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21 Digital Predictions for 2014

Talented digital creative agency Rubber Cheese publish an inspiring and informative blog covering everything from eCommerce to Instagram to packaging design. This week, The Red Tree features a comprehensive post from Trudy Collins who shares her 21 digital predictions for 2014 – covering web design, marketing and technology. What will we see in 2014?

Website Design

Everything surrounding us is becoming more complex by the day. Social networking platforms and new devices are multiplying, so it’s becoming increasingly important to simplify everything we can in order to communicate our messages clearly to our poor, slightly frazzled minds. Simplicity also helps buckets when it comes to website speeds, which is great for all those impatient so and so’s (so, all of us then!)

Flat Design:
Since the iOS7 update which gained some rather mixed reviews, ‘flat’ design has been used a lot the past few months. We predict that the trend will continue throughout the best of 2014, and we will see some vast improvements to the overall quality and style of flat design in the coming year compared to what we have seen so far, with slightly more depth… if that makes sense.

Parallax scrolling has become a really popular feature in web design this year, and we think that in 2014 we’ll start to see a slicker, smoother and more improved parallax scrolling experience. It does however need to be used with caution and in the correct way – scroll down to the ‘crafted for creativity’ section of the 53 website for a good example.

Designing for Retina Displays:
You may have noticed that the latest mobile, tablet and desktop devices appearing on the shelves have ‘retina’ display. This simply means you’re getting double the pixels, doubling the image sharpness, overall quality and helping to reduce eyestrain. So, we need to be designing our websites and digital applications for retina displays using optimised raster images or scalable vector graphics if we want them to future-proof them for longer.

Although responsive web design has been around for a little while now, responsive design will continue to become bigger and more wide spread. Make sure you read our dedicated blog to find out more about responsive design and what makes it so vital for businesses.

Single Page Websites:
There was a time when a one page website was a simple holding page. That time has officially passed, now we have the ability to scroll down a page to infinity.. quite literally – you can even scroll the ‘Distance to Mars’. Single page websites are now much more interactive, user friendly and fun – we think we’ll be seeing this lots more in 2014. For example, we recently designed a single page website design for The Three Tuns.

Online Storytelling:
Using modern web design techniques like HTML 5 & CSS3, storytelling websites will become much more popular. Check out, a great website which tells us the fascinating story of how much water we use per day, and how much gets wasted, all in a well designed, one page interactive website.

Infographics (with Interactivity):
Our brains crave infographics. Did you know it only takes us 150ms for a symbol to be processed, and a further 100ms to attach a meaning to it? Our suffering brains who receive 5x times as much information today as they did in 1986 really like infographics. They’re engaging, accessible, quicker to digest, and they are extremely sharable. So we think infographics will be sticking around for some time, and becoming a lot more interactive…


Quality Trumps Quantity:
Since Google’s recent updates, quality content is becoming all the more vital. To get Google on your side, create unique, high quality content. And to get the people on your side, you need to entertain them, tell them stories and educate them with bite sized nuggets of information. Speed, personality and humour will help your brand to shine.

Emotional Storytelling:
If you haven’t noticed, brands have been jumping on the bandwagon lately by getting emotional with their marketing. Without you knowing it, emotion pulls you in and creates a connection between you and their brand.. and when opinions based on emotions are formed, all rational thinking goes straight out the window, helping to increase sales.

Video will continue to soar next year. It currently makes up one third of our online activity, and it accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic too – mind blowing! However, as our attention spans are forever decreasing, we think the shorter the videos will gain huge popularity next year. For example Vine, Instagram and animated Gif’s we think will continue to grow. Check out out recent blog ‘Video is King’ for more info on how video is slowly taking over the world wide web!

