Web design in 2016 is about to go minimalist. At least that’s what the experts are predicting. If you’re thinking about redesigning your website or about to make your first foray into website ownership, here are five website trends experts say we should expect to dominate this year.
1. Flat Design
Over that past couple of years web design has leaned towards naturalistic imagery ie photographs or 3D illustrations. It seems this trend is rolling back. Now web designers are using 2D images that often look like icons. These image are smaller in terms of file size and so enable pages to load more quickly and websites to work faster.
The flat design look is very modern, it employs bright colours and makes websites more usable because the focus is not on bells or whistles but on enabling you to carry out your tasks with the least amount of distraction, confusion and delay.
2. Responsive web designs
Last April Google rolled out a mobile-friendly update which would rank websites more favourably if they were optimised for mobile devices. Google’s reasoning was simple: websites are used by a growing variety of devices. Regardless of the device and its screen size, websites should display optimally on all devices. Users should not have to zoom in to read copy, should be able to tap buttons with ease, scroll easily and use any other functionality the website offers. Google’s mobile-friendly push encouraged web designers to build sites that would automatically display well on every screen ie respond to the device. Responsive websites can enlarge or shrink content, they can hide items that get in the way or rearrange content so that it’s easier to read. It’s a trend that grew in 2015 and promises to expand further in 2016.
It’s hard to believe that the GIF turns 30 next year, but like a fine wine it’s been getting better with age. The blinky, animated graphic has always been playful and fun, and now that millennials are pairing it with captions it has successfully evolved it into a storytelling device with a more sophisticated level of humour.
In 2016 the GIF looks set to advance once more, this time into a cinemagraph. Cast your mind back to Harry Potter and those newspaper covers with one or two animated features. This is the cinemagraph. It’s actually been around for a while, but this this year the more spare, cinematic style of use is likely to become as ubiquitous as the caption.
4. Flash Video
Adobe’s Flash video was once a popular software program for streaming video. However, its popularity has been on the wane since 2010 when Apple decided not to use it on mobile devices claiming that it consumed too much battery and lacked robust security. Flash’s reputation took a further battering in last year when the Flash Player was found to be vulnerable to hacking. Mozilla responded by blocking all versions of Flash for Firefox users and Facebook’s security chief tweeted that it might be time Adobe set an end-of-life date for the software. While the format continues to be used on larger streaming sites like Youtube, this year is likely to bring it closer to retirement.
5. Card-style designs
Cards have proved popular on websites because they make it easy to differentiate between blocks of content, they are easy to illustrate and highly versatile. Cards also fit perfectly into the responsive design trend as they can be made to stack one on top of the other on smaller screens.