Web design predictions for 2016

Posted: January 26, 2016

Pic by 360eightThanks to the ever-evolving world around us, the primary objective of digital designers is not only to design fluid experiences, but also to allow visual consistency to flow into multiple device interfaces. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

The reality is that it’s a massive challenge keeping abreast of upcoming trends and tech advances. Of course, the notion of creative license and originality due to these ever dynamic and shifting trends and tech parameters has at many times felt like an urban myth. What comes in one day as something hot and groundbreaking, resulting in a mass following, slowly dies a horrible death the next.

A lot can change in a year. Digital trends, backed by interface development such as responsive design for instance, were first pioneered as far back as 2001. The first site to feature a layout that adapts to browser viewport width was Audi.com.

As the years progressed, and digital punks began dabbling  in creative experimentation based on these advances, a number of new terms were ‘invented’ around the proverbial water cooler.

“Flexible”, “fluid”, and “elastic” were being used to describe web layouts. And as far back as late 2008, CSS3 media queries were almost ready for online prime time.

Then, in April of this 20015, our friend Google released another industry changer. In order for all websites to rank well on it’s search engine, they now needed to be responsive. This strengthened the trend and now Google has begun to boost the ratings of sites that are mobile friendly if the search was made from a mobile device.  Now even though this was first received as problematic for some web masters, it is  now recognised as a fundamental. And it’s a good thing.

Devices are becoming faster and smaller. More people today access the Internet on mobile. They are on the go. Not only are they becoming impatient and intolerant to lousy customer-centric design but they themselves are driving the trends. It’s fact. A large portion of your online users are visiting your website from their mobile devices – smartphones and tablets.

Are you making them finger pinch, squint and double tap? If you don’t want to lose your online audience to competitors, make sure your site is not only optimized for mobile but possibly feature a few of these upcoming web trends for 2016.


  1. Illustration

The screen becomes a digital canvas. This one excites digital artists, animators and illustrators as it opens up lost opportunities and allows for a fresher digital medium instead of video or photography.


  1. Cinemagraphs

Thanks to Apple, the arrival of “live photos” on the latest iPhone models have re-introduced the need to explore photos coming to life as an option to the static alternative. Advertisers and content producers have also now started to explore the growing power such images have.  Eye catching effects and user interest and engagement with the use of HTML 5 Canvas is used to draw graphics in real time via scripting. Pleasant on the eye and lightweight loading.


  1. Typography

Get ready to see a lot of creative exploration with typography. There is nothing more attractive and powerful than the use of well-crafted typography on a webpage and this will continue to gain more and more importance in the design and look of a website.

The past few years has seen a significant transformation in the use of typography online as web fonts have become accessible to all – and thankfully we’ve witnessed a  dramatic shift in the way type is rendered online.


  1. Video

We all love video. There is very little effort compared to the painstakingly time consuming process of cinemagraphs for instance.

With the advent to bandwidth connectivity and fibre optic connections, lengthy load time will be a thing of the past. Interesting videos allow users to pause and engage with their brand and has proven that the time they spend on a website and interact with it will increase. There may be a split in the industry for creatives and developers who love or hate the full-page video background feature, but we cannot ignore the fact that together with crafted typography and well positioned overlapping elements it is highly effective.


  1. Customer-Centric Web Design

It is and should be an intricate planning process before design and development unfold. A clever digital team realises its importance and should strive to envisage the user journey in order to deliver the best results.  We will witness a growing following of digital professionals take heed to this going forward. Rather sooner than later.


In conclusion, as mentioned above, it’s essential for any digital creative to keep up to date with current trends and technologies. A great delivery on creative execution for a digital platform like a website comes from a deep understanding of your technical parameters, your target market, your skillset and the passion you have for the industry going forward.