Websites and the way users have viewed them has changed significantly since the birth of the internet. Actually, even in the last 2 years, we’ve become increasingly hungry for more and more content. This increased demand, coupled with user’s short attention spans has forced web designers to try new things.
For 2016, many of the current design trends will become even more popular and there are also a few newbies set to change way we think of web design entirely.
Here is our list of the top trends and predictions for 2016 and beyond:
Graphic Text – better access to great typefaces
With Google Fonts, choosing web optimised fonts has never been easier for designers. The hundreds of fonts are all open-source and free to download. Gone are the Comic Sans and Arial days, but beware some browsers still render fonts slightly differently, meaning your website will never look exactly the same on all browsers. Overall, the options now are almost endless, so there really is no excuse to stick to Times New Roman. As well as Google Fonts and other paid options like Webtype and Typekit, designers are incorporating more and more hand drawn text into sites, adding a whole other dimension to user experience.
This is something that you’ll be seeing more on websites this year. Headings, content and images centered right there on the home page. This puts the main message or the company brand front and centre and can look very visually appealing when done right.
Even though centering information will be trending, so will splitting content. By splitting content and images up into chunks it becomes more readable for users and can take them on a pre-planned journey.
Storytelling and interaction/animation
This brings us to storytelling, it’s always been something that web designers try to get right in their quest for great UX. With the popularity growing in animation (gifs, cinemagraphs, parallax and more) designers can further improve their storytelling as they lead users through a website. While animation can improve a user’s experience on a website, it must also be used carefully. Everyone will remember how annoying those floating banners, flash animations and impossible to close pop ups were.
As users become more savvy and time-poor, it has become even more important for businesses to get their message across quickly and effectively. This is why we’ve seen an increase in minimalistic sites, with all the non-essential design elements removed.
Flat design, while still popular has slowly morphed into something called semi-flat design. Through the use of subtle shadows, card/tile concepts and well thought out transitions, designers can add a bit of depth and dimension into a site, which was lacking with Flat design.
Responsive web design is no longer an option when you decide to build a website, but a necessity. With over 50% of internet usage occurring on a tablet or smartphone, businesses have had to upgrade or risk falling behind their competition. So in 2016 we’ll see an increase in the trend of upgrading or building completely mobile responsive websites. Bear in mind though, that responsive sites don’t work for all websites. E.g News websites are very content heavy, so they often have a separate mobile site or app.
The not so good trends
You’ll have definitely noticed the influx of one-page websites, where you just have to scroll and scroll to find all the information you need, based on the idea behind the Facebook news-feed and Instagram. People have become used to swiping with their thumb to scroll and web designers have made the most of this. However, one page sites also have many downfalls: They’re not great for blog centered sites, require a lot of scrolling, can take longer to load, it’s harder to track and understand engagement points and not great for SEO.
With the success of mobile website design came hidden navigation (known as the Hamburger menu). While they make perfect sense on a mobile device, where space is of the essence, designers have started using them on full screen devices too. In a bid to simplify the site, they’ve actually added another step (click) in the user finding what they need.
Website intro page
A lot of sites are now utilising the intro page, in a bid to make their site look grander or simpler. In reality, they’re actually frustrating users with another click and usually extra wait time while their huge website loads.
For 2016, with all these new features, techniques and styles becoming trendy, just be careful when choosing what to implement on your business website. It’s very easy to get carried away and end up with a hot mess.
As Coco Chanel so simply put it, ‘Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.’