One of the things that we love most about design is that it is always evolving and always reaching higher. No matter how far we’ve come in the world of web design, there is always more to learn, more to explore, and more room to grow. Just when you think that design couldn’t get any better, a simple idea, a small innovation, or an “aha moment” can change everything that you know and open new doors.

So, what are we super excited about exploring in 2016 when it comes to fresh, fun, and functional web design? Here at Design Missoula, we’ve listed our top five new trends below.

But Wait! Why is Web Design Changing?  

You might be wondering why, exactly, web design needs to change. Why aren’t our current trends and design strategies good enough? Why must we continue to change the rules and continue to worry about updating the look of our homepages?

The answer is simple: web design changes because our users change. More than that, the tools and technology that our users utilize to surf the web change, too. Because people are engaging online in different ways, we need to find new ways to welcome them.

Specifically, in the last few years, mobile smartphone use has skyrocketed (and this trend should continue for quite some time). At the same time, users have shown much less patience when it comes to slow, poorly functioning, or cluttered websites. These two changes have resulted in a number of new design trends, all of which are geared toward welcoming users on mobile devices and maximizing overall user experience.

Our Top 5 Design Trends for 2016

  1. Long scrolls. Gone are the days where websites (especially homepages) cluttered and have lots of columns of competing information. Today, the best looking and best functioning websites have strong, simple banners and choose the long scroll over the information dump. This makes for pages that are bold, simple, and – perhaps most importantly – mobile friendly. 
  1. Flat design. Everyone from Google to Apple is embracing the idea of flat design: a simple and minimalistic approach to everything from typography to color. These designs not only drop many stylistic elements for a cleaner, unadorned looks, they also often make sites easier to read on small screens, like smart phones and tablets. In addition, flat designs also often load faster, helping website gets content to users even faster.
  1. Subtle animation. While most things about web design are moving toward the simple, 2016 will see an increase in small touches that bring websites to life, such as small and subtle animations. These animations are a way to make website stand out in a time when many homepages share the same structure, layout, and function. They also add an almost human touch to websites, especially when they are utilized to help improve interactions between the site and the audience. For a good example, check out Twitter’s new favorite button animation – it is small and simple, yet adds to the overall experience of using their site.
  1. Fewer stock photos. Stock photos may always have a place in web design, but 2016 will be a year of looking for alternatives before reaching for a generic image. Especially as it becomes easier for businesses and designers to create, edit, and integrate their own original images, buying photos will largely fall by the wayside and be replaced with warmer, more unique options. Instead, look for businesses taking their own photos, commissioning illustrations, and creating their own icon sets.
  1. A focus on function. In general, watch this year for all design choices to lean toward the functional. Design will more often be linked to making websites more intuitive, more user-friendly, and faster. While this doesn’t mean that aesthetics will be forgotten, it does mean that designers will make informed decisions about their projects that make room for things like responsive design and material design. 

But Remember: Some Things Never Change

While we know that web design will continue to grow and evolve, some aspects of design will never, ever change. Users will always want aesthetically pleasing, simple, and intuitive designs, no matter what. And at Design Missoula, we take that to heart even as we get excited about new ideas, new technology, and new strategies. 

A Good Resolution: Do You Need An Updated Website in 2016?

How does your website look right now? Are mobile users getting the most out of your site? Does your site function quickly and intuitively? Does it maybe look like your website was designed a few Presidents ago?

It might be time for an update. We can help you build a great looking, responsive website that serves your users and boosts your business. To learn more about our services, and to get your website a facelift, call or contact or team today.