A few years ago, a lot of sites were using tabbed navigation. The big players, including Yahoo! and YouTube were also using tabs. But nowadays I have seen tabs being phased out and replaced with simpler navigation menus. Even Amazon.com, which was notable for using tabbed navigation, recently stopped using tabs.
Also, I have seen that back in the day, content boxes were popular. Yahoo! and MSN, and other sites basically wrap all content in the form of content boxes (which look a lot like “widgets”). Even the main article content was wrapped in a big content box. Like tabs, I also see them being phased out. Instead of content being differentiated by boxes, they were separated by dividers or even _white space_.
There is yet another trend for sites to have a background color that is white rather than grey or blue. Macy’s for example, was one of the last e-commerce sites (after Kohl’s and JCPenney) which phased out their grey background color.
I see those trends as being part of a larger, minimalist trend.
I’d agree, a couple of design magazines have pointed out the minimalistic trends in the past couple of years, *leans to the side and whispers, “plus simpler designs lend themselves to working better as responsive designs in this world of an expanding multitude of resolutions”