If you often spend several hours online at different websites, you’ll notice some discernable trends in web design. Over the years, we’ve seen the trends change, particularly in web layouts and web apps. Advancing W3C, combined with modern browsers, have given way to a new era of digital design.

In today’s post, we’re going to showcase 10 growing trends that we hope to see blossom over the course of 2014. Many of these have already been set in motion, while others are just beginning to emerge.

New trends are really exciting and fun to check out and see how long they stick around. This year, when you browse different websites, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for any of these UI/UX trends in action and see how you can apply the same concept(s) to your future web projects.

HTML5 Video Players

A few years back, FLV videos are the best playback solution that we could come up with. Thankfully, times are quickly changing, thanks to HTML5 and emerging JavaScript libraries.

Flash still comes in handy in certain projects, but most web developers would agree that the future of Internet video is HTML5. I highly recommend these two scripts called Video.js and MediaElement.js. The former is much simpler and easier to use, but is limited with basic functionality. The latter, on the other hand, provides some default skins and greater documentation for building your own video player designs.

You can also try building a music or audio player out of the same codes. Both scripts provide documentation, along with an API, and they’re both amazing libraries. Remember to try them out when you need self-hosted videos on your future projects.

HTML5 Canvas

A lot of things can be said about the canvas element, and it’s quite a topic to study. But with the help of JavaScript, it’s now possible to create games or drawing apps right from within HTML5. Canvas element can even be used to collect signatures with the mouse! This example is from a simple Codepen entry. Another great example is this small horizontal loading bar that’s built using HTML5 canvas and JavaScript.

The possibilities are growing rapidly for HTML5 canvas, and I’m excited to see what else it has in store for us in the years to come.

Personal Portraits on Websites

Everybody loves a simple portfolio website. You want to convey a bit about yourself, where you’ve been, and showcase samples of your work. But to keep your viewers interested, you need to form a human connection. One of the best ways to do this is to include a sample photograph of yourself somewhere on the page.

In this portfolio website, site owner Andrea Mann uses a photo which encapsulates much of the homepage. Blended into the darker background and recolored to shades of black and white, the site leaves off a sleek and elegant look. It’s amazing, although you don’t always need to use large background portraits on your site. Even a small image in your homepage or ‘About’ page offers visitors a glimpse into who you are.

Witty Image Captions

A lot of modern websites use image galleries to showcase portfolio items, photos, articles, thumbnails, etc. Using a text caption helps visitors connect more information to the image. And with CSS3, you can rely on natural browser resources without using JavaScript effects.

Every website should have its own unique design to benefit the reader. Try out this tutorial from Codrops for figure numbering with CSS3. You can build caption-style labels which automatically append to the images (or in this case figures) on each page.

3D Transition Effects

If you browse through several websites, you’ll notice a number of creative 3D animations. These are often built into the page for animated image galleries, navigation menus, and elements. You can create these 3D effects using jQuery, although CSS3 is catching up fast.

Obviously, the animations aren’t fully supported in all browser, and designers should be careful when using too many animations on a single page. But if you like to up the ante, I’d highly recommend scouring the Web for 3D animated code samples to play around with.

Mobile-First Design

When browsing a website, it’s not easy to differentiate how the design process worked out. But the idea is to first mock-up how a website should look as a responsive layout on mobile screens. Eliminate all unnecessary elements and keep only the bare essentials. From here, it’ll be much easier to scale up your design to wider screens.Navigation menus become wider, content is lengthened, along with a possible sidebar.

Mobile-first design is a top priority for the mobile experience, which then becomes a foundation for the entire layout. A lot of designers and developers love this particular concept, and I hope that more people will implement this to their projects and see for themselves how it can affect workflow and the final outcome.

Grid-Style Layout

Most of us have probably had their first glimpse of grid design on Pinterest. Social news feeds have always been in a streamlined fashion, like in Twitter or Tumblr. Nowadays, even Facebook pages scatter timeline updates to appear like a grid. But this concept isn’t something you can force into any old website. There has to be a purpose – the user experience is always a top priority.

In situations using thumbnail images or text updates, the grid layout condenses everything into an easy-to-understand format. Everything is skimmable yet still coherent, and it doesn’t even eat up a lot of space on the page.

Open source JavaScript libraries like Masonry can do a lot of the hard work for you. Not a lot of websites use this feature, but the ones that do are often pleasing to the eyes.

CSS3 Animated Keyframes

For many years now, JavaScript has been the chief source for browser animation. Only recently has CSS3 become adopted into the mainstream, where developers can build their own animation effects using keyframes.

There’s another way animate using the transition property, although this only has one state for animation, whereas keyframes behave much like Adobe Flash. You set up a frame percentage value from 0% to 100%, and define properties that change over time. The latest CSS3 spec provides just the right tools for you to animate various elements in just about any style you like.

Extended Form Elements

Many frontend developers are familiar with the purpose of jQuery. It helps you write smoother JavaScript code with fewer lines and much less clutter. Now, there’s a huge market for free open source jQuery plugins, and they’re currently in high demand.

There’s a particular enthusiasm surrounding jQuery form plugins that improve the user experience. These effects could include floating labels, input validation, and guided tooltips, among many others. Unheap’s form gallery, for instance, catalogs open source jQuery plugins that you can download and test in your projects.

Unique Web Copy

One of the coolest new features in web development is the @font-face declaration. You can import font files that are locally or externally hosted on another server. These fonts are defined within CSS and you can even write them into font-family properties to style your webpage text.

This has grown to include font-based icons where flexible icons are rendered on the page as text. They may not be as well-designed in comparison to real graphics which can incorporate a variety of different colors, but simply having the ability to customize any font on the page is a powerful enough technique to help your site stand out from the crowd.