Technology January 15, 2016 Last updated January 9th, 2016 2,029 Reads share

Web Design Practices to be Big and Not so Big in 2016

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2015 had been a great year for technological advancement and we have seen several incredible web designs. The web design industry is an ever changing space where the trends come and go often. At times, these trends are dictated by necessity (responsive web design) and at times, they are simply industry shifts like change to the flat design.

The decision to follow a given trend depends upon your business and the requirement of the users. You should never decide only upon what the trends are or what the other websites are doing. A website that is built solely by following the trends goes out of date very soon.

Don’t expect radical changes in 2016. We will see some trends going bigger, some trends fading away and some small movements starting.

Let’s check out on the trends that we expect to dominate 2016 and the ones that are about to fade away.

Natural Stock Photography

90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual and the visuals are processed much faster than text. No surprise imagery has been widely used as a visual element in websites in the course of last few years. But people nowadays are tired of cheesy looking stock photos.

Here is a feasible solution. Try using natural looking stock pictures connecting people on a different emotional level. In 2016, we can expect to see more amazing photos implemented in websites.

Changed Flat Design

We ditched gradients some time before, switching over to flat design. However, we did not put in much thought into the switch. At times, it is simply opting for a color from one end of the spectrum and using it through the element, scrapping gradient.

The flat design received attention with the introduction of Android 5.0 and iOS 7/8. Android contributed a lot to flat design improvement through its material design pattern as well as reference that extends beyond mobile, moving on to the desktop.

The ‘card’ design is a really good concept with the usage of shadows, white space, motion and intentions working together nicely to offer a layered approach to the 2D/3D design. I think that the card design as a mode to group content and make it significantly more digestible will continue.

Material Design

There has a lot of discussion in the course of last one year on adoption of Google’s Material design as the basis for UI presentation as well as development.

This trend reflects the shift towards smartphone. It also reflects acceptance of smartphones as the prime device for accessing the web, over and above desktops and laptops. Though this trend is no longer new, it is coming to prominence with wide spread adoption.

Be ready to see the signs of material design appearing in UI designs across the web.


MarketingSherpa claims that the viewers spend more time on the pages that come with videos. Video content plays a significant role in building trust between the brand and the visitors. Videos have been popular in the last couple of years and 2016 is expected to follow suit. Videos will keep on growing as one of the prime web design elements.


With the rise of web apps, we can expect to see more unexpected as well as subtle motion in the UI design that takes experience to a completely new level. Get ready for insightful animations with deep thoughts ingrained instead of generic animations that simply appear pretty.

Now it’s time to check out on the trends you need to think twice before using them in 2016.

Hamburger Menu

With mobile devices becoming commonplace, the designers are beginning to simplify navigation, hiding it under the hamburger menu. This trend has also crept into the desktop version of websites.

You can guess why this is appealing. Placing navigation under the menu makes space for a cleaner and a sleeker website. Moreover, most people are familiar with this pattern.

But this pattern does not work for every website as it reduces discoverability, substantially. The consequence can be quite harmful for the news and the e-commerce websites as in these websites, discovery of topics and items is extremely critical.

Forcing the users to open the menu in such a situation may lead to unnecessary friction. According to writers Kathryn Whitenton and Jennifer Cardello, “Even if the global navigation is difficult to design and hard to maintain, most sites will still be better off showing top-level categories to users right away. It’s simply one of the most effective ways of helping users quickly understand what the site is about.”

Parallax Scrolling

In recent years, we have seen several websites making use of parallax scrolling. Parallax technique permits the background and the foreground content to scroll at a different speed, thereby helping to create an illusion of depth. This can be used for creating a nice effect but it is debatable whether this is possible to describe as a good UX.

Parallax comes with a few potential issues.

  • Does not help SEO
  • Can bring down performance
  • Affect the users negatively

Parallax scrolling is advantageous as it helps to add a dimension to the website allowing it to stand out of the crowd. However, as we have discussed, it has some potential load offs as well. If you are making a website to work on both the mobile and the desktop version, parallax scrolling is not for you.

Too Much JavaScript Usage

JavaScript is almost everywhere now. The social plugins use them too. But JavaScript creates trouble. It slows down a website and as you know, the users hate to stick around websites that are very slow.

JavaScript is extremely functional as it helps with creating great load screens and elements like sliders. But over usage of JavaScript can hurt your website in the following ways.

  • Hampering loading time
  • Affecting mobile browsing
  • Disrupting security

Though JavaScript has plenty of advantages, it is better to observe caution and use it as sparingly as possible.

Some great trends have emerged as best practices in the course of last few years. Good trends tend to stick but there are always a few not so good trends too that fade away.

Remember that your users are most important. Do not follow a trend just as it pops up. Consider it properly before joining the crowd.

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Eric Haskell

Eric Haskell

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