Not a day goes by without a new minor design breakthrough or another unique and more creative way to use web design codes. The body of the web design is sleek and transformative, shedding translucent layer after layer as you mix and match perpetually new clothing.
However, some of the patterns have emerged to become the most familiar web design trends of 2015, some of them short-lived, but others quickly becoming an integral part of their foundation, paving the way for the next big thing. .
What design elements are currently trending and what does it portend for the future?
Web design trends in 2016
Increasingly, designers and programmers recognize the need for consistency across platforms. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is used to be responsive and adapt to a variety of screen sizes. A website that has a fluid, unified design that changes depending on the platform is much more interactive than a small screen with a full layout designed for a desktop computer. Similarly, SVG or Scalable Vector Graphics are becoming more popular on the web this year as a way to effortlessly scale images, improving design control and providing higher quality for retina displays.
The flat-style mobile user interface (UI) has also risen sharply in popularity in recent years, pointing to a lack of gradients, color blocking, and a clear design. First popularized in mainstream media by Microsoft’s Metro design, which aimed to focus more on content and less on graphics, it has since been adopted by Windows 8 and the Xbox 360 dashboard.
Later this year, Apple’s new iOS7 iPhone will hit the market with a sleek new design that also features a largely flat-style interface. Along with this is the increasing use of bold colors and unified yet eye-catching typography, and all of these elements are embraced in web designs as a way to further optimize the user experience.
The minimalist trend is also highlighted by design elements such as the one-page layout. Websites with less content, such as designer portfolios, increasingly favor an incredibly minimalist design with bold, contrasting colors that act as flat dividers for different sections of content. The widely used intro box ditches the tired About Me page by condensing the author’s intro into a small area. A large footer with links and information usually completes this business card-like layout.
Similarly, companies are using simplistic pictorial landing pages to present products and services to potential customers – a beautifully presented minimalist approach designed to highlight content that allows the consumer to find information as easily and quickly as possible.
As browser support for CSS3 features grows, so do the interactive capabilities of its dynamic effects: CSS transparency, for example, offers opacity editing on any web page element. Interesting hover effects also allow for innovative use of images and typography, with the ability to program the transition to your exact requirements.
Website designs are evolving to become more and more interactive and provide the best user experience. It’s no surprise, then, that image-sharing website Pinterest has popularized the use of infinite scrolling, an incredibly addictive experience that forces the user to keep scrolling…keep scrolling…and just keep scrolling.
Other trending trends include parallax scrolling, an effect that allows the image to move at a slower rate than the overlay text, creating a sense of 3D depth and providing attractive dividers for textual content. Companies are also increasingly employing embedded QR codes online, encouraging viewers to interact across platforms for a full user experience, and the application of social media badges to sites and articles. These allow the viewer to share content ubiquitously across social media websites.
As the use of infographics increases, so does the use of programming toolkits like D3.js, which create interactive data visualizations that are actually crawlable: meaning search engines like Google can use their bots to track the information to boost the SEO of the site. ranking as well as the ability to automatically update and improve statistics.
Designers are using minimalist layouts and a Metro-style user interface as a way to emphasize a recent focus on Content First: creating interactive, efficient, searchable websites that maximize user experience and ultimately create a design that enhances the content, without distracting or overshadowing it.
Some of the trends listed above are probably just that – trends that will fall out of favor in the coming years. Others, such as Content First, Infinite Scroll, Flat Style UI, and RWD are important building blocks of an evolving web design philosophy that aims to unify platforms and create a streamlined web of interactivity and UI. Design is getting simpler, so content can become a priority. By ditching the excess, designers seem to be ushering in a new era of design that brings you ever faster, more efficient, and more satisfying services.