One of the biggest challenges I find as a web designer and front-end developer is constantly trying to keep up with new trends, web design is an ever changing industry which if you don’t keep up with you’ll get left behind in a dark room alongside flash and inline styling. So you may be wondering “how do I keep on top of things?” well it’s easier than you thought if you put enough time and effort in. I’ve come up with 5 simple ways to future-proof yourself:
1. Read Design Blogs
I know, simple right? Well, there’s a lot of designs blog out there that provide up-to-date news and trends. Personally I would suggest following some of the best sources such as Webdesigner Depot, Smashing Magazine, CSS-tricks, Treehouse Blog, UX Mag, Awwwards etc… They post some great stuff by some well-known industry experts.
2. Use Social Media
Social media can be one of the best tools to keep up to date with new trends. The key is to follow fellow designers, developers, design companies and people you think that might provide you with good informative updates. The likes of Chris Coyier, Eric Bidelman, Zeno Rocha and Mary Lou post some great stuff along with some fun tips and tricks too!
Don’t restrict yourself to using social media as a tool that just provides information, get involved in interacting with fellow designer and developers in your industry, build connections, share knowledge or even ask for feedback on something you’ve been working on.
3. Attend Conferences
Attending conferences is a great way to see the latest trends, technologies and best practices first hand. The only downside to attending conferences is some can be pricey, but in the long run it’s worth it and sometimes you can get your employers to pay for it if your lucky!
Conferences are attended by industry experts, fellow designers & developers so it’s a great networking tool. Some great upcoming events that you should consider are The Future Of Web Design, Generate Conference, Up Front 2015 and UX London. There are tons of conferences held up and down the country so have a look at what’s on near you!
4. Create New Trends
Particularly as designers, a lot of us tend to stick to a trend or style that we are familiar with because it’s used all over the web and its the ‘in thing’ right now. But all new trends come from somewhere right? So when designing, be bold, be brave and be innovative! Who knows, your new design might be the next trend in the web design world!
The best way I come up with new ideas is to create a blank document and get creative. Try new things, experiment with different features, layouts, tools and try not design to any sort of guideline.
5. Get Stuck In!
It’s okay reading, listening and learning about these new trends and techniques but what use do they have if you don’t put them to practice? If you have a project coming up and you feel something you’ve learned can be integrated into it, then don’t be shy! Even if the client doesn’t like it at least you’ve put it to good practice, where you can use it later down the line.
Web design is an industry where there are new trends coming out monthly, just make sure you keep on top of it. It takes a little time and effort to ‘future-proof’ yourself but in the long run you’ll reap the benefits and increase your knowledge and expertise at the same time.