We have seen many interesting changes to the way blogs and websites were designed over the past few years. With better visual elements, improved web development tools and new technologies being introduced faster than ever, web design trends are quickly shifting from year to year.
Design principles are timeless, but the past few years show the most promise for great design. More organisations are beginning to value design as a competitive advantage. A cohesive design strategy moves beyond just the web and print, as it expands to mobile and other platforms. The best design trends will continue, but we will also start to see more innovative new ideas appear. Let’s recap and see what surfaced in 2015 before moving on to the predictions.
Flat design has been with us for a few years now, but it is continuously evolving towards its ideal form. Flat design is a style of interface design without any stylistic elements that give the impression of three dimensions (such as excessive use of drop shadows, gradients or textures). The continued expansion of devices and screen sizes means that the principle of flat design is not going away anytime soon. It may look a bit different every year, but the core reason of its existence will persist.
The perfect background video automatically elevates the perceived quality of a website. As internet speeds increase across the world and designers learn how to best use video to support and not distract from the content, we can expect to see video continue to play an important role in designs. For example, Facebook now allows you to have a profile video.
The life of a designer becomes more complicated as users move increasingly to multiple devices. Responsive design is the answer when designing for the web across all devices employed by the user. Responsive has already become the standard from 2014, but it will continue to infiltrate across the web as old websites are redesigned.
New Trend Predictions for 2016
Larger and Correct Typography
The availability of typefaces continues to expand, making choosing the right font harder for designers. As designers are improving all aspects of their designs, including typography, we’ll see adhering to sound typographical principles become even more important.
Hand in hand with responsive design and flat design is increased minimalism. As the web becomes more complicated, minimalism is much more attractive. As the influence of user experience and conversation rate experts increases as well, we’ll see more data supporting stripping back designs to essentials.
Complicated menus are no longer seen in the latest websites. Instead, web designers use slide-out menus with the classic hamburger icon, just like mobile webs. The hamburger icon is three horizontal lines stacked on top of one another, looking like an equals sign gone wrong. Tap or click on the lines, and then you realise, it’s a menu. These three lines have gained a personality, and a name – the hamburger icon, because stripped back to its constituent parts, it looks slightly like a hamburger inside two halves of a bun. This, simpler approach is no longer perceived negatively, mainly because users are now accustomed to the menu icon. You know where to find the site’s navigation instantly when you look at the hamburger icon. This particular trend also allows for a simpler, cleaner header.
Storytelling and Interactions
The inundation of content means that many web users are getting “content blindness” as they did with “ad blindness”. Only the best design and content will stand out. As old as humankind itself, engaging and emotional stories that utilise great design and content formats will stand out in 2016 and beyond.
Card-based interfaces are on the rise. When you look at any card-based design, it’s impossible not to also see a grid-based design peeking through. That’s because every edge of a card is really the edge of various grids in a bigger, well-organized system that promotes great consistency and harmony in the way the site’s presented. Pinterest and Microsoft put them on the map, but many other designers are beginning to see the appeal more and more. Cards better way to present lots of information to the user, and are a good replacement for older elements such as sliders.
As websites get simpler and more effective, the main focus shifts to performance. There are so many websites to choose from and if your website doesn’t load in a few seconds, they can easily move on to the next one to find the information they need. There is no point in having a fantastic website if nobody can see it after all.
These are merely upcoming website design trends for 2016 and predictions that we might see more and more of. Some trends have been with us for years, as you will see, and we might even be surprised with something completely new. But when in doubt or stuck, when it comes to designing a website in 2016, keep it simple. Less is more.