In the previous articles we discussed top benefits of responsive web design, statistics and best practises, this time I want to focus your attention on the current responsive web design trends. The field of web design is always changing with new tools, workflows, and best practices for constructing usable layouts. Nowadays everything is changing very fast and it is extremely important to stay updated with top trends of the year!
TOP 14 RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN TRENDS
1. LESS IS MORE
Many SEO and website experts suggest that “bigger is better.” Their argument is that a site with lots of pages and a lot of content has the best chance to rank for a wide variety of keywords. The problem with creating dense website is that it can be confusing for people to use and it can be difficult to keep it updated; outdated pages and content are often left neglected, creating sites that are no longer relevant.
When you think about loading the content on smaller devices, you can imagine the usability nightmare that ensues. Now, people prefer clean and clear websites, where they could find information easy and fast. Less words, more visuals!
2. CARD LAYOUTS
One of the most popular responsive web design trends today is the “card layout.” Popularised by Pinterest, the card layout has become a widely used approach to present easily scannable chunks of content on a website. Card-based design is a simple way to organize information into the pattern of a grid. Pieces of information are organized into “cards” in a visually appealing way, usually with a distinctive image or block of text. Card-based design is important for responsive web design because of its ability to rearrange its structure and content according to the user’s screen size.
3. SPLIT – SCREEN LAYOUTS
In most cases split – screen layout falls into vertical panels for smaller devices, making it a good fit for responsive frameworks. Split -screens is an expansion of the card concept, instead of many containers, the screen is divided into two content containers, each associated with a user action.
4. HIDDEN MENUS
UI pattern that has been popular for many years is the hidden menu. From drop-down, fly-out menus and “hamburger icon” to navigation drawers, hidden menus are used to save space while still making those menu option available to a site’s visitors. This is another technique that has evolved from responsive web design, saving precious screen space and working on any screen size. This design pattern is also now being incorporated in entire websites and not just in devices with smaller viewports. Here, the main menus are hidden and become visible only when the user clicks on an appropriate icon, for example a hamburger icon.
Hidden menus have become a trend in an effort to keep things simple. As minimal home pages become more popular, there is a trend in which users must click a menu icon to reveal the website’s navigation options.
Website Xander is a great example of hidden menus. We expect to see more hidden main menus in 2016.
5. FLYOUT/SLIDEOUT MENUS
Another menu option is a slideout menu which also became very popular. After this mobile devices and responsive web design boom, designers are striving to make every aspect of a website look great, regardless the size and type of device. Navigation design became crucial to provide a better user experience. Now, designers use a lot Flyout/ slideout app-like menus in responsive web design to save up a lot of screen space as in desktop as in tablet and smartphone version.
6. SIMPLISTIC WEB DESIGNS
Use of too many visual and interactive elements can overwhelm visitors. In 2016, web designers will be focusing more on minimalist design, removing all the distracting non-essential design elements. This involves making smart decisions about which elements to keep and which to leave out and creating a beautiful balance between typography, visuals, color palette and white space.
Many brands and designers work on creating clean, simple and aesthetically pleasing website designs that stand out among the content-heavy and element-crowded websites.
7. VERY LARGE TYPOGRAPHY
Bold colors and rich typography. Typography has been an important element in web designing in 2015 and will continue to do so in 2016 as well. In fact headings and typography are expected to become even larger because they catch the attention of the visitors immediately.
8. HIGH – QUALITY CUSTOM PHOTOGRAPHY
The quality of photos is very crucial for the success of a website. The right photos make a great difference to your website’s look and effectiveness. Creating a new website, you have a choice of using stock photography or using custom photographs shot by a professional photographer, of course it is much better to use your own quality pictures with your brand identity touch. Even though stock imagery is of high quality and it offers a wide choice of pictures and is comparatively cheap, it is difficult to find a picture that would 100% satisfy your needs and represent what you want to communicate to your target. If you hire a professional photographer, you will get high-quality and unique photos, which would be exactly like you wanted.
9. VECTOR GRAPHICS
It’s getting more and more popular to use vector graphics instead of raster graphics. The difference is that scalable vector graphics use points on a vector map to build a certain design, whereas a raster graphic is just a plain old image using pixels on a bitmap.The major benefit of scalable graphics is that they can be resized without losing visual quality. The same icon graphic may appear on both a small mobile phone screen and a large desktop screen. Vector graphics are crucial for responsive web design.
10. LONGER SCROLLING
Rapid rise of mobile has shifted the web design trend from clicking to scrolling so that users can see all the content in one page. Users find it easy to scroll rather than keep clicking on links to find relevant information. Vertical scrolling is mostly used to display content on one-page websites and on landing pages but sometimes it can even be seen on product or about us pages. Social networks use endless scrolling in which content keeps loading when a user scrolls through the page.
11. IMPROVED WORKFLOW
Not all trends can be seen visually on the final website. Some trends are behind the scene and an improved responsive workflow is one of those trends. One important change many designers are using is responsive prototyping. Instead of static design comps that show different possible breakpoints in a potential design, responsive prototyping tools, like UXPin create more authentic experiences that can be deployed quickly and easily. These prototypes will better convey interactions that will allow you to get more informed feedback and to make better overall UI design decisions.
12. FIXED WIDTH CENTERED LAYOUT
Early websites had center aligned fixed width layouts showing distinctive borders. Later on designers began to use width: 100% causing the website to stretch the entire width of the browser window irrespective of the screen size or resolution. However fixed width centered layouts are once again became a trend nowadays. Centered layouts make users pay attention to the center of the page where content is located, so many designers are now using max-width to display the content in the center of a wider viewport, resizing automatically for smaller screen widths.
13. PERFORMANCE AND SPEED
To offer a better user experience, designers and developers are putting more emphasis on keeping their websites light so that they consume less bandwidth and load faster even on mobiles and tablets as well as on slow networks. The rise of responsive web design trends has put more focus on these concerns. Site performance is an important factor for user experience and SEO rankings. There is no doubt that design trends that contribute in improving site performance and loading time will be more popular in 2016.
14. STORY TELLING
Stories convey ideas and share information. Stories activate parts of your brain that simple facts and figures do not. On websites, storytelling creates more engaging and memorable website content. The art of storytelling has become the foundation of the designs. Every good story has a hero and you need to write a story that way that your targets would see themselves in the situation described. And in every story there is also a bad guy or a problem that needs to be solved. Describe your user and the problem, then craft a story that helps everyone better understand the journey. Don’t forget about the length and ensure line lengths for your story are optimal for both large and small screens. Lines that are too long are hard to follow, while line that are too short break the flow of normal reading. Strive for a range between six to 75 characters per line and adjust font sizes as needed to achieve the best results.
Use visuals where appropriate to accentuate the story, but be mindful of file sizes and ensure quick downloads on all devices.
Make it easy for readers to share the story with others. Consider placing sharing functionality at both the top and bottom of the content so that readers do not need to scroll the whole page to press the share button. This is especially helpful on small screen layouts that require substantial scrolling. Also make sure that these buttons can be easily used on touch screens.
Humans created visual language before the alphabet. Cave paintings were man’s earliest form of communication. The drawings explained issues and how to solve problems. Cave drawings told topical news stories. They warned of potential danger. They shared tips for survival. Cave drawings are visualized data.
Everything can’t be communicated in bullet points or flash animations. You need to create interesting stories with visuals and present them in an interactive and appealing way. Beautiful interactive visual stories appeal more to the viewers and increase user engagement.
The perfect blend of all these responsive web design trends will help you to increase engagement, sales and brand value.