Web Design Trends and Predictions for 2016


Well, it is this time of the year when web designers are starting to ponder about what is going to be trendy and prevailing in web design in the year to come.

Every year, the design industry is changing and this change is usually triggered by technological advances and human interaction.

Not surprisingly, the latest couple of years seemed to shape up the web design industry in a way that creative web professionals had to be really quick in adapting their work to the trends and transformations that occurred very rapidly.

Businesses on the other hand are a bit slow in adapting their online presence to the latest developments such as responsive design.

For instance, BuzzFeed are still having two versions of their website – one for desktop users and one for mobile ones.

I guess, there is nothing wrong with that as Matt Basta (Performance Engineer at Box) suggests on Quora:

Simply put, having a separate site that’s optimized for mobile will be more performant because you have a set of code that’s purpose-built for each particular experience rather than one big piece of code that’s generalized for everything. At Buzzfeed’s scale, that’s a big deal.

But not all of the businesses are opposing to the changes, there are many websites who welcomed the responsive design and quickly positioned themselves in the 82% of sites that use responsive design in 2015 (although author Bryson Meunier feels that this number is greatly exaggerated).

It appears that after Mobilegeddon responsive design is no longer a trend but a way to create a website or web app. So after [hopefully] surviving it, web designers are trying to find what is going to be popular in the coming 2016. Let’s have a look what are the predictions of some hard-working web professionals.

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Trends and Predictions for 2016

Bold Colours

It will be great if designers become a bit bolder in terms of colours. Playing it “web-safe” is a bit boring. Maybe it is time to start using some vivid and bright colours. Sanny Lin, a designer at Bloc, predicts that in 2016 we will see a great deal of variations in brand colours with a trend to saturated and brand colours.
She also gives Medium as an example of a brand that chose a very unnatural green for their logo.

Flexbox and responsive grid

Flexbox is regarded as a crucial player in the coming 2016 as it is now supported by all major browsers. Sanny Lin explains that using Flexbox will make the CSS cleaner, websites faster, and there will be a lot less layout hacks just to make something vertically aligned.

Flexbox responds to browser window changes naturally, rendering popular responsive grid system unnecessary.

Responsive Design of the Future with Flexbox

Die, die, my slider…

If you still are using slideshows/sliders (especially on your home page), just stop. Slideshows are becoming more and more redundant. Jeffrey Nolte, the founder of Moxie, suggests that the content is going to be more static and there will be less moving parts. He points out that nowadays users want quick and digestible content and designers and developers should think about how to deliver content that is direct with no distractions.


Ryan Ernst, a digital strategists at Use All Five, feels that 2016 is going to be very promising for web design. He thinks that illustrations are going to take over graphics and the minimalist era will come to an end which will allow websites to stand out in the coming 2016. Custom thoughtful illustrations incorporated cleverly into design will make the web stunning.


In 2015, web designers started paying more attention to the typography and make it the start of their websites. Ryan Ernst thinks that typography will become bolder and bigger. Unusual and brave choice will be made on the web in 2016.

Material Design? Seriously, again?

Material design by Google was regarded as a huge trend in 2015 but did it happen? Now, at the end of it, web professionals are again predicting that in 2016 it will be the biggest trend ever.
Ian Armstrong, a web designer from 1997, suggests that Material design was trending in late 2014. At this point, you can’t throw a stick for your dog without hitting a material design UI kit.

I guess we will see…

Ian also suggests that grids on demand will replace Bootstrap, Foundation, and UIKit. He points out that Susy 2 will be worth considering in 2016 and more designers will start using it.

“SUSY 2 takes a bit of time to wrap your head around, but once you get it, you are able to invoke grids on demand for elements that need them while sticking to your own lightweight design the rest of the time.”

Ian also gives Storefront. The Official WooCommerce Theme as a proof of that trend.

There is no way to tell which trends will be big and which ones will die in 2016. I guess we will see. The most important thing though is how to make the web design more intuitive and serving the user instead of frustrating it.

Apart from all the bells and whistles, the bottom line is to get from A to B quickly and it will be great if no web design or development creative decision is making it hard to do so.

If you tell a joke to friend do you share it for 10 minutes, explaining everything… or you tell it with a few sentences.. Web design should be as a joke – fun, quick, short and sweet. Bold and simple decisions should make it fun.

Any ideas about 2016 web design? Leave a comment below.

Thanks to Quora community

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2 Responses

  1. Skelly says:

    It’s amazing that Flexbox is taking so long to catch on. The other day I found a responsive grid framework (ie; Bootstrap) that is based totally on flexbox called http://flexboxgrid.com/ __ looks promising.

  2. Michael Thompson says:

    One more trend that will rule in web design is all these theme building frameworks like Genesis, Builder, HeadWay, TemplateToaster etc.

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