Web Design Trends to Follow in 2016

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Your website needs to stay relevant. If it has not been updated in the last five years, now is the perfect time to do it. You do not want to risk falling behind competitors with modern websites that are in tune with the needs and wants of today's customers.

2015 is almost over, and it is time to look beyond. It is impossible to precisely predict the future of web design, but there are strong signs that point to features we will be seeing in 2016.

Responsive Design

Responsive design has already become very popular thanks to the rise of smartphone internet use. It is estimated that only 20% of websites use responsive design, so it is safe to say that responsive design is here to stay and will only gain in popularity as it represents a very simple and cost-effective way for businesses to build websites that can adapt to any screen size.

Flat Design

Flat design has been around for a while now and it goes hand in hand with other trends such as responsive web design, minimalism, and material design. Flat design is going to evolve in a way that maintains its qualities, but also gives it elements of depth and dimension. This can be achieved through the use of long shadows, vibrant color schemes, ghost buttons, simple typography, and minimalism.

Material Design

Last year Google created its new visual language that aims to blend the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibilities of technology and science. It provides a single underlying system that enables a unified experience across platforms and device sizes. Material design uses shadow effects, movement, and depth to create modern, clean, and more realistic designs. Until now, material design projects have been limited to app designs. However, a new version uses Vanilla CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, which means it can be used for website design.

High-Quality Images

If you think that your website is too plain, the easiest way to freshen it up is by adding a few images to the background. It can even be just a single, striking image spanning the entire page that instantly grabs the attention and sparks the curiosity of your visitors. The images need to be appropriate and fit the theme of the website as well as your brand, product, or service. Also, short and large text in the foreground can perfectly complement the images and provide a clear call to action for the visitor.

Customized Illustrations

The biggest problem with today's design trends is that it becomes very difficult to be original. Most websites will follow patterns that feel the same. This is the inevitable side effect of mass adoption. There is no better way to add personality to your website than having custom-made or hand-drawn illustrations. They give your brand a unique and inviting vibe, and they cannot be easily copied by your competitors. This concept also goes very well with another trend - use of storytelling.

Use of Storytelling

Telling a story through a website can be a very complicated undertaking. However, when done right, it is a fantastic method of engaging visitors through a series of interesting questions, images, or activities that showcase your product or service in use without the users even realizing that they are shopping. This is possible because people simply love to hear stories. We can quickly imagine ourselves as characters and we need to know what happens next.

"You should opt for a website design that serves your customers best and perfectly promotes your brand."

Rich Animations

This is another trend that is used to improve a website's storytelling technique. Animations make the user experience more interactive, engaging, and entertaining. However, you need to carefully consider whether animations actually add to your website's personality and story elements.

These are the most popular animation techniques:

  • Loading animations - these animations are designed to entertain and delight users during an otherwise dull experience
  • Navigation and menus - hidden menus have become very popular since they can be used to save screen space
  • Hover animations - these animations provide users with a more intuitive feel and instant visual feedback regarding a function they are unsure about
  • Motion animation - this is a great way to attract attention as our eyes are naturally drawn to motion


Micro-interactions or micro experiences are buzzwords for experiences whose goal is to simplify initial navigational paths while still giving a variety of choices without being overwhelming. These interactions, such as liking a Facebook status, are done without a second thought. The key is to ensure that these experiences happen almost invisibly. They need to be simple, but they also need to feel human and conversational, not robotic.

Unique User-Oriented Design

With more and more web design trends becoming omnipresent, it is becoming increasingly easy for websites to fall into the same predictable patterns. More emphasis will need to be placed on completely unique user experiences. This can be achieved by combining several trends described here such as customized artwork and interactive storytelling.


Following trends blindly is never a good decision. Deciding on which trend to follow depends on your brand, how these elements work to communicate the message you want to send, and how much you are willing to invest. Also, most of these trends are not mutually exclusive, they work well with one another, so combining them might be the perfect solution for you. Regardless, you should opt for a website design that serves your customers best and perfectly promotes your brand.