There are a countless number of websites online, but not all of them are fulfilling their purpose. While quite a few are highly successful, many others are sitting dormant, bringing in no traffic and serving no purpose other than taking up space on a web server. Sadly, those poorly performing sites are doing much more than wasting space, they are also costing their owners money, time and opportunities.

The web has changed dramatically and its evolution goes beyond the change from static to dynamic content. Today’s websites provide an easy way to share material through the social web and offer a plethora of other features visitors can use to interact with content. Internet users are demanding more, and since they essentially call the shots, the content creators must adapt as those demands evolve.

When it comes to the evolution of website design, the why can be seen in the importance of continually catering to the needs of content consumers. The how can be seen in the web design trends of 2012.

Larger than Life Graphics

Some of the hottest website design trends in 2012 are directly inspired by social media. One might say that the trend of designing sites with larger than life graphics is inspired by the Cover Photo available for Facebook’s recently launched timeline format. More and more site owners are using oversized images and other graphics to greet visitors as soon as they make an entrance. Whether it is a huge header or company logo, size is starting to matter much more from a graphical standpoint.

Less Flashy

At one point in time, Flash was the technology to incorporate for the site owner who wanted to wow his or her visitors with a visual, interactive spectacle. Over the years, however, it has lost a lot of its appeal. Much of this has to do with the fact that it does not perform well on mobile devices. Look for more web designers to ditch Flash for the newly introduced CSS3 and the highly anticipated HTML5. Together, these two web design technologies can ensure faster load times and better compatibility, all while retaining the interactivity and engagement qualities Flash was initially so beloved for.

Mobile-Friendly Navigation

According to designers from Pixetic, One of the biggest factors driving change in web design practices is the growing popularity of mobile devices. From the iPhone to all the gadgets running Google’s Android OS, these devices are increasingly being used to browse content on the web. According to an article published by Search Engine Land, more than 1 in 5 searches will be performed on a mobile device in 2012. The proof is already in the pudding, so this is much more than a blind prediction. Expect some publishers to create separate mobile sites, and others to optimize their existing sites to accommodate smartphone users.

Wide QR Code Implementation

In 2011, many of us were introduced to QR codes for the first time and got an understanding of what they are all bout. This year, we will likely see more brands putting these codes to use. And while conventional wisdom tells us that QR codes are best when printed out and slapped on flat surfaces, don’t be surprised if we see more of them implemented on websites in 2012. When incorporated on a web page, the possibilities they create for mobile engagement are endless.