7 web design trends for 2016

It’s the start of 2016 and web design companies are looking back trying to find out what worked last year and what’s going to be the trend for this year.

So go ahead and read on. We’ve collected some of the best web design trends you must know about in 2016.

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Web design & development trends

Just last week, I gave you some insights on the 12 best web development trends for 2016, focusing more on the development side of web projects. The post received some tremendous feedback from you, our beloved readers.

Today, I’d like to take on the perspective of UX and UI.

Year 2016 looks to be a big year for the UX industry as more and more users increasingly demand deeper, more seamless and more personalized experiences.

The importance of proper UX design is growing exponentially.This can be seen in the many sectors that are creating a better web experiences by utilizing the latest UX design trends. Their websites, apps and even their technologically advanced wearable gadgets are undergoing huge changes.

A great UI and UX not only increases the aesthetic and functional appeal of a website but it also helps the user get to where they want faster and more effective.

These UI / UX patterns are here to stay

In the last couple of years, we have seen an exponential rise in responsive web designs. More and more websites have become mobile friendly.

But as sites are becoming responsive, they’re also starting to look a tad similar. Even though the design patterns have matured, there’s still a lot of room for innovation when it comes to UI and UX patterns.

Some things probably won’t change any time soon though. There are a few UI and UX patterns that are going to stay popular in 2016.

1. The Hamburger menu survives 2016

Hamburger menus or the 3-lined menu icons have a high adoption rate, especially in the mobile UX design.

They find their importance in mobile websites where space is limited yet the page has to appear clean for a more satisfying user experience. They make the function of entering the menu easily recognizable for users.

Although many designers criticize these menus, we still find a majority using them in the last 4-5 years. In 2015, significantly more designers have become advocates of killing off the hamburger menu.

It doesn’t matter on which side of the discussion table you’re at, my best guess is: The hamburger menu will survive 2016.
web design trends 2016 hamburger menu

2. Fast and straightforward registration forms

Whenever you try to log in to a site, they ask you to register through either your social account sign-up or your email id.

These have been here for a while, but ease of access is surely going to make social signups the norm. This eliminates the earlier practice of filling out a long form and users always appreciate the fast sign-up process.

how to design web forms examples bad & good

Make sure to check out our blog post on how to design great forms!

3. Storytelling and interaction

Companies today don’t have just one website. They own a number of websites, mobile apps, microsites, internal sites, blogging sites and social profiles. Content flows through all these channels and companies have to ensure that the content they publish is fit for each different channel as well as for each audience.

Year 2015 was the year where content strategy was incorporated on a larger scale together with the design process of the sites.

Web design needs to take storytelling into account. They are more interactive and animated to help present content in a unique and appealing way. Muted videos with perfect use of typography are telling brand stories and are engaging users like never before.

This trend will definitely continue in 2016.

4. Card layouts

We first found widespread use of card layouts on Pinterest.

The compact visual representation of this layout allows users to quickly browse through a lot of content and enables them to go to whatever interests them. They are also easy to arrange on different devices.

It’s an attractive and efficient way to group information in a box format and it’s a familiar format that will still be around this year.

5. GIFs, videos & rich animations

In order to make the user experience is entertaining and interactive but useful as well, sites are using a lot of storytelling in the form of unique animations.

web design trends ux 2016 loading gif


Both large-scale and small-scale animations are widely used to make the sites accessible.

GIFs, take less bandwidth than videos and have the ability to express more than static written text. Users are no longer interested in reading long paragraphs.

Large scale animations are used as a primary interaction tool with the users. They help with the storyline. They include pop-up notifications and parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling as a gimmick is slowly taking its place as the more useful way of working.

Small scale animations can be helpful as well. Things like hover tools, spinners and loading bars are helping keep users patient.

I would really love to give a shout-out to the people at Invision. They do a fantastic job when it comes to GIFs and rich animations on their website.

invision web design trends 2016

But there’s more to it than that. Adding an animation to indicate that a new piece of information is available, like what you see with the (i) icon on youtube, really grabs attention and is non-intrusive.

6. Micro-interactions

Micro-interactions go a long way in connecting with users by giving them a feeling of liveliness. They are the key component to an app design that people want to use. They keep the users engaged by coming up with pleasant surprises but remaining almost invisible.

A micro-interaction is basically any single task-based engagement with an app that gives immediate feedback.

It calls for an action from the user’s end that further triggers another action on the part of the device. For example, when we turn off the alarm on our mobile phones, we engage in a micro-interaction when the device shows us it is turning the alarm off.

micro interactions web design trends 2016

Micro-interactions fulfill three functions. It instantly communicates status or feedback, visualizes the result of an action and helps the user maneuver something on-screen.

Surveys tell us that micro-interactions are favored by users and are therefore going to be a hot trend in 2016. This means that as soon as you do something on a website or an app, you’ll immediately get a feeling that it worked.

7. Flat designs

Flat design has been around for a while and is more likely to be going steady this year as well.

It received its due recognition with the coming of iOS 7/8 and Android 5.0. The compatibility of flat design with responsive web design and material design makes it more desirable. It also makes websites more lightweight.

There are certain trends in flat design which we’re going to see a lot more in this year and they are…

Long shadows – Prevalent and very obvious to the viewer, they add depth to flat design and give a sense of layering.

Vibrant color schemes – A number of sites have pre-designed UI frameworks and templates that use a lot of vibrant color schemes. These are catching on.

Simple typography – Simple typography enhances the readability in flat design by making the text legible.

Ghost buttons – They increase the functionality of a site by providing more content while ensuring the UX doesn’t get distracting. Only when the user hovers over the links or the images does the clickable link expand and show more relevant information.

Minimalism – A clear site with consistent color choices ages far better compared to a cluttered and noisy site. This year will see a lot of new sites that follow the minimalistic approach and large corporations will definitely adapt this trend as well.

Wrapping it up.

This year is definitely going to be an interesting one for UI and UX experts, as more and more devices and innovations are entering broad markets (especially when thinking about VR technologies).

Design trends like Flat and material design will increasingly be used by people and therefore it’s expected to stay.

All in all, I can’t wait to see what this new year brings us.

This article was brought to you by Usersnap – a visual bug tracking tool for every web project.

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