Web designers pride themselves on keeping up with industry trends, and there is always something new to check out.
That being said, design trends will continue to evolve as techniques change, tools become irrelevant, and styles fall by the wayside.
This is an exciting time for technology, and that means we will see some exciting things in 2016 when it comes to the world of web design.
Here are some things that I will be looking for in the coming year
The user experience is evolving and so is the way that web designers are telling the story of a company or product. In 2016, I believe web designers will continue the trend of utilizing interactive visual storytelling. One website that does a great job of storytelling is Bellroy.com, which shows interactive wallets to prove that a slimmer design will be more comfortable in your pocket.
Flat or Material design is a minimalistic design technique that was primarily created by Google to improve usability across their apps and websites. Material design is a developing trend that allows for designers to draw user attention to different objects on the page by stacking elements in layers. One example where this is commonly used is in buttons; where by using a simple shadow, and stacking the button on top of the content on the page, the button is given more emphasis in order to draw attention to it and drive user interaction.
There are valid arguments to using stock icons and illustrations, chiefly the preservation of precious resources – time and money. Even so, I believe that differentiation is going to be the name of the game for SME brands this year, and custom icons and illustrations are one way to make this happen. I believe that it’s worthwhile to budget for this additional expense to create a brand that really stands out form the crowd.
Creative Grid Use
An important consideration in the development of a website is layout, as this is how the user will experience the content and how the product or service will be displayed. Some traditionalists will argue that grid design should appeal to the orderly proportions that occur in nature, which humans are used to seeing and are comfortable with. However, web designers who want to stand out are going to think outside the box and attempt to draw the eye to more creative grid designs that are both aesthetically please and easy to interact with.
Cinemagraphs are pretty hot right now, and will continue to be in the New Year. Though it isn’t new technology, it continues to be an effective way to get information across. A cinemagraph is simply a .gif file that shows movement in specific areas of the picture to create dramatic effect. More effective and eye catching than a simple still, and utilizing less bandwidth than a traditional video, cinemagraphs are aesthetically pleasing and draw the eye in.
Use of Parallax Effect
Parallax, uses images and textures to create a visually appealing scrolling effect, almost mimicking 3D effects to create depth in a website. This is going to be a continuing trend in 2016. Originally used in video game development, this is a visually stimulating tool that has its place in many different arenas. This effect will keep users on the website longer as it allows for interaction between the site and user instead of a simple information dump. It’s a technique that’s been around for a number of years and I believe that this will continue in 2016.
I expect to see more use of lazy loading in the next year, especially as websites become more content heavy and utilize more sophisticated tools to enhance the user experience. This technique helps to cue up important user content quickly while other content loads at a more leisurely pace in the background. Sites like Facebook and Instagram already use this technique, which aids in loading content one area at a time. The designer can place priority on specific content and help improve both performance and experience.
Centered & Split Content
Centered content simply means that the most important information on the site is positioned right in the middle of the screen, with supporting content surrounding and adding to the importance of the content. This is done for dramatic effect – to draw the eye to the main event from the start of the experience.
These are my thoughts on what we can expect to see on websites in 2016. What kind of trends do you see happening in the near future?