Web Design Trends That Ruled the Roost in 2016 (And What’s To Come In 2017)

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lmost 40% of people in the world have an internet connection in 2016. To put that in perspective, it was only 1% in 1995. In fact, more than 80% of Americans have internet access. As such, the debate is no longer about whether it pays to have a website; instead, the focus has now shifted to what a website should do.

Eventually, every business wants to see more conversions from its website. To do that, it’s important to understand the prevailing trends and how users are responding to them. As someone who deals in web design day in and day out while running a company that designs user experiences, I’m offering my two cents on what will stay — and what will make its way out — in 2017.

Flat Design Is Here To Stay

Google introduced material designing, which relies on grid-based layouts, effects such as lighting and shadows to create depth, as well as responsive transitions. As smartphones continue to become ubiquitous and more aesthetically pleasing, users will expect the same from websites — especially from mobile design. Material designing allows for a more comfortable, confident experience that can lead to more conversions. Material design takes inspiration from ink and paper to create visual cues that are more realistic in nature. There is a definite hierarchy amongst design elements that include space, color, typography, grids and imagery.

Micro-Interactions Are Trending

The whole idea of modern web design is to somehow keep users engaged so they spend more time on your platform. That’s where interaction design and micro-interactions come in. Micro-interactions are interactions within an interaction. For instance, visiting a social networking site is a macro-interaction; logging in to your account on the website is a micro-interaction. The best example of a micro-interaction is Facebook’s launch of new reactions. You can now do more than just “like” posts on Facebook.

For micro-interactions to be successful, it’s important that they aren’t too cumbersome. They should not hinder the browsing experience. Apple’s foray into force touch and other gestures with the iPhone has opened up several possibilities for engaging user experience design. Other smartphone companies are expected to follow suit, which means micro-interactions could be a game changer.

For instance, as force touch becomes ubiquitous, UX designers could build apps and games that feel more realistic. Consider an app that lets you use your smartphone to control the thermostat at your place. Force touch can be used to make it seem like you are turning knobs on an actual thermostat. That’s just one creative possibility to build micro-interactions that elevate the overall experience.