The success of a website depends extensively on the experience it creates for a user besides the business element it carries. When a customer engages with a brand, his/her experience is influenced by the design (visual impact as well as the functionality) of the website. Much like any other business sector, there are the design trends that are believed to be more impactful than other marketing trends.
Here are the top six web design trends that will make waves in 2016.
- Say yes to material, but don’t say no to flat:
Material design is about making a site look live and real, providing depth to images with shadow, and realistic lighting. Flat design does away with the shadow effects and curves to bring in a more minimalistic look to a site. Despite a few flaking about the flat design not having the oomph factor, one cannot ignore the key advantages that a flat design brings in:
- A cleaner look and hence fewer distractions
- Fits well into smaller screens; a boon for the mobile world
- Screens load faster
But then, material design brings in a personal touch with bolder colors and vivid imagery and motion. Both material and flat designs can co-exist beautifully. The material can be modulated to bring in UI as well as UX to arrive at cleaner yet appealing design that will also work well for all devices. 2016 will be all about striking the right balance between flat and material designs.
- Build in meaningful micro-interactions:
A micro-interaction is a short communication process between the customer and the brand. This is a necessary feature that helps the brand maintain a personal bond with the user through the App. A micro-interaction model uses ‘follow’ trigger to get important feedback that also conveys something important about the user.
The beauty of these interactions is that they are so seamlessly woven that they might even seem non-existent. The popular examples of micro-interactions are the “like” buttons on Facebook or a “report” button when something goes wrong.
To make the most of this engaging feature, designers need to utilize them in a meaningful and subtle manner. Some points (useful in building in details) to be noted are:
- Keeping the interaction short, for example, like a short feedback form to rate a cab ride.
- Use the language of your audience to make it appear more human.
- Use existing data to extract more information instead of adding newer conditions.
- Graphics matter:
Animation and images are a sure-fire way to capture your customers’ attention. They provide the much-needed respite in cutting a long story short and keep the audience interested enough. The use of image and motion in your website can be incorporated in many creative ways:
- A single high-resolution background image will help capture attention and also keep the website look clean and uncluttered.
- Using a slide show is a great way to tell a story; usually popular with sites that need to showcase their products creatively; for instance, a fashion portfolio or a photography site.
- Hidden menus save precious screen space as they cascade only when the mouse hovers over a button.
- Loading animations have been in vogue for a long time now. It keeps the user busy until the buffering is complete. Avoid complex animations or ones with a jarring sound.
- Endless scrolling is not necessarily bad:
The growing use of Smartphone is an indicator that users are used to scrolling down for information and this is becoming a favorable trend for designers. The use of long scrolls without the need for breaks or buttons to tell a story is in a way a freeing experience.
Endless scrolling is different from innovative scrolling such as parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling is when the background image moves at a slower rate compared to the foreground image creating an illusion of depth and movement. A Parallax is a great option for building engagement, but not always.
Endless scrolling keeps streaming information without a break as the user keeps scrolling down. Popular examples are that of Facebook and twitter.
As we can see the endless scrolling works well as the user is constantly updated and engaged for longer periods of time with this technique.
- Responsive is the way forward:
Statistics show that the mobile internet usage will be more than 63% in 2017, so it only makes sense to retain (or adopt) the responsive design. To use responsive designs effectively, Guy’s Pod suggests:
- Avoid using images with the setting “display: none” because the sites still load these (as hidden images) and take as much longer to load, a big no-no for mobile screens.
- Creating resized versions of the same image on the server instead of the popular ‘Fluid Image’ technique.
- Trim excessive HTML (for known clients) by using the RESS- Responsive+Server Side
- Optimize and measure each site by introducing performance testing into the build process.
- Typography can make or break:
The trend is for more dramatized than functional typography. While there is no dearth of creative fonts, the type category is divided into two main typefaces: Serif and Sans Serif. The latter is more popular for its simplicity and responsive design. Designers can deploy creative ways to use fonts that have a typeface that is clean, simple yet stands out, and most importantly, responsive. Like most other elements, the popularity of typography will depend upon how it is used in sync with the changing technology.
As with trends in any sector, these are mere pointers and cannot be applied as a standard procedure. The success will largely depend on your brand, your customer base and how you want to interact with them. Do share your thoughts on these emerging web design trends.
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