Web design is evolving at an unprecedented rate. 2016 promises to offer exciting, fresh, and unique developments, leading graphic designers to create websites of an entirely different (and high) caliber.
Tomorrow’s web designs will be personalized, interactive and shareable. Designers will venture away from cookie-cutter template designs, focusing on unique user experiences customized to the needs of each visitor.
Here are 5 of the hottest trends on the scene.
1: Including moving elements
Movement catches the eye and focuses your attention, sets the mood, and adds intrigue. Moving elements such as disappearing text, parallax, cinemegraphs, and full screen videos are appearing all over the web in place of the soon-to-be obsolete stock images. Best of all, these attention-grabbing visuals have little to zero effect on page load times thanks to system-light CSS scripts.
2: A focus on personalizing micro-interactions
A micro-interaction is any particular task-based engagement on a device. You use micro-interactions all day, every day, without giving them a second thought. Anytime you interact with your device or trigger a command, like by making your phone brighter, selecting a contact from your phone book, or putting an item into your shopping cart, you are engaging in a micro-interaction.
Micro-interactions guide users, deliver instant feedback based on a concrete action, and are visually pleasing – all of which enhance the user experience. The trend that is surfacing quickly within website and mobile site design, in particular, is towards more humanized micro-interactions. While everything we do on a website is technically a micro-interaction, not everything always feels personal and natural.
Web designers should keep micro-interactions smooth, intuitive and universal (like turning off your alarm clock...that never gets old!) They should also make sure micro-interactions enhance the user experience in such a way that they feel seamless, organic, and actually help improve the day-to-day life of the user. The most successful designs have micro-interactions that remove the boring interaction users have with an interface, give it personality, and make it memorable.
Facebook Messenger boasts a great example of a micro-interaction that is fun for users and adds a touch of personalized character. By giving users the ability to change the size of their Like icon, which they can do by holding the button down for longer, Facebook Messenger allows users to customize their positive social response according to their liking (pun intended!)
3: Custom-Created Illustrations that Tell a Story
Custom-created illustrations have an excellent track record when it comes to capturing users’ attention, and they’re becoming a popular trend to follow in website design. Anyone can pull a stock image from the pile, but custom illustrations are more eye-catching, more memorable, and tell your company’s story better than generic images…and everyone loves a good story! This trend is an ideal one to adopt if you want to give your brand a unique feeling that cannot be easily emulated by competitors and will help your business stand out from the rest.
Custom-created illustrations can have moving elements incorporated in them, like they do on the 2015 DConstruct Conference website, or they can be simple, yet unique and original, like Creative Freedom Guide has done.
For Better Coffee uses a design that epitomizes the idea of storytelling through custom-created illustrations. By simply scrolling down with the mouse, the user is taught the rules for making the best coffee through an interactive, motion-filled, and beautifully illustrated journey alongside the coffee bean.
4: A minimalistic approach to web design will be more prominent
The coming year will usher in an era of simplicity in website design. Crowding your site with as much information as possible is an outdated practice that was more successful back when people’s attention spans were longer than they are today. Modern internet users appreciate (perhaps subconsciously) the added value of a simple website design, as it allows them to see the information they are looking for quickly and easily, without having to make the effort to ignore superfluous clutter. Having a minimalistic design enhances the user experience, making it more enjoyable and beneficial to users.
There are various ways you can implement minimalist design including using negative or white space, using one large image or photograph, and using only text on a plain background.
The main goal of minimalist design is to get your story, message, and value proposition across to users with as little imagery, text, and clutter as possible. Some of the best performing websites are basically a white background with only a small amount of text and design to explain what the company offers, like Cove, for example.
They do a great job using white space to their advantage, presenting only the necessary information and calls-to-action to their users without inundating the site with unnecessary elements.
#5: "Card" Layouts
Card layouts are taking over the web design world, as they make it easier to create a clean user interface design and offer information in small, closed containers that help users scan the site. Each of the cards on a site usually contains information pertaining to one topic, which helps keep the information you present to users organized and easy for them to find.
An added benefit of the card layout is that it allows for simple adjustments and logical breakpoints on different devices thanks to the square or rectangular shape of the cards, themselves.
Whether you are redesigning your existing website or building a brand new one from scratch, keep these current trends in mind, not only because they’re in style, but because these techniques deliver the best overall user experience to your customers.