Web design is a constantly evolving animal, and it should remain so. But every now and then we sit back and take notice of design techniques that show up more and more often in that evolution, and learn from their strengths and weaknesses. And trends are just that movements in web design that for one reason or another begin to pick up speed. Those who spend their lives on the web (like me) start seeing certain elements of these trends repeated over and over again, and sometimes we see those trends lose steam and bottom out. In any discussion of design trends, you’re bound to get a bit of backlash from web professionals who prefer either to push the envelope outside current trends or to lean on stripped-down techniques and a simple approach. Either way, here are the top five trends I’ve noticed as a casual web observer.