Website design and development is a constantly evolving industry; at its core, we strive for a website that delivers a multitude of features while being easy to use and looking great. Even though there are many tools available to us to track data, a lot of this is still subjective, which goes a long way to explaining why fads come and go.
Here’s what we think will be different in 2016.
2016 won’t be a year of revolution in web design but instead something of a civil war (hey, even Marvel has one of those this year). While we’ve already started to see the backlash of cookie cutter websites and flat design on the web in 2015 this is only going to heat up further as people try to reconcile the opposing ideals of providing new and innovative design layouts whilst building upon widely understood conventions with which users are more familiar. Include a movement back from pure flat design and we have the battlefield for an industry yet again attempting to course correct from an over-reliance on a few narrow design trends.
Within front-end development we’ll see flexbox become more widely adopted as developers use Microsoft’s ending of support for anything below IE11 (except in a few edge cases) as a reason to drop support for many of these aging browsers. Other technologies will also be ‘unlocked’ which will promote the use of SVG further and I hope we see many more brands adopting SVG on their websites, even if it’s just for their logo.
As has happened over the last few years, responsive/mobile friendly design will continue to grow, becoming the norm on all websites. Along with this, and in no small part due to Apple’s lack of support, Flash will see further decline as more animations will be created in HTML5/JS/CSS.
Elegantly simple services such as Google fonts will place more emphasis on font in design providing a much more pleasant, and consistent, user experience.
Micro-interactions on websites will inform users in real time of any potential issues, errors, or successes. These have become more common recently and we can only see their usage increase as they help users know, for example, if they have typed in a strong password or missed out the ‘@’ in their email address.
As the take-up of superfast broadband continues to rise, and 4G phones ubiquitous, full screen video backgrounds as well as eye catching photography will prevail, as the brain processes visual information far quicker than text and movement maintains user focus and attention.
Programmers will see a rise in simple documentation, pre-built SDKs that actually work, and code examples you can slot straight into your site for a quick, seamless integration. Payment is a big area which hasn’t yet been fully explored, but that is starting to change. Stripe made huge leaps forward in streamlined simplicity, from which PayPal have taken much inspiration with their release of Braintree.
Security will become even more important in 2016. Google require you to have a fully secure checkout if you are advertising on Google Shopping, even when payment takes place off-site. Major security breaches like the TalkTalk hack in 2015 have made the general public more aware of security than ever, leading to many users updating their passwords and security settings.
Live chat’s popularity will continue to increase as many people prefer to get instant answers that email can’t provide, but don’t want to phone. This is also a much cheaper option for businesses as their operators can engage with multiple customers at the same time.
Finally, and most importantly, 2016 will (hopefully) see the death of the horrific buzzword “on-boarding”.