Design, by its nature, is fluid, and when you consider the perpetual changes in technology, it’s not surprising that the design landscape is constantly evolving to meet consumers’ ever-changing needs.
Web design, in particular, is a combination of art and science, with the express purpose of producing something that is not only visually pleasing but also highly functional. Of course, that wasn’t always the case. In the early years of the Web, functionality was the primary focus.
However, with millions of Web pages dotting the crowded Internet landscape, the challenge for Web designers is standing out from the crowd. One way of doing this is keeping up with the latest design trends.
Here are emerging design trends and techniques we can expect to see in the latter half of 2015 and in 2016.
An exciting trend that is quickly emerging is the use of interactive stories, which utilizes multiple design techniques and a common theme to paint a story for the user.
Now this is not a story in the traditional sense, like Cinderella. Rather, interactive stories use colors, images, and other design elements to tell a compelling tale or narrative about the concepts and values of a company. This type of Web design gives users an actual ‘feel’ for a business.
Mobile devices and regular scrolling have created the need for some objects, like navigation menus, to slide or scroll with a page. Sliding navigation makes it easier for users to navigate through the website, no matter the screen size, because it keeps navigation options always present and in the same visual space.
As responsive and scrolling design gain popularity, fixed blocks of information become an increasingly popular way to display content on the page. Fixed blocks can be used in a variety of ways, including navigation and calls to action.
With responsive and mobile-first designs dominating the Internet, scrolling and long pages are here to stay. Parallax is a design trend that makes the background appear to move slower than the foreground, which creates a 3D effect and provides visual clarity for users as they browse.
Parallax design works well with long and scrolling pages, particularly on mobile devices.
Card or tile design, a la Pinterest, is still very popular. It is not only very familiar to most users, but it is also a natural way of organizing content.
Empty or semi-transparent spaces come alive when you hover over them. This design technique allows splashes of color or contrast that can be used to help direct visitors towards a particular choice or option while still giving alternative options.
Ghost Buttons are very popular in flat design and minimalist layouts.
While grids have been around for a while, it’s always been used subtly. However, with flat and minimal design trends booming, the idea of a grid layout has great visual appeal.
Grid layouts take wireframe boxes and incorporate them into a design to help organize information in a simple manner. This can also be done in unique ways to create highly customized layouts.
By using cookies, designers can now integrate personalization with their Web design in order to provide relevant content to certain user segments. Personalized UX creates a user-specific website experience, hiding or revealing elements based on a particular user’s past website interactions. Examples of this include creating sidebars or a grid for past articles commented on, suggested articles or topics that other people find popular, etc.
This idea started with Google and is based on flat design but with the idea of adding depth. Through the use of very subtle gradients, layering, colors and the use of animation, material design takes the clean idea of flat design and incorporates a look that is 3-D-esque.
A responsive carousel plugin makes what was once difficult to become more commonplace, which in turn offers the opportunity to insert beautiful galleries or slideshows of images into a page. These are very popular for businesses that focus on visual products.
Rather than using a bland background with an image overlay, another emerging design trend is the use of large, beautiful images or videos for a brilliant and exciting background. There is also a trend called cinematography backgrounds that combines photography into a moving background that is incredibly dazzling when done properly.
As popular as stock photos are, with thousands of amazing images being added to sites on a weekly basis, original and unique drawings are a hot new trend. Designers still have a goal of standing out, and one-of-a-kind images and drawings allow this to happen.
Trends will come and go as technology and styles change. In some cases, it can be one designer that sparks a trend with an out-of-the-box idea. By studying the 2015-2016 Web design trends, you will have a better idea of the various options that you can use for your own site for a new venture or even a much-needed redesign.