, websites will need to be compatible with tablet browsers. The same can be said for smartphones. If the mobile market is important to your business, you could even consider making an app for your products or services.

2. Screen-filling Design

Because screens keep getting bigger and resolutions higher, older websites often show a lot of unused space around the design. With all this available space, many sites opt for screen-filling background photos and complicated designs. With today’s high-speed internet connections, uploading large images is no longer a problem.

3. Social Media

Integration of social media in websites is on the increase. While some sites offer Twitter updates in their web pages, others allow you to share content from their site with your Facebook friends. This means fresh content for your site and free promotion for your business, all without having to spend any money.

4. Unique Typography

There is no need to stick to web-safe fonts anymore. Using techniques like @font-face or Google fonts will give websites that extra bit of individuality. Fonts can be chosen to suit the house-style of the business, without affecting SEO (search engine optimization). Just don’t lose sight of readability.

5. CMS as Standard

In the near future, most businesses will run their website on a content management system, or CMS. This way, one or more employees of the business can have complete control over the content of the website, without having to consult an expensive specialist.

Design and development are becoming more integrated. Websites are no longer there to dazzle, they need to be functional first. These five trends reflect the overall trend for simplicity, individuality, and functionality.

– Constance Bourg © 2011