Alan Horwatt

What’s New in Web Design for 2016?

Est. Reading Time: 5 minutes

As we plunge into 2016, many designers and developers are excited to see what innovative ideas will arise. It is up to us to deliver fresh and atypical ideas which provide a foundation for the progressive nature of our industry. Many are looking ahead and predicting different trends we may see in 2016. Some of the trends from 2015, will linger around for a little longer, while others will fade out. HTML5 and CSS3 have opened the door to many realms of possibility and continue to eliminate needs for Flash and jQuery plug-ins.

Below you will see trends I have found to emerge into mine and many designer’s lists of what to expect in 2016 and beyond.

1. Usability is King.

It is in our human nature to want things quick and as simple as possible. We are getting more mobilized with our web browsing and want information “on the go”. As designers focus more on simplistic and minimalistic styles of web design, developers are focusing on functionality to make designs and user interaction more fluid.

a. Flat Design – A trend here to stay

i. A couple years old now, Flat Design is a trend we see continuously getting applied to web designs. It’s bold and vibrant colors, easy to read Sans Serif fonts, big images, and minimalistic approach provide users with an easy to read style of simplistic design. The website is a great example of flat design and also a good example of how animation is beginning to get incorporated into background images.

b. Material Design – User Interface Defined

i. Introduced in 2014, Material Design was started by Google as a foundation for User Interactive design for cross platform use. Similar to the minimalistic appeal to Flat Design, Material Design focuses on shadows and depth which allow the user a better visual perception. The use of these shadow effects creates a 3D environment for devices when displaying objects, animations, and responsive interactions. Android introduced this style into its theming for the new Android 5.0 and many App designers are beginning to follow suit. For more info on Material Design, visit:

2. Typography

a. Designers are beginning to turn more focus on their choice of fonts. Whether it is for better readability or for unique ways to artistically spell out the title of a company, Google fonts has opened the door to huge a huge library of font selection. Typography is one of the biggest playmakers in successful design, as designers find ways to find legible and creative ways to spell out their content beyond the normal styles. We will begin to see bigger and bolder typography throughout the year. gives an example of how designers are implementing big bold text into their websites.

3. Cinemographs – It’s Alive!!!

a. Cinemographs are images that show movement in a still photograph. Since the first one in 2011, these images have become increasingly popular. With the implementation of Apple’s Live Photos into iPhone 6 cameras; Cinemographs have sprung a higher awareness to society. Many marketing and advertising agencies see this trend and are incorporating these compelling images into their use in social media and web design.

To check out some awesome cinemographs, visit

4. Storytelling – Once Upon a Time….

a. One way to portray content is through the unique style of storytelling when designing a web site. Storytelling can be very effective in marketing as long as it is done properly. The key is keeping the user engaged and making them want to explore the depths of the web site. Many designers use long-scrolling along with scrolling effects to tell a story as the user moves down the page. Others, like this great example by Nike, are great ways to really engage the user to make them feel like they have control on how it all plays out.

5. Responsive Design – The Mobile Age

a. Responsive Design has been a trend for a while now. People are finding themselves using mobile devices like smart phones and tablets for their internet browsing more than they use laptops and desktops. The introduction of the Apple Watch and new arising technology of virtual reality goggles and Google Glass will introduce a new demand for more user interface layouts and screen sizes that designers will have to accommodate. One example of these wearables is Wove – a flexible touch display watch. These many different wearables will unleash a demand for specific device styling to keep usability fluid.

6. Rich Animations

a. The use of animation is becoming very popular in multiple ways. Designers are incorporating small scale animations that require no user input into minimalistic, flat design. Loading animations are being created for users to enjoy themselves for a brief moment while content loads. Multiple kinds of user effects are being used to control animation like scrolling effects, galleries/slideshows, hover effects, and pop-up notifications.

b. Videos are becoming popular as full page background images. This is tricky for designers though, as video backgrounds can become disturbing when it comes to good readability. is a sweet website that shows animated backgrounds and also produces great user interaction and is set up like a storyboard.