Web design trends tend to stick around for a few years before being replaced by bolder, broader, and better. That’s why it’s essential to keep your finger on the Web design pulse and adapt accordingly. Fortunately, the concept of perfecting design is as subjective and technical as it is aesthetic and artistic, and evolving your website to incorporate current trends can be easy.
Feel like you’re falling behind or simply want to see what’s hot this year? Here are a handful of increasingly popular Web design trends you’ll see cropping up in 2016.
1. Material Design
Just when you thought everything was being smashed as flat as possible, Google flips the switch by introducing Material Design. The design language has been around since 2014, but we’ll see it gain more traction this year as developers become more familiar. Aesthetically, Material Design presents the appearance of subtly layered elements that “synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science.”
2. Video & Animation
From background animations to informational or entertaining gifs to cinemagraphs (living images), more sites are incorporating Web design trends that utilize video and animation in some form or another. Content has become a visual buffet, and consumers are continuously drawn to entrees with moving parts and interactive elements. Concepts like 360 video are being adapted to brands and marketing campaigns, and subtle-yet-rich animations are taking the place of static logo design and load graphics.
3. Long Scroll vs. Short Scroll
More designers and content creators are debating the pros and cons of long scroll versus short scroll. It really boils down to functionality and usability. On one hand, long scroll design feels organic and engaging. It’s an exceptional way to tell a visual story without overstuffing. On the other hand, long scroll also breaks up content in a way that’s counterintuitive to today’s skim and scan audience. It’s difficult to browse content at a glance, and for this reason Web designers are opting to utilize short scroll or even static pages. In 2016, we’ll see plenty of both.
4. Responsive Design
Responsive Web design powers a website’s adaptability and user performance. Specifically, your site’s ability to recognize different devices and display properly. If your site doesn’t display on mobile, you’re falling behind (most design platforms now have plug-ins or built-in mobile options). Additionally, flexible images and media queries need to be optimized so they’re not acting up from one device to another (failing to resize or returning errors).
While many sites are focusing on the big picture with full page hero images and long-scroll storytelling, focusing on the details is just as important to good Web design. Microinteractions are the personal touches that can either accomplish a single task (password change functionality, for example) or adapt over time (loops that “interact” with users and returning customers). Enhancing the microtransactions in your design creates a much richer, more satisfying experience.
Web Design Trends Change
They say the only constant is change. As Web design trends adapt to user patterns and new media, designers will continue to try strategies that reach both broad audiences and niche markets. In 2016, keep an eye on what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to Web design, and do a little testing and design tweaking if your website isn’t up to snuff.