Brand Personality & Emotional Connections:
Having brand personality is becoming more and more vital for businesses who want to stand out in the abyss of twitter avatars and websites. Too often we’re seeing faceless companies trying to sell on Twitter. It does not work. People buy from people, and especially from entertaining brand identities who they’ll relate to. Brands such as Nike, Redbull and American Express are becoming more like ‘broadcasters’ to strengthen their brand identity,

before spending money on traditional advertising methods, because it’s all about understanding what your customers care about, and keeping them ‘edutained’ (educated + entertained…)

Real Time Marketing:
Newsjacking is with us to stay. The era of real time marketing has provided companies such as Oreo with huge amounts of engagement online. We also think we’ll start to see more brands linking their TV spots with Tweets, as it’s an un-intrusive way of targeting their market. So advice to marketers out there, keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the world, and find relevant ways to use it to your advantage… and fast!

Big Data:
Data is everywhere, companies will become smarter with it and use it in more imaginative ways. They will start to market products or services to their consumers before they even know they need it. For example, Google Trends has used search terms to predict the spread of the Flu virus, Police departments are using it to predict crime before it even happens, and Planning Departments are using Big Data to establish how people’s locations and traffic patterns can be used for urban planning. Although it has proved useful to many, proceed with caution before using Big Data. Always respect your audience.


3D Printing:
3D printing sounds pretty high-tech, but it’s actually very simple, and as more printers enter the market causing prices drop it will become more mainstream, but they’re not quite cheap enough just yet, so we think it might be a while yet before they’re seen in your average household.

The Personal Cloud:
The worldwide cloud computing market has taken over. It’s advantages include increased reliability, data syncronisation, integration and the bonus… it allows you to access your files from anywhere in the world. It’s resulted in the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ movement (BYOD) to work environments worldwide, which is expected to grow further in 2014. So, if you haven’t yet migrated to the cloud, we think it’s definitely time to make the move.

Quite an obvious one this. 80% of the global population owns a smartphone, and the number of mobile internet users is looking set to increase the number of desktop internet users by 2015, so the mobile movement will continue prominent throughout 2014… it’s no longer just a trend, it’s a way of life. This will make mobile marketing strategies and mobile responsive websites even more vital if you want your business to stick around beyond 2014.

iOS/Andriod Applications + SMS:
69% of mobile users spend their time using Apps from the 900,000+ available in the app store. We think that in 2014 we’ll start to see lots more Apps which have a cleaner, simpler user friendly experience helping them to become more valuable to mobile users everywhere. Meanwhile, 92% of mobile users spend their time using SMS, and 97.5% of SMS messages are read within 5 seconds. Businesses have slowly started jumping on this bandwagon to get ahead of the game helping to increase their m-commerce sales… it hasn’t quite taken off to the masses just yet, but watch this space!

Smart Cities:
Location based software has started to soar. For a really great example of a genius location based marketing ploy, check out our post on ‘Meatpack Hijack’. Another innovative use of this technology is the ‘Rapid Rescue’ app by the Singapore Red Cross Society, which allows people who face a medical emergency use their iPhone to locate individuals near to them who are trained in first aid. Location based technology also allows you to find local businesses, restaurants, directions and more, all from your smartphone, very handy!

Face Recognition Advertising:
Tesco has recently revealed their new plans to install face-scanning technology to it’s stores which will determine the age and sex of their shoppers, allowing them to target them with appropriate advertisements. Yes, it’s slightly invasive, and whether a machine will be able to accurately tell the demographics of a person is a bit controversial, but nonetheless it’s a big step in advertising which one day could make going to the shops a bit like a scene from Minority Report!

Wearable tech…?
Wearable tech has yet to take off.. and despite the media telling us we’re all going to start morphing into our smartphones in 2014, we’re not so sure. Not many people would go out in public wearing Google Glasses for their awkward appearance, and the slightly masculine Smartwatches on the market won’t be for everyone. For wearable tech to succeed it needs to have fit, function and fashion… we’re not sure if the mass market are ready for it just yet.

Check out the Rubber Cheese blog at for more articles. Or, to contact Rubber Cheese, email or telephone 0845 867 6750.

The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.

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