15 Top Web Design Trends for 2016

With companies starting to view websites as a tool to create a relationship with their customers, websites are focusing on more human-centered design. This increases adoption and usability, with the design becoming about the user’s overall experience. Here is a list of the best upcoming web design trends for 2016:

1. Large background pictures

As a trend continuing from 2015, larger images will be used. These have often come in the form of large background pictures, but images in general will continue to be large.

2. Fixed desktop and mobile menus

Another trend continuing from 2015 will be fixed desktop and mobile navigation menus. These menus will stick to the top of the screen as you scroll down, providing a faster and easier way to access links to other pages. It is also a feature that often looks elegant.

3. Clear and concise text and content-centered designs

Content-centered design will become more prevalent, based on the amount of research and effectiveness this approach is shown to have. Design that is content-centered will be based on industry, user, and business research. It will focus on text being clear and concise site-wide. The old adage of “take your content, remove half, and remove half again” will be put into use. Written content that does appear on the site will take into consideration the company’s personality and will focus on creating a relationship with the customer.

4. A lot of scrolling vs minimal scrolling

In 2015 there was a major trend of websites with very long scrolling. In 2016, we will expect to see a lot of websites using very minimal scrolling, with hardly any content below the fold. There will still be a large amount of websites using a lot of scrolling, but this will be more frequently balanced by well thought-out shorter websites.

5. Flat design

Flat design will remain prevalent in 2015, continuing to evolve it’s subtle styles. For instance, Google’s new logo uses flat design, consisting of solid colors with no shadows, simple lines, and minimalistic but eye-catching proportions. Flat design will likely be combined with or used alternatively to Google’s new concept of Material Design.

6. Material Design

In 2015 Google developed Material Design based on the aesthetics of flat design with an emphasis on user actions, such as swiping and tapping on mobile devices, and keyboard and mouse actions on desktops. It focuses on typography, space, color, grids, scale, and imagery to create modern and pleasing designs, while giving the user feedback in forms of subtle responses to clicks and swipes.

7. Less stock photography and more custom photos

Stock photography is becoming easy to spot on the web, and companies are more often opting to use custom or real life photos that are still high quality, but show their company, products, or services in action. Photos will still often depict scenes of people solving a problem or a nature-based scene, but will have more of a realistic feel to them that shows the personality of the company.

8. Wider forms and inputs and buttons

Web forms and their submit buttons will continue the trend of becoming wider and spanning the entire width of a particular area. Making use of the available space like this encourages visitors to notice and fill out the forms.

9. Content-centered design and layout

Web design and website layouts will continue toward the emerging trend of content-centered design. Sites will focus more on the written content than design elements such as shadows, colors, boxes, and other flashy items. Content will be focused on the purpose for which it was written, and take into account the visitors’ needs and business research.

10. User experience becomes more important

In addition to content-centered design, the user experience will become more important. The entire website experience will be based on guiding the customer down the sales funnel and trying to improve their experience the whole time. This includes written content, design, and the flow of user tasks.

11. Bolder use of colors

Colors will become more rich and bold, but still shying away from intense primary colors. We can see this, for instance, in Medium’s use of bright green in their logo.

12. Responsive design for all screen sizes

As more and more people are accessing the web strictly from their mobile phones, more websites will be optimized for smaller screen sizes. Responsive design uses the same website and calculates element dimensions based on a percentage of the screen size, and not a definite pixel width. Many websites will design for the look and functionality of their mobile view over their desktop.

13. Natural photos and custom illustrations

When stock photos are used, they’ll be higher quality and more natural. Many times actual photos of customers or businesses using the products or services will replace stock photos. Custom illustrations will sometimes replace stock photography, especially as the main focus of the site.

14. Static content and simplification

As the trend moves towards simplicity, non-essential design elements will be removed. Image sliders and the focus on other moving parts will fade away, and the focus will be on the visitor being able to complete actions easily. Transparency in this area is gaining traction as a subtle element that can be added to a design and can be found in buttons, gradient elements, image overlays, and more. Transparent overlays can appear on hover actions, such as when hovering over an image with text appearing underneath.

15. Artificial intelligent design

Some websites will automatically adjust depending on each viewer. This can be done with software programs such as Kissmetrics or Hubspot. This ability to customize the site based on user needs can lead customers down the sales funnel more effectively by responding to their particular wants.

Each of these design and interaction styles is trending towards more human-centered design. With the ability to get more done easily and without frustration, websites that focus on these concepts will become more usable. Design focused on the overall user experience will lead more customers down the sales funnel and increase conversions with a focus on industry standards and user research.

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