What will be the biggest Web design trends of 2016?
1. Artificial intelligence will visibly penetrate the Web on our communication platforms. Designers will make them human.
Surfacing contextual information has made great progress over the past few years. Now, artificial intelligence will help you take action. This is a design challenge because ironically, we want our AI to feel so much like you’re talking to a human that you won’t even notice the difference. We’re seeing it on mobile already, but the real leverage is happening in one of the most traditional Web mediums — email.
2. Flexbox will redefine responsive grid systems.
Flexbox is now supported by all modern browsers, which means cleaner CSS, faster Websites, and fewer layout hacks just to get something to be vertically aligned. Flexbox is responds to browser window changes naturally, rendering popular responsive grid systems unnecessary.
3. Designers will prototype in the browser in order to focus on interactions instead of layout.
The limitations of prototyping tools have always been that it’s a pain-in-the-ass to test with real, dynamic content. There are countless Sketch/Adobe plugins to address this. It is becoming the norm for designers to have coding skills (either they come from an engineering background or they picked it up), making it more natural to open up inspector to overwrite live pages or throw together a quick jQuery prototype from scratch.
Allowing designers to focus on interactions rather than moving around content and information will allow designers to think about Web in a fundamentally different way. We’ll start seeing many more ways to interact at a micro-level on what we have traditionally expected to be static Web pages.
4. Bolder use of colors.
Web apps and sites have tended to stick with “Web-safe” colors. Blues, muted colors, red for alerts and notifications. In 2016, I predict we will see a lot more variation in brand colors, leaning towards saturated and vibrant colors. So much so that they look neon or fluorescent.
5. Accessible data for making data-driven design decisions.
Design now has a seat at the business table, so they need to start talking in business speak. That means metrics, click-through-rates, conversions, channels, analytics. If the designer works in an in-house team, they likely will have hands-on access to these business intelligence tools. If they don’t, companies like Apropose are working to make big data accessible to designers (Note: I don’t think the current iteration of Apropose is there yet, but they are one of the leading teams founded with that goal in mind).