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5 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2016 to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Posted by: Alexandra Heseltine - Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We all like to know “what’s over the horizon” for the coming year. In the world of web design, there are a number of trends that we’re watching in 2016 that affect how customers engage with, and move through a business website.

Ultimately, a website is created to engage with customers and to move them through the sales funnel. How visitors interpret elements on a web page determines how satisfied they will be with their online experience. If visitors have a good experience, they are likely to stay on the web page, click on various features and, hopefully, become a customer. The goal is to make it easy for customers to find what they want in a pleasant, online environment.

Below are web design trends for 2016 to help give your website visitors a great online experience.

Flat design is still with us but is changing.

Flat design has been around for a few years but is changing to be less flat and more 3D. Studies showed that flat design left website visitors confused about what they should click on to dig deeper into a website. Flat Design 2.0 uses shadowing to create an artificial 3D effect that encourages visitors to click on the icon and expect something to happen.

Interactive design and user experience.

Websites are becoming more interactive with information sliding in, interesting hover effects and multi-tab click-on slideshows, just to name a few. Interactivity should be added to a website if it makes sense for your target audience, helps tell the company’s message and improves engagement. If a feature doesn’t do one or more of these three things, than consider leaving it off.

Navigation is more than the nav bar.

Depending on who will be visiting you website, the classic navigation bar is not entirely dead, although some will disagree with me on this point. We’re seeing a more defused navigation structure where visitors are encouraged to click on icons or other graphics to dig deep into a website and move from one page to another. While this strategy creates and interesting journey for visitors, it can be frustrating for the visitor who wants to quickly arrive at the right page.

Simple overall design is beautiful.

The uncluttered look is still with us for web design. In fact, many companies have fallen in love with the clean, uncluttered appearance of today’s websites which often look more like brochures. We see web design continuing the simple design with eye catching graphics, strong colors and attractive fonts. This can be art at its best.

Content is more than a few good words.

Good content is more than quality writing that starts a conversation with a visitor; it’s also video, graphics, podcasts and more. Great content is part of the user experience on a website. Written content should read like a two-way conversation while videos should draw the visitor into the online story and engage with them. Content makes or breaks a website so spend time (and money) developing great content for your site and share it with eager readers and viewers through social media.
That’s my take on web design for 2016. As the year unfolds, new techniques and designs are bound to show up. I’d love to know what trends you’re seeing in web design and how these trends affect the user experience.

 Alexandra Heseltine | Marketing pro and creative director with over 25 years experience working with mid-sized to larger businesses and non-profits with experience in the construction, legal, banking and B2B sectors.

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