Some rules of website design never change. An attractive appearance and optimal usability never go out of style.
On the other hand, new technologies and changing consumer behavior can redefine what people consider attractive and usable. These web design trends change every year, and 2016 is no exception.
Social media, the rise of mobile users, and other new developments have fundamentally changed how consumers interact with businesses online — and, consequently, how websites are designed.
Some of these trends have already taken off, while others are just beginning to form and will ramp up as 2016 moves along.
1. Infinite scrolling
Multi-page sites were the norm since the birth of the internet.
Then mobile devices came along, and it became harder to access key information on small screens when a site was made for a large monitor.
That factor (and several others) made infinite scrolling — also called “parallax scrolling” — incredibly popular in recent years. Expect to see a ramp-up in 2016.
Scrolling improves the user experience because it takes less time to scroll one page than to click on links to multiple pages.
But there’s a downside.
If the design doesn’t keep key information such as the call to action front and center, you could lose conversions. Also, since all of your information is on one page, you’re limiting your site’s SEO potential.
Make sure you thoroughly research the impact of using a single-page website before you implement it. It could wind up costing you more than you want to pay.
2. Strong visuals
Users prefer visual content like photos, graphics, and videos.
The popularity of YouTube and the rise of the infographic are both testaments to that fact. Because of that, visuals are an increasingly-important part of website design.
Stock images may improve your site’s layout, but they won’t do much to differentiate your business. Instead, design your homepage with photos of products, staff, and other parts of your company that make you unique.
3. Homepage carousels
You want to keep people on your site as long as possible, so you may feel pressured to offer everything up front. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time or space to do this with traditional web design. Homepage carousels come close, allowing you to highlight key content and still maintain a clean and simple page layout.
Visitors may love the carousel because they want to see what’s coming next, particularly if it has high-quality graphics and compelling headlines. Just be sure it’s designed to work on multiple browsers and devices, and keep photo sizes small so the carousel speed doesn’t go too slow.
4. Card-style navigation
Of course, home pages are not the only areas where you may need to pack a lot of detail into a little space.
Online catalogs, news sites, and other content-heavy sites must find a design that enables easy navigation without sacrificing important information. This is why card-style navigation — which has already gained traction on sites such as Pinterest and Instagram — will take off in the coming year.
Web designers love cards because they offer more flexibility than many other formats. They also keep content organized and ensure layouts don’t look too cluttered or complicated.
As long as you have a great title and graphic for each card, this is a good choice if you’re planning a redesign.
Get a web design agency for your company
Styles change when it comes to music and fashion. Why should web design be any different? Whether you want to give your site a boost in functionality or undergo a complete renovation, look to these 2016 web design trends for inspiration or get more ideas from an experienced design team.
Check out our list of the best design agencies to find a partner company that’ll make you the website of your dreams!