8 Web Trends and Predictions for 2016

In times when the whole Internet is filled with steam ironed flat designed web sites and apps, it’s hard to get users attention. This is where we often fail. Unfortunately.

Today I would like to tell you about my predictions for 2016 that will play a huge role this year. User experience will be a key priority and in short it’s all about personality, legibility and engaging your users.

How would your app look and act like if it was a person? And how can your app become a best friend rather than only some cool app?

First of all: Micro-interactions

Micro-interactions are delightful.

It’s the secret ingredient when it comes to creating an addictive app. These design moments keep users engaged, create unexpected delight and are almost invisible to everyone but the designer.

Micro-interactions are everywhere e.g. when liking a Facebook-status, send a message, fill out a form, refreshing an app, loading content. These interactions can draw attention with a tiny animation, sound or vibration et cetera.

Remember to design with the user’s goal in mind. Use personas and user scenarios to tweak every step of the design process so the user accomplish their goals as fast as possible.

Tip: Be creative when loading content. It’s not always a good idea to use a spinner or a progress bar to indicate that something is happening.

While the intentions behind progress indicators are good, the end result can actually turn out to be bad because by definition they call attention to the fact that someone needs to wait. — Luke Wroblewski
Credit: Srikant Shetty at Dribbble
These interactions should make the user feel or do something physically and the user will always know what have happened and what to do next.

Gestures

Gestures are intuitive and natural for users and a way to incorporate real-life context into your application. This will enhance user experience with less taps and more swiping, scrolling and shaking; your application will become more interactive.

Credit: Javi Pérez on Dribbble

Bye bye hamburger menu

At least for common actions in your app

Credit: Gal Shir on Dribbble

At start it was a really cool idea to put everything inside a delicious hamburger. It gave a clean minimalistic look to your app. What else became minimalistic was user engagement.

Credit: Luke Wroblewski

This year we will see common actions within view for users, such as using tabs.

So promise not to hide your most important features. People get sores on their finger tips when they tap around to much.

Don’t be shy! Show your cool features.

Credit: Lucifero at Dribbble

Flat Design 2.0

Flat design has been really trendy the past years, but it has some usability concerns when it’s overused. One of the main concerns is that users don’t always know what or where to click or tap in a flat interface.

Flat design is stripped down and is the total opposite to skeuomorphism and realism. Flat design will still be really hot in 2016 but we will see more depth and contrast, layered with shadows and animation.

Slightly with a 3d-ish look.

Google introduced their take on Material Design in 2014 and is probably the most renowned example of Flat 2.0 (or “Almost Flat”) design.

Don’t make design decisions that sacrifice usability for trendiness.
Photo credit: Ryan Allen

Cards, Cards and more cards

One of the biggest takes from Material Design that we will see more of this year is cards. Cards are smart, easy and with clear actions and works well in different screen sizes.


Bolder and brighter colors

Dirty Dancing meets Star Wars in a delicate way with a nerdy vintage vibe from the ’80s.

No, seriously it’s a great year for colors where bright pastels and bold accent colors goes along with a neutral palette. But stay away from washed-out colors and keep the palettes small.

Created at Coolors
Credit: Spotify

Dramatic Typography

Not type-of typography.

Typography will get bolder and bigger. Text in general will also increase in size for better readability.

Credit: Ryan Arruda

Stylish hand-drawn illustrations

Photos will more and more be replaced with illustrations. (Yeah, of course not if you’re a photographer). Since support for SVG and icon fonts is wide these will be used to remain crisp and beauty at any screen resolution.

Dare to loosen up and empower the aesthetics of your application and express your brand.

Aesthetic Nike shoe by Berin Catic on Dribbble
Credit: Polina at Dribbble
Credit: OrangeYouGlad

Conclusion

Usability wins over cool layout and strange animations this year and it’s time for designers to shine rather than cheap over-used libraries. UX will play a key role and artificial intelligence will sneak around the web and make apps a little more “human”.

Give meaning to usage of colors, animations and express your brand in a delightful way.

Summary

  • Micro-interactions will be used more and delicate
  • Bolder and brighter colors
  • More depth and contrast in Flat Design 2.0
  • Common actions in an application will be in plain sight.
  • Express more personality
  • UX will play a key role
  • Understand your users and design for them
  • Artificial intelligence