Top 10 Website Design Trends of 2016
Ok, ok, we know what you’re thinking. “It’s still 2015, how could you possibly know what the website design trends will be for 2016?” We hear you. At Comrade Web Agency (CWA), we spend all day, every day, thinking about, staring at and experimenting with websites. One of us even dreams about them. (He’s getting the help he needs… we promise.)
We specialize in working directly with our clients and their customers to learn what they want and respond positively to, gleaning any insights that should affect the design. The following trends are a combination of shifts we’ve seen occurring in web design over the year and some predictions for 2016 from our expert designers.
In the past, having a mobile responsive website was, “cool” and “advanced”. Not so much anymore. Nowadays, the majority of online activity is conducted on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It is no longer a luxury to have your site be 100% mobile responsive. It’s a requirement.
“Not too long ago, some of our clients opted to NOT have our team create a mobile responsive website. Now, we insist that they ‘think mobile’ because their customers, as well as search engines, are doing the same.” – Julia, CWA Junior Graphic Designer
2) Easy Sign-ups & Logins
So much of our lives require online registration of our accounts. To make sign-ups as easy as possible, multi-step form “Wizards” can make the process quick and easy. Easier still, you can log in through Facebook and avoid inputting data over and over again.
3) Bye-Bye Cover Page
Just like business proposals, client progress reports, and the 10-page paper you wrote on WW2 in high school, websites used to have colorful and (almost) bare front pages with a “Click to Enter” button.
In today’s quick-paced world, companies know they have a very limited timeframe to attract, and hopefully keep, your attention. They are no longer using time-wasting cover pages. Instead, when you enter a site, you’ll dive straight into compelling, relevant content. *
*Beware! Our designers predict this trend will go too far in the wrong direction.
“It’s fine to fill your homepage with content, but you can’t have every detail about your company hit users in the face right when they get there, ’cause they’ll just turn around and leave. Not to mention, all that information will clutter the site and make it ugly and harder to navigate. Keep it clean and to the point.” – Norman, CWA Senior Web Designer
4) Rich Animations
Stories can be told with text, photos, audio and video. One method that continues to gain ground by blending elements of the other four is “rich animation”. Characters & graphics can add a dose of entertainment and interactivity to your website’s storytelling. Parallax scrolling can be user-controlled while pop-up notifications draw attention to the site owner’s special features.
5) Hamburger Menu
Those three horizontal lines that look like a modern art version of a hamburger are becoming ubiquitous. The icon is beginning to rival the apple symbol as the most universally recognizable tool. Click it, and reveal a menu of options. For the animal-lovers out there… it’s a “veggie burger”!
6) Hero Images
Getting people to “consume” content on our clients’ sites often begins with large-scale glorious photos – whether the image is a mountain range or a button on a blouse. Increased bandwidth and smarter data compression (thanks again, math!) mean that users get instant gratification. No more slow-loading that takes away the impact of a Kapow! photo that fills the screen!
7) Unique, Unique, Unique
In the past, companies would come to us, with links to their top competitors’ websites and say, “make me this…but better.” While researching our clients’ competitors’ websites is valuable, companies are smartly changing their focus from “comparing” to “innovating” unique, new, and engaging content.
GONE are the days of stock photos. FINISHED are the use of website templates. ADIEU to generic “could be about any company” copywriting.
“It takes a lot longer. You have to shoot original photos, gather distinctive company information, build a whole new wireframe and create a design from scratch. But the results have been clearly worth it for our clients. Not to mention, it’s a lot more fun for us as designers.” – Sean, CWA Web Designer
8) The Brighter, the Better
The trend of distinctive, sometimes shocking, colors and bold typography is due in part to breakthrough technologies. High-definition screens are rocketing visuals past the old-fashioned 216 web-safe color palette. Mathematics has opened up millions of colors and designs to fearless designers and excited website visitors.
9) Long Scroll
Traditionalists carried over the idea of “above the fold” from newspaper days into the realm of websites. Now that people scroll news sites and buy products from eBay with a few thumb twitches and taps – all while standing in the Starbucks line – long scrolling pages are finding their home on increasing numbers of websites.
10) Tiled “Card” Layouts
With so much information vying for our attention, the ability to select from several bite-sized bits is a relief. For example, Microsoft Windows’ start screens use brightly colored squares and rectangles that can be rearranged according to user preferences. These content containers allow users to quickly identify and select items that are uniquely important to them.
Are you looking to create or redesign your company’s website? Visit us online or speak to our sales representative by calling (312) 265-0580
Grade Your Website
Get Your Complimentary Online Review and Evaluation Report