2015 was a year of consolidation for the internet. Trends such as Google’s Material Design rapidly matured going from an internal design system to wide adoption as well as live streaming using apps like Periscope. As we look to planning our sites for 2016, here are some notable trends that could make primetime.
1. Mobile Finally Becomes First
Since 2014, the number of mobile users has surpassed the number of computer/notebook globally. While responsive design is already a priority for many sites, 2016 could be the year where the design approach is turned on its head.
Instead of designing for a computer first and then deciding how content degrades to smaller screens, a mobile first concept first designs the core experience specifically for the mobile, and then adds flourishes for the big screen. In fact, we could even see the superior experiences be on the mobile with the additional input sensors like the gyroscopes implemented into the user experience.
2. SEO vs Social
As content planners get more sophisticated, we expect them to take a more critical approach to delineating their content, deploying the higher impact content optimized for social media and the evergreen content taking a more measured approach to crafting for search engines.
3. Longform Content
For awhile, it seemed like our attention spans were getting shorter and shorter. Experts called for content that was shorter and shorter and in many cases cited Twitter as the reason why long form content is dead.
However, the longer form content has not only refused to go down but has since enjoyed a resurgence, with hour long podcasts and 20 minute YouTube videos carving an ever increasing audience of dedicated followers.
4. Alternative Publishing Options
The appetite for longer form content is also helped by the technology that enables more people to create it more easily than ever before. Sites like Medium make it simple to focus on the content, and each release of WordPress also gives you great options to write longer content on your site.
5. Some UI Patterns Will Have Mass Adoption
Another trend we see taking shape in 2016 is for some UI patterns to become internet shorthand. Here are a couple to look out for:
- Hover animations: these effects not only give a more intuitive feel about a content block but also gives an opportunity for interaction to give more information or be a bit playful.
- Hidden navigation menus: Like it or hate it, the hamburger menu remains a popular way to hide a menu, preventing it from taking up precious screen real estate. On mobile especially, we see navigation menus going off-screen and being called up only when necessary.