Most Important Web Design Trends for 2016
I often come by websites that I instantly know that are 5, 6, 7 years old, or even older, solely by looking at their design. That is certainly too long of a period, because websites should be redesigned every 2 to 3 years. Yes, you read that correctly – every 2 to 3 years. Why? Because design trends keep changing, technology and devices keep changing, and so do users and marketing tools, especially those in digital marketing. How then, could websites that were made 5 or more years ago be any good?
I believe that responsive web design is no longer a trend, but a standard. In case you still do not have a website that is adjusted for mobile device screens, I implore you to make one as soon as possible. The whole idea regarding responsive web design started around 2013, and if you ask me, it shouldn’t even be mentioned as an additional value in web design. Simply put, your website has to be mobile-friendly.
When it comes to responsive websites, the situation has been drastically improved over the last two years. In April 2014, only 35% of Avalon’s users had websites adjusted for mobile use, while a year and a half later, in October 2015, 66% of them claimed to have mobile-friendly websites.
Remember – the first impression your websites leaves on its visitors is also the most important, as it stays in their memories. Creating a positive experience for your users is essential, and you only have around 7 seconds to do so. Therefore, proper design is paramount!
Interactivity and storytelling
A website has to convey a story – a story about the company, its products or services, about you. It has to be interesting, pleasant and user-friendly. This year, interaction will surely be implemented more frequently, not only in the form of images, but other web elements as well. An example of such interaction would be a simple greeting such as “Hey there” which shows up when you fill in your name.
Flat and card design
Flat design is certainly going to remain in the focus, among material design, which Google presented in June 2014 and which is a frequently mentioned topic to this day as well. That’s why it should be considered! Even Google itself changed its logo following the guidelines of flat design.
Besides that, it is expected for web content to be centralized and presented in the form of card design. By using this type of design, the content becomes highly modular and easy to rearrange across the screen. That design is clean and simple.
When it comes to the overall layout, we will notice a resurgence of a design we might have been accustomed to in the 80s, and by that I refer to the audacity to use stronger colors and retro-looking images.
Data entry forms will appear larger, sometimes even occupying the whole screen with large fonts, in order to make it easier for users to input the required data.
It may sometimes be good to implement a split-screen design, where you simply provide the users with 2 options from which they can choose, in the form of two large cards for instance.
As Call-To-Action buttons might even be the most important aspects of a website, they should therefore always be visible. Besides the importance of color psychology, my advice would be to place them in the header of the description field for your products or services in the desktop version, and to use Sticky CTA on mobile devices (always keeping the CTA present in the footer of the website). Basically, stronger, more apparent CTA buttons will be in use.
The so-called “hamburger menu” is often talked about, but I personally do not prefer its use in desktop versions. It makes sense on mobile devices and users have become accustomed to it, while the desktop version only makes you click once more. Make up your mind on whether to use it or not.
Actually, it does make sense to use it when you want to hide some less important links and prioritize the main ones instead (prioritized navigation).
Scrolling menus are also trending, which utilize a menu that is always present on the screen. It can remain in the header, or show up on the left side after scrolling down. This type of navigation is most often used for sharing content on social networks.
Colors and fonts
This year, expect websites with vivid, accentuated colors. Combining neutral palettes with brighter pastel colors and stronger, more audacious colors will emphasize their use in web design throughout this year.
Both colors and fonts will be stronger. Bold, larger fonts which are easier to read and which create a more user-friendly experience will come into use.
Images and video
Animated GIF appeared in 1987 and bloomed in the second half of the 90s, when it was used as an element with which interactivity and animation could be achieved. Afterwards, it was forgotten for some 15 years, only to become a hit nowadays. Facebook itself supported this format in May 2015, and since then, its use has has been consistently growing.
Among the more prominent web design trends would certainly be cinemagraphs – images with repeated movement, most frequently in the form of an animated GIF. They give the user an impression that they are actually watching a video. An entire set of images such as those can be found on www.cinemagraphs.com.
Both high-quality photographs and images will be in use. Images possibly less, but under a greater spotlight, there will be illustrations and creative icons, and most certainly animation.
Images and videos built into websites will occupy a larger portion of the screen, sometimes even the entire screen. Most frequently, those are images and sometimes even videos that are used as website backgrounds (background image/video).
Top 10 web design trends for 2016
I tried to make a cross section of all trends and elements that are currently being mentioned and which are predicted to be the web design trends of 2016. In my opinion, those are:
- Flat and card design
- Strong CTA
- Hamburger menu
- Stronger colors
- Large bold fonts
- High-resolution and high-quality images
- Background video
It is of utmost importance to consider the cost of making your website (be it making a new one or redesigning an existing one) as an investment in the central spot of your digital marketing – Your Website! A website is definitely the most important element of digital branding – let us know if we can help!