How Will the Web Look and Feel in 2016?

Hai Tran | January 22, 2016

Design trends often span several years, even decades. Most websites and applications of the past decade continue to follow common layout patterns: header, footer, sidebars and content area. We look back at three of the biggest design trends of 2015 and how they’ll impact 2016.

TO SCROLL OR NOT TO SCROLL? Most designers agree that the trend of long scrolling will continue into 2016. With mobile browsing now exceeding desktop, the fold is officially dead with new research proving that users don’t mind scrolling.

But is it the best experience for your brand’s users? While this trend is hot, we’ve seen a number of sites opting to go toward the minimal, or even no-scroll, to focus and increase engagement with their users. (For example: Peugeot GTi - Chase the Line.) What the user sees on any given page is everything they need — no further scrolling required.

COMPONENT-BASED AND OBJECT-ORIENTED DESIGN Object-oriented design isn’t new, but it’s only been the last year or so that we’ve seen a growing proliferation toward the ultra-efficient modular and component-based design for the Web. Instead of mocking up entire layouts and comps for every Web page, brands are designing sites using repeatable elements that can be used on different screens and different locations, both within a given website as well as outside of it.

RICH AND SUBTLE ANIMATIONS Vision (sight) is the strongest of our five senses. It stimulates, inspires and even disgusts to capture our attention. With HTML5 becoming standard, users can now engage with content in a much deeper way without suffering from slow load times, lag and having to download additional plugins. Stand apart in the sea of sameness with rich and clever animations to stimulate and engage vision — from expansive, moving hero images and cinemagraphs to small-scale hovers, loading bars and micro-interactions.

Expect to see this trend evolve this year as designers take it to another level. Get ready for transition animations with deeper thoughts behind them instead of seeing just a generic animation that simply looks pretty.

In 2016, Web design will to continue to change and grow toward richer, more dynamic and personalized digital experiences. We’ll see smarter solutions that improve the way we work, play, live, discover and learn online.