5 Key design trends: a recap for 2016

Design trends age faster than most digital concepts, since the way that we consume the web constantly keeps changing. In web design, every UI design pattern that was once innovative matures into something familiar and proven, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; if it provides a functional user experience, even a safe UI pattern can be effective (this is not to say that some ubiquitous trends that double as fads also fall by the wayside without ever gaining traction). The focus when adopting any trend should be in perfecting the user experience, since a nicely designed site is all but useless without the relevant functionality. There is no fixed blueprint for what makes a great design, but the components of a successful design often embody popular design techniques. Delve into the fascinating and mutable world of emerging and established design trends of the past couple of years, and see how designers attempt a creativity that also merges usability.

1. TYPOGRAPHY

Typography is an enduring feature of any site design, and on its own, it becomes an unmistakable visual statement about the personality of your site. Creatively distinct typography generates interest without neglecting performance; the current typographic trends making waves in modern Web design include extreme text sizes, or text superimposed over images for mutually reinforcing design, as well as artistic and calligraphic fonts for a more personal touch. Overall, the trend is moving towards minimalist sites that are embellished with dramatic typography in a move that transforms content into art.

2. ANIMATION & INTERACTIVITY

Interactivity and storytelling is often supported by animation to present content in unusual ways, so the site responds to the user in a gamified fashion. Rich animations that contribute towards storytelling are either large scale or small scale animations; large scale animations require user interaction and have more of an impact, while small scale animation consists of the likes of hover tools and loading animations. Animated navigation and hover effects give the site a more intuitive feel while preventing jarring transitions; they provide automatic visual feedback for a smoother and more seamless user experience by delivering more content for fewer clicks.

3. Card UI

Grid shaped layouts or card-based design can facilitate the display of bite sized content and present easily digestible pieces of information in each card. It is essentially a sneak peek that is defined by an effective headline, image, or graphic. Grid-based design is perfect for sites which need to display a large amount of content in a flexible and responsive layout; it works best when you want to present users with a quick and navigable flow of shareable content that that can also resemble social feed patterns, like the asymmetric grid on Tumblr.

4. Minimalism

Favoring simplicity allows a site to opt for a leaner design, which can also make it stand out. Minimalism is also compatible with flat design, which allows for vibrant color schemes, simple typography, and a functionality that focuses on removing distracting elements through the presence of items like ghost buttons.

5. LONG SCROLLING IN WEBSITE NAVIGATION

Favoring simplicity allows a site to opt for a leaner design, which can also make it stand out. Minimalism is also compatible with flat design, which allows for vibrant color schemes, simple typography, and a functionality that focuses on removing distracting elements through the presence of items like ghost buttons. Long-scrolling, one of the more ubiquitous trends, is an outgrowth of the popularity of mobile devices, which display content through scrolling instead of linking, since this is easier for users. Long scrolling benefits product pages in addition to the homepage, given that it can showcase content in one visual leap.

This is just a small sampling of the more innovative web design trends that pivot off best practices in design to deliver a great UI and UX. Most design trends are also fads, so adopting each trend is largely an exercise in prioritizing the visibility as well as functionality of a website. Constantly redesigning a site to incorporate the latest design fad can impede the creation of a goal-oriented design, so fusing creativity with context is likelier to yield better results.

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