Web Design Trends to Watch Out For In 2016

2015 has barely a month left before a new year ushers in. Amongst other things, expect new web design trends to emerge. One can only predict, but there are already tell-tale signs of what we’ll be seeing in 2016.

Overall Trend: A friendlier and more unique user experience

Tiffany Tay of Gray Box Design argues that with responsive design becoming ever-present, a lot of websites have fallen into predictable patterns. “We’ve reached a point where the majority of “pretty websites” all look the same,” she adds.

To keep this from happening, she predicts that designers should integrate personal touches for a more unique feel. This can be achieved through custom illustrations, hand-drawn artworks, or storytelling in the most creative ways.

Originality is still on top of the game

In his article for IT World, software engineer Matthew Mombrea points out that with the current design trends (mobile responsiveness, vertical scrolling, parallax features, and sliders), “it has become hard to even tell sites apart anymore.”

To avoid this rut, he emphasized that “renewed originality” should be a priority for web designs. This is going to come in a form of increased custom drawn elements combined with carefully produced animations. Designers can use HTML5, JS, or CSS3 animation libraries to help them out with this challenge.

He adds that there is no one-size-fits all technique to achieve this so execution should be done and implemented properly.

Flat design is here to stay

“Flat design is going away anytime soon,” says UX content strategist Jerry Cao. It has been around for a while and is compatible with other trends such as minimalism, responsive web design, and Material Design (Google’s new style language).

Cao predicts that flat design won’t be as flat as we know it. Instead, he sees these improvements to the forefront:

  • Long shadows — this will give depth to the design
  • Vibrant color schemes — current popular UI frameworks and templates have pushed for more vibrant colors in their designs and we’ll likely see more of it in the future
  • Simple typography — to ensure text legibility and readability
  • Ghost buttons — functionality without distraction; often presented as outlined, clickable links that change when users hover over them
  • Minimalism — to create fresh and uncluttered UI


Prince Pal, web designer extraordinaire at Think360 Studio, reiterates that on an average, web users only have a short time browsing a site. They are not interested in long paragraphs or too much scrolling. You’ve got to play with space and interaction. And that’s where visual stories come in.

He says that in the next 2 years, designs are going to be more interactive and animated to present content in a unique and appealing way. He suggest that as early as today, you might want to consider using creative visuals, typography, mixed blend of colors, and BG CSS animation or muted videos to tell your business/brand’s story to encourage more user engagement. He adds that a good story leaves the user wanting more.

Micro experiences will rise

Dan Saffer, a designer and expert on micro-interactions, says it’s high time that websites should think about micro-experiences. In a website, this is simply a single action that you can carry out. Examples include rating a feature, change of setting or even hitting the Like button. These actions create engagements that make a visitor feel like they are part of the digital environment.

It is up to the designer to make these experiences complex or simple, but it will simplify the initial navigation paths without being too overwhelming. It also reduces page changes and makes scrolling for tasks easier.

Longer scrolling

The speedy rise of mobile has got user shifting from clicking to scrolling. Users are now keen on scrolling for information rather than clicking on links. Nova Interactive, a web design company, states that vertical scrolling will be used to display content on one-page sites, but it can also be integrated on ‘product’ or ‘about us’ pages.


So, is there such thing as the “best design trend for my site?” The answer is: it depends. It depends on your industry and brand. Just make sure that all the elements should combine seamlessly to convey your brand. Regardless of what’s on trend or otherwise, the design and trend of your site should first serve the users before anything else.

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