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Web Design Trends for 2015 & 2016

As a brand, you need to be relevant. If you haven’t updated the look of your website for five years or so, now is a good time to do it. Otherwise, you risk falling behind competitors who also have websites, and are more in tune with the needs of today’s customers.The new year will come with plenty of new techniques and trends, but the dominant theme is likely to be a continuation of things we have started to see at the end of 2015. More video, vertical patterns, Material Design-inspired interfaces and slide-style sites will grow in popularity.

And it’s not hard for you to make the most of these concepts. Here, we are listing web design trends (with great examples) that designers will be seeing a lot of in 2016 and you can adopt as your own.

2016 Web Design Trends

Vertical Patterns and Long Scroll

Placing all your important elements above the fold is now a well-known myth. Furthermore, almost everyone is accustomed to long scrolls thanks to mobile devices. The technique works especially well for sites that want to lure users through storytelling, and you can still mimic a multi-page site by breaking the scroll into clear sections.

long scrolling

Hero images

Since vision is the strongest human sense, HD hero images are one of the fastest ways to grab a user’s attention. Thanks to advances in bandwidth and data compression, users won’t suffer from slow load times either. One common layout you’ll find is a hero image above the scroll, followed by either zig-zagging sections or a cards-based arrangement.

hero image

Rich Animations

Animations are being used more and more to enhance a site’s storytelling, making the experience more interactive and entertaining.

However, you can’t just stick animation in anywhere. Consider carefully whether it adds to your site’s story elements and personality. Animations can be thought of in terms of two groups:

  • Large scale animations. These are used as a primary interaction tool have more impact on users and include effects like parallax scrolling and pop-up notifications.
  • Small scale animations. These include spinners, hover tools and loading bars, and don’t require any user input.

The most popular animation techniques Are:

  • Loading animations
  • Navigation and menus (nonscrolling)
  • Hover animations
  • Motion animation
  • Scrolling
  • Background animations/ videos

The most important factor when it comes to animation is to make sure it serves a purpose: Why are you creating the effect and what exactly is it supposed to do?

animation

Slideshows and Galleries  

Galleries and slideshows are an effective way to showcase multiple images without overburdening the users. These are great for photography sites, product showcases, and portfolios.

slide show

The hamburger menu

While some criticize this pattern’s use, there’s no doubt that it’s widespread use makes the function easily recognizable for users.

hamburger menu

Material Design: A Richer Alternative to Flat Design

Last year, Google launched its new style language, Material Design. It uses shadow effects and the concepts of movement and depth in order to create designs that appear more realistic to the user.

material design

With its minimalistic look, Material Design has a lot in common with another growing trend — flat design. Before the almost-flat or semi-flat web design, there was the flat design. The idea behind the latter was a look stripped of all fluff and frills – using bold colors, simple shapes and simple typography. The most well-known example is the Windows 8 interface.

flat design

Before now, we’ve seen the majority of Material Design projects limited to app design. Google however announced Material Design Lite in July, which is more suited to websites. Nevertheless, Material Design was intended to provide great UI and UX across devices. Lite uses vanilla CSS, HTML and JavaScript and is intended to make it simple to add the look and feel of Material Design to websites.

Material Design Lite doesn’t rely on any particular framework, so designers can use a wide variety of front-end tools to create their sites. It’s also lightweight when it comes to the code.

Responsive Design

Responsive web design has become incredibly popular in recent years thanks to the rise of mobile internet usage.

responsive design

Performance is important not only to UX, but also to Google in the wake of the Mobile Friendly update which released in April 2015. Responsive web design is also highly compatible with minimalism, thanks to the necessity to keep page weight down.

Responsive web design is becoming less of a trend and more of a best practice. And designers have come up with clever ways to get around any speed issues.

There’s no doubt that responsive design is highly useful and versatile, but it also should be lightning fast in order to deliver a great UX.

Card-Style Interfaces

One of the biggest elements to spring from Material Design has been the emergence of card-style interfaces. They are in everything from apps to websites to printed pieces. Cards are fun to create, keep information organized in a user-friendly container and are engaging for users.

card

It’s also great to work with cards and responsive design as they can easily restructure in order to fit any breakpoint or screen size (like rearranging rectangular containers of content).

In 2016 we’ll see more utilization of card design, in an expanding mixed bag of spots. Whether its a straightforward web portfolio, Mailchimp’s Social Cards highlight or Google’s new visual Promotions tab which uses cards to immeasurably enhance promoting email.

Microinteractions

Microinteractions happen all around us, from turning off the alarm on your mobile phone to liking that cat picture on Facebook.

Each one done without a second thought. It’s likely that you started your day with a micro-interaction. By turning off the alarm on your mobile phone, you engaged with a user interface in a single moment. And more and more of these are baked into the apps and devices we use.

micro

Micro-interactions tend to do, or help you do, several different things:

  1. Communicate a status or bit of feedback
  2. See the result of an action
  3. Help the user manipulate something

Micro-interactions are a vital part of any app.

As recommended in Web Design Trends 2015 and 2016, you’ll want to ensure that these interactions happen almost invisibly. Don’t go overboard and keep it simple. Consider each detail with care, and make each interaction feel human. That is make text conversational and not robotic.

Micro-interactions are an important part of almost every digital design project. You’ll be hard-pressed to design a website or mobile app that does not include some element, or moment, that a user needs to interact with.

Each of these interaction types lead users to a path of more human-centered design. This concept of making devices more human-like in their moments is a key to adoption and usability.

Conclusion

These are the design trends that have taken the web world by storm. However, with designers spearheading with the elements, definitely, there will be many layout front-runners ready to join the league. Till then, let these trends do the trick!

 

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