With 2015 now firmly in the rearview mirror, we can certainly discuss what shaped the past year’s WordPress website design trends. At WireTree, we have seen web design evolve from simple GIFs to the now popular responsive themes. But the past year has been a defining year in the digital realm with many industry-shaping trends coming to the fore.
So, which trends made it big and which moved to obscurity? We set out to unravel this mystery by scurrying through our portfolio, the top 200 websites, popular WordPress blogs, and many more authoritative sources. It was exhausting to find meaningful insights from piles of data but we made sure the arcane nature of 2015’s best web design trends were revealed in full glory.
Without further adieu, let’s get started with the list.
Parallax has pervaded into the web design like water in a sponge. Now almost every website uses it and the results aren’t always spectacular. It seems this three-year-old trend is now overdone. Without sounding like we are giving it an obituary, we certainly found a lot of websites overdoing it. This is a bad design that is plain distracting and gimmicky.
Often these parallax effects just take over the site’s content with exploding images, wrong transitions, and uneven corners. Users are left with nothing but fancy effects! Older devices reel under pressure to load a heavy parallax effect. Add a stock video to the website and you lose the visitor within seconds.
2016 will certainly see fewer websites use this feature. We recommend using subtle transition effects with smooth scrolling. Avoid heavy and goofy design with overloaded transitions. Polish the design with a refined sensibility.
Chasing Mobile Users
We said it in 2015 and we will repeat in 2016 – chase mobile users with more ferocity. A WordPress theme that doesn’t serve mobile consumers is useless. There’s no point in being insular. Non-responsive websites experience fewer visitors.
But that does not mean you should abandon desktop users just yet. There are simply so many features that cannot be replicated on mobile. It’s still a huge market. The relevant point to note here is to be mobile-first. Make sure the design layout is well received by mobile users. Chase mobile users depending on your customer base.
Infographics are Dead
Go back two years and web designers would have laughed at me. Yes, they were that cool back in 2014. But by the end of the year, they started to lose prominence. Getting data served in a visual platter with easy to understand information was quite a catch!
Even an infant designer could design these things. And that’s exactly what led to its demise. The histrionic approach to infographics deteriorated quality. Now, the visual part is often baroque cartoon graphics and futile information. It’s best to leave them all together in 2016.
Seems like it is here to stay for long. A tidal wave of eCommerce websites has created a perfect online shopping experience. The constant strife among big players ensures that end-users are the winners.
If you are selling on your website, you now have the option to start with a minimal budget. Enter plugins like Woocommerce that turn simple websites into online shops. Real-world shops now simply install the plugins and make the transition to digital storefronts. Besides the big boys, 2015 saw a surge in mom-and-pop shops move online to serve local customers.
In fact, plugins consolidated their strong position with SEO Yoast, Canada Post Shipping Plugin, Mail Chimp, etc all making big waves. Expect this trend to go big this year as well.
Long Pages to Scroll
Users love to scroll down. It’s even better than clicking! Long scrolling pages help digest content faster and help in social sharing. Instead of a sectionalized content, long pages are a hit among readers. If you have a good story to tell, better do it in a single page.
Add appropriate depth to the content with relevant images and attention to detail in the content. Provide everything the user needs in one place. An added advantage is that it helps in search engine optimization. Even new websites are using this approach these days to get top rank in Google and other search engines. So, let them scroll!
When you have a ton of content to be displayed on a webpage, nothing beats a grid layout. The asymmetrical nature makes scrolling a breeze. The idea is to let the user scroll downwards and choose the most relevant content at a glance. Load times and page speed can vary depending on the data fed to the page.
Ensure that the grid is well-spaced, loads quickly and has loads of data to display.
Hamburger is something so close to our hearts, it can never go into oblivion. So, when the Hamburger menu made it to the web design trends, it wasn’t a surprise that it quickly became popular. Our designers love implementing this little menu option. It adds to the eclectic scheme of things! Hamburger menu helps reign in the visual focus of the user which otherwise is scattered on the webpage trying to find a common point. Emphasis on content is also increased since navigation is hidden beautifully.
The key is to use this to maximum potential. Using it solely to hide navigation without any emphasis on theme integration is pointless. Instead of a guile attempt to change user focus, designers should find ways to blend it into the theme.
The Internet moves scarily fast. No wonder web design trends move to grave sooner than expected. It requires an exigent approach to stay updated. I hope you make notes of these trends and try to tailor them into your web design trends to remain competitive.