During 2015, the web brought us some pretty similar user interfaces: background images, big titles and text. We used buttons to link to other pages, arrows to mark such links and icons to go along with their corresponding texts.
Take a look at Polymer’s page, or at Bootstrap’s page. Them being the most used frameworks nowadays on web interfaces. We have ditched those image links for good, but are we still there, on a natural interface.
We have ditched those image links for good
This year I released my new website being a proposal on what I think the web will be during 2016. I have no big background image on the first page, I do use quite a lot of text. I have no linking images nor linking buttons, I do have a button to download my CV, and it is marked with an icon showing what will happen if you click it (bring something down from the cloud), but it is not a link to other page, it is an action that will affect your computer, so to speak, and I have links, text links, to link to other pages. During 2016, web interfaces will get back to the past, back to the basics.
During 2015 the trend evolved, menus are now text based, we use less background images, we have retired parallax effects for good, and we are now using a more simplistic web. But I think 2016 will be the year we will come to have more basic, cleaner and easier web interfaces.
“If a text is underlined it is a link”
Web pages and web apps are great, but browsers are not to be confused with native applications. People over the years learned how browsers work, they learned that “if a text is underlined it is a link”. If you have a web interface too complex for a web browser you should move to a native application environment, that is why applications are so requested by users, they feel web applications are too heavy or to complex for a web browser.
I know you could argue that people have get used to our new interface design language. Responsive objects, animations, and so on. But, I think we should understand who is this market we are talking about. Mainly people under 30, who have no prior knowledge or too little of an experience in old web design.
Nowadays, my company, io media is building software for small and medium companies, many of them being owned by a 30 to 40 something man or woman who does not use new software on their business because it is too complex for them. But they love to use old software because it is more “easy to understand” for them.
Our generation has come to be curious, there generation is cautious, with them felling they could break their computer if they do something wrong. Our generation understands this “old interface standards”, and we love them when they work. I’m not saying we should use only inline text links all over the place. I’m just saying we will return back to the basics to find ourselves again and have those natural interfaces we are all eager to achieve.
We should explicitly say what is going to happen when we click
My idea of what 2016 web interfaces will be is: we should explicitly say what is going to happen when we click.