2016 is started and we are already looking toward the future of web design. What new trends will dominate the industry? Which ones will finally be laid to rest?
Web design is a quickly moving and changing industry where trends come and go with the passing of time. Some of the trends in design for the web are as a result of improvements for performance and speed, and perfecting the user experience.
Let’s look through some of the trends we can expect to see more of this year.
1. CSS3 Animations
Browser support for CSS3 has been growing over the past couple of years, and we’re finally reaching a stage where some of the fancy new CSS3 layout modules can be safely used on our websites.
Animated user interface elements are a fun way to help engage users, give them something while they wait for content to load and provide an element of surprise. Moving elements are everywhere. And they will continue to grow in popularity within the coming year.
2. Long Scrolling and Vertical Patterns
As the mobile web continues to grow and web design continues to skew in the direction of a more effective and enjoyable mobile experience, scrolling will continue to dominate clicking.
With smaller screens and supernatural touch scrolling movement, people prefer to scroll around instead of clicking on the links and waiting for the content to appear.
A bigger leaning toward mobile – with some thinking mobile traffic could equal desktop traffic this year – means more sites are being designed with vertical user flows.
3. Material Design: A Richer Alternative to Flat Design
Google Material Design well represents the metaphor of the material world with the clever play of shadows, light and movement, gives users visual clues of their interaction with a website.
There has been a bit of a revolution over last year in the form of the adoption of Google’s Material design as a basis for UI presentation and development. This trend reflects the move toward smartphones as the principle and the first device used to access the web, over and above the desktop or laptop computer.
The popularity of Google Material Design philosophy is being embraced by many designers and developers that lead to cleaner and more organized digital products. Research conducted by Usabilla shows that web designers are in favor of the flat design movement.
Material Design has boomed in 2015 and will continue to go strong in 2016. It’s the perfect style for Responsive Web Design.
4. Card Style Interfaces
We see “Card” design in everywhere from apps to websites to printed pieces. Now it has proven to be a great tool for designers working on responsive websites. Since they act as “content containers”, their rectangular shape makes it easier to re-arrange for different device breakpoints.
In short, cards are clean and simple with a lot of versatility. Exactly what the web needs. So expect to see more of it in the remainder of 2015 and throughout 2016.
5. Responsive Design
Responsive web design has become incredibly popular in recent years. The responsive or mobile-friendly version of your website can easily double your traffic as people will be empowered to access your website any time anywhere.
Performance is important not only to UX, but also to Google in the wake of the Mobile-Friendly update which released in April 2015. Responsive design has solidified itself as the new standard for web design in general and WordPress themes in particular.
It’s safe to say responsive design isn’t going anywhere soon, as it represents a relatively simple and cheap way for businesses to build a fully-functional mobile-friendly site.
6. Full-Screen Videos
Websites generally are storytelling tools and storytelling can be more effective when visuals and motion are involved so the ideas and emotions can be transferred to the visitor easier. We’ve seen businesses implementing video on their websites.
In 2016, this trend will grow even more with the endless possibilities of 3D graphics and HD quality videos to build that impression of real-life experience.
7. Illustrations and Sketches
Since vision is the strongest human sense, Illustrations and Sketches are the fastest ways to grab a user’s attention. The illustration style has also started to grow in popularity when it comes to some of the smaller pieces of website design as well, such as icons and other user interface elements.
What’s nice about this trend is that illustrations make a site feel a little more personal. Because an illustration or sketch style icon appears to be hand-drawn, it looks and feels personal for users. That can go a long way into creating a connection with them.
We’re expecting this to be in the form of illustration over photography, because with illustration it’s often easier to place yourself.
8. Focus on Interactions
Interactions create links between users and devices. It also increases user engagement with content. Good interactions are often small – even micro in nature – and provide value and new experiences to the user.
So we think this trend will grow even more in this year.
9. Even More Beautiful Typography
The past couple of years has seen a total transformation in the typographical landscape online as web fonts have become accessible to all, and as a result, we’ve already seen a dramatic shift in the way type is rendered online.
Big, bold typefaces will continue to rule because they work well with other trendy elements. This simple concept of lettering gives more room to other elements, while communicating the message with a highly readable display. The must-try trick is a simple pairing of a readable typeface and fun novelty option.
10. Bolder, Brighter Color
Big, bright color really started to emerge with the flat design trend and has continued to gain momentum. Google’s Material Design documentation furthers that conversation. And just take a look around Dribbble, where color is everywhere. These are key indicators that color will stay big in the coming year.
11. Websites with Slides
First, there were sliders. So, that websites could move images within a frame to showcase content. The next part of that evolution includes full-screen slides. Each slide refreshes the entire screen with new content; it can work with a click, scroll or timed effect. Users can navigate forward and backward for an experience that is almost physical. Expect to see plenty – and we mean a lot – of sites using this concept in the coming years.
Trends represent popular techniques for good reason, but make sure it’s best for your users.Trends are nothing more than additional tools in your designer toolbox. Always pick the right ones for the job.
If you’ve been following the web design scene for some time you may have felt what is coming next.There are no significant changes in 2016 but some trends that started getting traction in 2015 will continue growing and affecting more people while others will slowly fade away.
However, web design is evolving very quickly and, most importantly, it adapts to people’s behavior and technology advancements.
What trends are you most excited about in 2016? Are there any we missed on this list? Join the conversation in the comments below.