Did you keep up with all the emerging web design trends this past year? If so, pat yourself on the back. If not, where did we go wrong…
Regardless, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the web design industry if you want to be a leader in the field. And there’s no time like the present to get a head start on what 2016 has to offer!
1. RICH ANIMATION
It’s no longer the goal to merely impress a user visually while offering great content. These days, users want to be ENTERTAINED! Enter animation.
With the increased emphasis on an interactive experience, animation is integral to a site’s storytelling.
There are several types of animation you should be familiar with. Here are a few of the more prominent ones on the rise:
- Loading Animations – Utilized to entertain and occupy users while a site transitions into a new page or feature. These elements have been around for quite some time, but they’re becoming more and more standard. These come especially in handy for sites requiring high bandwidth or featuring interactive pages.
- Hover Animations – Used to offer insight on an image, tab or graphic’s function. These features are exceedingly user-friendly as they allow the end user to navigate a site intuitively.
- Motion Animations – The easiest way to grab a user’s attention? MOTION! Motion animation can be a GREAT marketing tool when done right. Their incorporation into minimalist and/or flat designs are a sure fire way to peak a user’s interest.
- Smooth Scrolling – Allows a seamless transition between pages and site elements. Besides being fun, this trend also allows users to go at their own pace and reduces eye-fatigue.
When it comes to web design, less is often more. There are many reasons for this: chiefly, it allows a site to be bandwidth-conscious while ensuring the user isn’t overwhelmed. But on top of that, the simplicity of such a design can be stunning.
It would seem that this trend is in opposition to Rich Animation, but on the contrary. When used most effectively, rich animation is applied to a minimalistic design. This way, the focus stays on the animation and the user isn’t distracted by unnecessary information.
One specific form of minimalism are flat designs. Which oh, by the way, have SKYROCKETED in 2015! For those of you who are already masters of flat design, good news: their presence is only going to expand in the coming year.
3. GRAPHIC TEXT
Typography has long been a staple of marketing and web design. But with the increase in connection speeds and screen densities, web graphics now have very few limits.
Type placed within a graphic, positioned over an image, on top of a color pattern… seem like a bit much? In some cases, BUT, if you have a good eye for design – always striving for readability, complimentary colors, and proper focal points – you can transform these dynamic elements into a cohesive experience (one that the end users will thank you for).
If you’re still unsure, consider this; graphic text affords more room for designer creativity than most other trends. Why? Because branded graphic text, generally speaking, is designed specifically for one site and one site only. Due to this, of all the trends in 2016, this may have the most potential for creating a unique user experience.
4. APPS, APPS, AND MORE APPS!
To say that the app business is booming is an understatement.
With app integration into web browers, operating systems, and website templates, the trend will only continue to grow. Unfortunately, its not all roses when it comes to the app surge.
Its great that sites can integrate third-party apps, don’t get me wrong. But, with more and more app availability, choosing what apps a site needs and what apps a site could do without is paramount. Nothing will ruin the beautiful foundation of a web design more than overloading it with information and clashing color schemes! And apps are a sure fire way to do this.
An understanding of the available and trending apps that are out there is a must, but their widespread incorporation? Not so much.
Tred lightly with this trend!
5. INTRO PAGES
An introductory page – or splash page – that precedes a homepage has been around for several years now (especially for sites with a product to sell).
The concept makes sense: the user obviously is interested in the site’s purpose, so why not show them what you offer right off the bat? For an author selling a book, it’s perfect. For an online magazine looking for subscribers, just as good.
But, even so, these aren’t for everybody. Statistics show that, once your page loads, users form an opinion in .05 seconds (Source: Carleton, University). If the user feels as though you’re trying to trick them into a sale right off the bat OR if you’ve spent all your time designing the homepage and a fraction on the intro, watch out.
Nonetheless, a website’s ability to market their products are paramount in a world of reduced attention spans. Due to this, the trend of intro pages will grow and grow.
Be wary of overusing this trend, but, as long as you stick to the two rules of sales (be concise and provoke action!), you should be fine!
Deciding whether to fall in line with popular trends around the web or to deviate can be a bit taxing. On one hand, designing a site that the user is already comfortable with ensures a successful user experience. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, designing a site solely based off of what’s trending can lead to a generic product.
My advice? Add as many of these trends that you can to your design repertoire. Make your skill-set as vast as possible.
But just because you have a hammer in your tool belt doesn’t mean its required for every job.
So, always ask, “what value does this add to the end user?” Designing intentionally, not off the fly, is the greatest advice a web designer can apply!
What is your favorite trend on the horizon?