We have come a long way from the infant days of the internet when under construction gifs were considered an acceptable component of web design. Now, we have had the time to cycle through several generations of best practices, each one learning huge volumes from the last.
While focusing on the present makes it impossible to tell, we just might be in the midst of another major shift that began in 2013 with the advent of flat design. The impact of mobile and an emphasis on minimalism has no doubt changed the way we designers approach the web. Here are some examples of how these shifts will manifest themselves in web design trends of 2016:
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Responsive Design Taking Over
With Google’s mobilegeddon update in full effect, what few sites that did not
have mobile-friendly parameters on their mind are scrambling to catch up. The result? A bunch of web pages that make your desktop display feel like an oversized iPhone.
Many professional design sites have noticed this patterned UI, complete with long scrolls, visually engaging “hero” headers and a module or grid-focused layout.
As more professional sites get on board, expect the popularity of ready-made templates to lead to more ubiquity — and consistent quality — online.
Material Design Evolve
Apple pushed designers over the brink when they adopted flat design in their 2013 iOS7 update. Since then, the concept of vivid color schemes, simplistic designs and an emphasis on shapes has taken over, albeit with some modification.
Google and Microsoft bent the rules with “Material Design,” an approach that lends some needed texture and depth to give visitors the subtle navigation cues they need. Repeated elements, like “ghost buttons” that only reveal themselves on hover, indicate the evolving direction where the line between static and interactive elements is permanently blurred.
Vamping off the point above, web designers are finding creative, unique ways to inject animations throughout their sites. From clever branded loading animations to seamless scrolling fades to futuristic soft hover glows, visitors become both more impressed and engaged with sites as they navigate and discover “Easter egg” features all around them.
Cards allow for customizable breakpoints that permit better device optimization as well as flexibility when personalizing landing page content. This style is both practical and visually interesting while keeping pace with the material design movement.
Move Towards Minimalism, Iconography
The combined impact of mobile and material design has meant that sites are not just becoming patterned in their layout, but also in their UI practices. Case in point: the hamburger menu has jumped ship from a one-time desperate space saving device for mobile-specific sites to something seen in most professional sites these days. Elements like these are subtle yet recognizable, pushing the boundaries of UI design to become more intuitive and clean.
Get More Web Design Trends
This is sure to be an exciting year with many surprises beyond the trends listed here. You can keep tabs on web design trends like these by reading our blog, or you could get the benefit of the latest web design best practices by using our services