WordPress Theme Trends To Keep An Eye On For 2014

WPKube.com LogoProspecting theme designers should take note of the nine WordPress design trends outlined by Rachel Adnyana of WPKube.com. Many of the trends on her list are carry overs from last year. Responsive is definitely not a trend but an expectation. Websites that are not responsive are at a serious disadvantage considering at least 17.4% of web traffic comes through mobile according to a study by Statista in 2013.

Fullscreen Background Images

One particular trend that I don’t understand is full-screen background images and videos. Where are people finding gigantic videos and images to use with these themes? Granted, if designed properly with the right images, these types of sites look great. Wall Street by Graph Paper Press is a great example of a design that looks good using fullscreen images. I’m just unsure of their practicality.

Wall Street By Graph Paper Press
Wall Street By Graph Paper Press

One Page Websites

The other trend I’ve taken note of is one page sites. Instead of the typical site layout with links to informative pages, all of the pages are combined into one page. As you scroll, different pages of information are shown. Thanks to the simplified display of content, navigation can be determined with clever graphical elements instead of an entire column of links. I’m not a fan of this design but I realize not every website has to convey information in the same manner.

Amongst the trends listed on WPKube.com, which stand out to you? What new trends will we see in 2014? I’m predicting more WordPress themes in 2014 will take advantage of icon fonts.

7 Comments


  1. One of my foremost thoughts is that, while yes having roughly 20% of web traffic being mobile is definitely something to take note of, that still leaves 80% of the traffic being non-mobile. With this in mind, while I do see the benefits for “mobile first” designs, they must be made with care. In the end, desktop users are still the vast majority of visitors, so if a mobile first design impacts their experience then it’s hardly a viable model.

    Also, while I’m also not a huge fan of one-page sites, I think that there’s a lot of utility in incorporating the long-form elements into multi-page sites – especially the homepage. While still having the full-content inner pages available, a long-form homepage gives some often crucial control over the order and flow of the content that the user sees when first visiting the site.

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    1. I think this was true maybe a year ago but now mobile is more than something to take note of. The stats that *blew* my mind came from this post:
      http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1837

      People are buying stuff, using ecommerce stores on their mobiles (it blows my mind people actually do this without a keyboard and mouse). I used to think most people would prefer to use their desktop for that. For last Thanksgiving mobile traffic made up 53% on Walmart. That’s insane. Compared to 2012, mobile traffic has almost doubled.

      Imagine what it will be a year from now. There are over 1 billion mobile devices running android or ios out there and many people use their mobile devices as their primary access to internet. Bottom line is this: sites must work well on mobile. It just makes sense to orient a (re)design to mobile audiences now.

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      1. Agree 100%.

        I was more making the point that, in designing for mobile audiences, one should not neglect the desktop audience which is still by and large the majority of visitors. Mobile first or desktop first should be a matter of workflow preference, since the end result should be both an optimal mobile experience and an optimal desktop experience. This is something that I think the “mobile first” mantra doesn’t address by itself.

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      2. I agree the methodology isn’t that important as long as users get a good experience no matter what device is on. Last year I still was kind of the mind that obsessing over mobile site design wasn’t that important for most sites, since most traffic would be desktop, especially for sales traffic. Since it costs a lot of time and effort to do that well, I think it was easy to justify a primary focus on desktop usage.

        But now I’ve seen the stats and where they are heading it was a wake up call to me. I mean, some sites might soon see more traffic from mobile than desktop. I love my desktop experience, but mobile deserves at least as much attention. In fact really what it is, you have to think about the full range of devices (tv display, ereader etc).

        Trends wise it is kind of interesting. I love hover effects but they are useless on touch devices. Scroll effects are very popular too but they also can lead to insufferably bad user experiences. Full screen images? It’s no fun to download huge assets on a slow connection. I think some sites will kill these darlings and go simpler still. Already seeing it with some of the news outlets.

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  2. Hi Jeff
    “One Page Websites” – you seen the Divi theme by Elegant Themes?

    I’m just putting a homepage together using Divi and I’m thinking that it may well end up as a one page website.

    http://ow.ly/i/4tijM/original

    I’ll probably add a blog eventually but at the moment it’s looking good as a one pager.

    And there I was thinking that I was getting all “cutting edge”.

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  3. Pardon my french but these are all trends from at least two years ago. The ‘newest’ one is either flat design or Pinterest-style layouts, both of which have been around for quite a while.

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  4. Very well written, responsive is not a trend now but an expectation and more is a necessity of time.
    It seems mobile traffic is going to have a big share in coming years.

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