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Web design trends for 2016


Web design trends for 2016

At New Year people make predictions for the next twelve months. Many web design experts are looking at the trends for web design in 2016 and here’s a selection of their predictions for the year ahead.

Centred Content

Centred content puts the main message of a web page in the centre and this is surrounded by a visual or smooth texture effect. This works well on home pages that do not need a lot of text content, but need to have visual impact.

Research has also shown that mobile phone users tend to initially focus on the centre of the screen, so it is especially important for pages designed for mobile users to cater for this.


Some websites are using minimal or no scrolling. More sites could follow this trend in 2016.

The danger of displaying the whole content on one screen is that there may not be enough information to engage the reader and they may quickly leave the website. This can also cause problems from a search engine point of view.

Non-scrolling and minimal scrolling sites are in the minority at the present. It is not clear whether this trend will grow, but it is definitely one worth keeping an eye on.

Flat design

Apple championed the use of flat design in their Mac, iPhone and iPad operating systems. Google followed with their redesigned logo.

Text, icons, images and other elements that use flat design are often quicker to load, and also make it easier to read on mobile phones. As flat designs tend to use CSS in place of images, it drastically reduces the file size of the website. It is expected that the flat design trend will continue in 2016.

Material Design

Google launched the Material Design Language in 2014. Google says that the purpose of the language is to:

“Create a visual language that synthesizes classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science.”

Material design features dynamic elements that are based on print design and uses bold colours, large fonts and white space. Shadows and animation effects simulate materials in 3D space.

Some are predicting that material design will replace flat design in 2016 as the must have look for cutting edge web pages.

The end of stock images?

Stock photographs are used by many sites as their main image source. They are used so much that the same images appear on many different sites – the blonde girl with the headset anyone?

Many sites are now turning their backs on stock photographs and investing in their own photographers.

Often sites use stock icon sets, but using custom made sets can make a website stand out.

2016 could be the year of original images and graphics, which is great news for professional photographers.

The return of animation

The days of Flash rich animation websites that look impressive but take a long time to load are long since gone. In truth, Flash never really had any place on the internet.

As flat designs were adopted, many sites dispensed with animation altogether.

Now web designers are finding that subtle, but rich, animations can make a site stand out from the crowd. These animations are generally small GIF or PNG files that are quick to load and are used to enhance the interactive elements of a site, rather than dominate the design.

Users need functionality

The trends mentioned so far are mainly about how a site looks. More important than looks is how the site functions. If a shopping site looks great and follows the best design trends, but is not easy for visitors to find what they need, then they will leave without purchasing.

If links don’t work, or site navigation is not clear, then visitors will not stay.

The best web sites have the perfect balance between design and function and that is a trend that should last through 2016 and beyond.

Darren Jamieson

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