2015 is almost over and 2016 is around the corner. Web design has certainly changed this year and will continue to change in 2016. Responsive web design has become more popular in 2015 and will continue to develop in the coming year. This is mainly due to Google’s drive for mobile friendly websites, so it is now imperative that you create sites that look fantastic on both desktop and mobile. So, we shall now take a closer look at a few trends from 2015 that you will continue to see in 2016 as well as a few predicted trends that have a high likelihood of becoming popular in the near future.

Animation

Animation is no stranger to web design as the web has been inundated with gifs and flash animations since the 90’s. However, in 2015, we are seeing a lot more use of rich animation that is used to create a storytelling effect to make the user’s experience more entertaining and interactive. There are two main types of animation that are used and these are small scale animations and large scale ones. The large scale ones include parallax scrolling and pop up notifications which are meant to engage users to interact with the website. The small scale animations include hover tools, interesting loading bars and spinners which don’t require user interaction.

Increase In Website Microinteractions

The web is rapidly becoming more immersive and human-like and this is completely intentional. In order for your web design to keep up, you need to create a website where users make small interactions that are non-invasive or irritating. We all have microinteractions on a daily basis from turning off the alarm, liking a picture of Facebook, proving a star rating on a product etc. These small user based interactions can help users to provide feedback in a quick and efficient manner that doesn’t require much effort.

Responsive Web Design

This year has seen a huge improvement in responsive web design and this has now grown from a trend to a best practice for 2015 and onward. This has become more important since Google did a mobile friendly update in April which basically forced webmasters to create responsive web design that is well suited to both mobile and desktop. In order to create a responsive web design that is light and very fast, you will need to avoid using JavaScript and CSS for image loading since requiring the image to be downloaded before being viewed, only adds more weight to the page. Instead, you will have to use responsive images that are defined by percentages. You will also need to implement conditional loading for JavaScript to avoid certain elements that load on desktop from being loaded on mobile. Additionally, you will have to apply performance testing to measure and optimize each one of your sites and use RESS (Responsive and Server Side).

Now that we have looked at some of the trends from 2015 that will go into 2016 and beyond, we will now look at a few predicted trends that will be brand new for 2016.

More Unique Website Experiences

The use of responsive web design techniques and modern web templates have left most websites looking the same. So, in 2016, it is highly possible that many designers will start breaking out of this mold and start creating more unique web designs that have well thought out user experiences and interactions that provide a unique experience for their users. Some ways that they can do this include using the grid in a unique way and using custom illustrations that are hand drawn. There will definitely be a higher push for creativity in web design where websites will strive to be different and express their own individuality at a higher level than before.

Cinemagraphs

2016 will certainly see a rise in the use of cinemagraphs online where it appears as though a picture is moving. A cinemagraph is like a combination of a movie and photograph in one to create a rich media experience. The use of this type of media will allow web designers to create specific moods and atmospheres on their websites and incorporate wonder and mystery in their designs. Cinemagraphs are certainly a fantastic tool for engaging users especially since it won’t eat up bandwidth in the same way that a video would but it is far more interesting that a normal photo. Even though this technology has been around since 2011, I am certain that it will become popular and widely used in 2016 onward.

Semi-Flat Design

Flat design has been popular for quite a long time and this is mainly due to its clean, sophisticated and minimalist design that is highly responsive. However, flat design will certainly be replaced by semi flat design that adds depth and dimension to a website. Web designers are always trying to create a more immersive and real world experience online, so this is only a logical progression. This semi flat design will be done through the use of shadows, cards and tile concepts, transitions etc.

Conclusion

We have just looked at a few web design trends that have grown in popularity in 2015 and will continue to become more prevalent on the web in 2016. We have also looked at a few possible predictions for 2016 that may or may not happen. If you are a web designer, then it is essential that you always keep up to date with the trends so that you can deliver web designs that amaze and delight both your customers and their users. After all, change is the only way to progress!

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