5 UX/UI Design Trends to Follow in 2016

Last year brought numerous design trends that changed not only our work, but the Internet community as well. Some of them we loved, others… well, not so much.

Let’s take a look at what we saw in 2015 that we hope to see more of in 2016.

Full Screen Video / Photography

Designers recognized the potential of full screen, visually appealing images often making them the first thing a visitor sees upon entering a website. Gorgeous HD hero images serve two main purposes; to wow the user and to present an overview of what the website or app is about. They are usually accompanied by a heading, a short “about us” description and some sort of call to action. Check out 30 Web Designs that Fully Embrace the Hero Image for some hero image inspiration.

Animations

There is no doubt that the importance of animation is increasing on both web and mobile. What I like about it is that it’s not a UI pattern. Despite making the lives of designers easier, UI patterns also make our work look more uniform and boring. Luckily, with animation this isn’t the case. There remains a great deal of variety in animation styles and applications thanks to a lack of standardization dictating what animations should look like. We often visit CodePen for inspiration because that’s where the code ninjas show off. And show off they do while still open sourcing the code so you can use it for free on your own website!

Nowadays almost every aspect of the web is animated: loaders, navigation and menus, hamburger menus, hovers, galleries and slideshows, scroll, page motion, background animation, etc.

Here at 12Rockets, we are huge fans of presenting animated prototypes to our clients when we design for mobile devices. Most often, we use InVision as our prototyping tool, but for more complex animations, Adobe AfterEffects and Photoshop are unbeatable. There are no words that can explain ideas better than gorgeously executed animations. You can find a beautiful collection of animated GIFs here.

Typography

Typography trends seem to be unstoppable. After Google Fonts was released in 2010, we watched as different typography trends exploded all over the web. This is excellent because, as those who’ve been working in design for more than a few years may remember, designing with Arial or Helvetica was nearly impossible. The number of beautiful, free typefaces is increasing from day to day, therefore I expect a continued explosion of typography trends in 2016.

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User Interactions

Designers spend a lot of time trying to attract the users’ attention, and what is even harder to achieve – to keep it afterwards. Small interactions that users have with a website or an app help tremendously in achieving this goal. Eames used to say: “The details are not the details. They make the design.” These little interactions – liking a tweet, turning WiFi on/off, scrolling, floating buttons, etc. – are often invisible to the user. Their subtlety makes an emotional difference that keeps the users’ attention and hopefully also their affection for the website or app.

At 12Rockets, we’re huge fans of these microinteractions (see the example from 12Rockets’ Dribbble below), as we like to call them. Just like with animations, I see enormous creative potential here, and hope to see them develop further in 2016.

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Stock photography

There is no way stock photography will disappear in 2016, but lets be honest- we all hope to see at least some of it gone. How many times have you seen generic business graphs, usually paired with a lady in a black blazer wearing a headset, that are completely meaningless on corporate websites? These images have been downloaded more than nine thousand times, as well as images of bulls eye, cute kids dressed as superheroes, transparent dry erase boards, random people portrayed as CEOs and so on.

My apologies to people portrayed in these pictures, but I hope I won’t see them in 2016. There are so many great photographers and illustrators out there who can represent your business ideas way better than random business people getting ready for a run. Choose your imagery wisely!

Where are you heading, gentleman? We hope to see you far away from our galaxy.

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Just like in other industries, trends are set by highly skilled professionals whom we call trendsetters for a reason. Most people simply follow these design trends without thinking about how to improve them, learn from them or how they themselves might contribute to the wider design community. This approach results in too many similar ideas recycled all over the place. Do not get me wrong, I think 2015 brought some highly impressive changes, but I also believe it’s our professional duty to remain critical and faithful to what we believe is right. The reason I’m emphasizing this point so much is because we want to make a clear distinction between influencers and followers. Design, just like any other area of life, consists of both, but it is up to you to pick which side you’ll be on.