Trend Spotting: Web Design Trends in the Mobile Technology Industry

We’ve witnessed 2014 as a busy year for the mobile technology industry. The number of devices on store shelves is enough to make your head spin and new tech is rolling out every month. In such a competitive market, how are companies like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft making their devices and mobile operating systems stand out in the crowd?

The biggest brands in mobile tech are spending billions of dollars on advertising every year in an effort to dominate the mobile landscape. A large majority of those budgets are spent on direct advertising in the form of television spots, magazine ads and paid media. For many consumers though, direct advertising quickly becomes repetitive and invasive.

In contrast, indirect advertising methods like landing pages and microsites often costs less to produce and rely on creative marketing and interactivity to draw visitors in. Lets take a look at some examples from this year’s hottest mobile tech to learn more about how web design trends are playing a key role in driving sales.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Microsite

For the Galaxy S5 microsite, Samsung went big, and we mean full screen big. A few trends easily spotted right out of the gate include streaming video backgrounds, full-bleed imagery and parallax scrolling. There is also a persistent vertical navigation very common in parallax style pages.

The pages load quickly thanks to compressed backgrounds and short looping video clips that stream into place after the page appears. The Galaxy S5 microsite is also fully responsive, arguably one of the hottest web design trends in recent years. The graphics, videos and content all scale down gracefully to smaller screens making the content accessible to desktop and mobile users alike.

Last, but not least, is the use of large sans-serif typography which we’ll be seeing plenty more of in the rest of our examples.

What We’d Change:
During our review, we didn’t like the way the site auto scrolled to the second slide, hiding the header after just a few seconds. Scrolling in general seemed slow to trigger some of the parallax animations compared to the fluid transitions we’ve seen on other sites.


Windows Phone Site

Microsoft has taken a much more traditional approach to its Windows Phone site.

The first trends to jump out at visitors are the chromeless videos, sliding carousels and edge-to-edge backgrounds. The use of flat colors is also a very popular trend in modern web design thanks to both Apple and Microsoft adopting that style in their mobile operating systems (it seems they finally agree on something). With solid colors replacing heavier textures, the design is very vibrant and the site loads very quickly. Large sans-serif typography is prominently featured throughout the site as well.

What We’d Change:
Unlike the Galaxy S5 microsite, this example is not responsive down to mobile resolutions, which would have been a nice compliment to the clean design. There is also a lot of great content buried inside a carousel halfway down the page. It would have been nice to see that content surfaced more prominently within the page rather than folded into several horizontal slides.


LG G Flex Landing Page

The most dominant trend on the LG G Flex landing page is the large carousel near the top of the page, commonly called the rotating hero banner. Visitors are quickly drawn away from the carousel though as music begins to play in the background.

Scrolling down the page reveals the source of the music, an embedded YouTube video set to auto play. Everyone has different opinions about background music and auto play on web pages but, like it or not, it’s a trend in the modern web. Large visuals and sans-serif typography quickly close out this example by LG, demonstrating that minimalism is still trendy as well.

What We’d Change:
We tend to prefer user-triggered interactions, especially when music is involved so the auto play has to go (see, everyone has an opinion). We’d also like to see the page broken up a bit as the content seems to run together over the solid background.


Apple iOS 8 Preview Site

Apple, a company better known for setting trends than following them, holds true to its iconic minimal palette in their iOS 8 preview site. This site takes edge-to-edge visuals and large sans-serif typography to the next level.

As one of the slowest loading examples on our list (by a small margin), Apple relies solely on their vibrant photography and marketing copy to appeal to visitors. Clean iconography, another trend Apple is well known for, is prominent throughout the site as well.

To close out the list of trends, Apple adds a persistent horizontal navigation bar, complete with mega-menu, as visitors scroll down the page.

What We’d Change:
The running tagline for iOS 8 is “Huge for developers. Massive for everyone else.” Ironically, we feel like Apple could afford to be a little less massive in this case and tone the image sizes down just a bit. The product photography looks amazing but load times could be greatly improved with a little fine-tuning. We’d also like to see Apple try responsive design for a change, but that’s a much longer discussion.


Amazon Fire Phone Product Page

Amazon is a relative newcomer to the mobile tech race and, true to form, they take a very straightforward approach to driving sales. The Fire Phone product page doubles as a purchase funnel and marketing pitch.

As visitors scroll down the page, the Amazon UI quickly disappears to make room for a number of notable web design trends including high resolution visuals, large sans-serif typography and strong iconography. One additional trend not seen in our other examples is the use of animated gifs that have made a comeback in recent years thanks to the widespread popularity of memes and image sharing web sites.

What We’d Change:
Amazon may be the biggest online retailer in the world but someone should let them know that they just brought a shopping cart to a marketing party. It may increase sales, but it detracts from the overall experience. We would love to see their marketing materials get the treatment they deserve within a microsite or standalone-landing page.


Android Mobile OS Site

The Android Mobile OS site takes a queue from all of our previous examples, weaving trends together seamlessly into an elegant experience. This example is complete with full-bleed backgrounds, chromeless videos, persistent navigation, flat colors, animated images and, of course, large sans-serif typography.

Additionally, the site loads very quickly and is fully responsive across all screen sizes making it one of the most well rounded examples we reviewed.

What We’d Change:
The only thing we’d adjust in this example would be the mobile font sizes to increase legibility on smaller screens. Aside from that, Android has a very polished site chocked full of hot web trends. We tip our hats to a job well done.

There we have it! Six different companies. Six unique products. Six very different examples of popular web design trends being used to reach consumers via indirect marketing.

Have you seen a mobile tech site that caught your eye recently? Did we miss any notable trends in our examples? What upcoming trends are you exited about seeing in 2015? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

By D.S. Webster

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