Web Design Trends of 2016: The Good The Bad And The Ugly

It is always interesting to examine the trends that are coming to light each year, along with the trends that are continuing from previous years. These trends can represent creativity and innovation in web design. They can also highlight the fact that there are tendencies that should be embraced with good judgment and caution, and tendencies that are definitely better off left behind. Look at these good, bad, and ugly trends that are noteworthy in 2016.

Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling first began to trend back in 2014. However, it bears mentioning here because it remains a go-to technique for many web designers. Parallax scrolling is simply the result of causing the background to move at a slower rate of speed than the foreground when visitors scroll through a website. This gives pages a three-dimensional look and feel. When designers employ this technique with a bit of subtlety and good judgment along with a great story, the results can be great. Unfortunately, also this trend has been the victim of too many heavy-handed designers.

Hamburger Menus Everywhere


When designers began using the hamburger menu, it was often employed on mobile websites as a way to hide navigation options that weren’t necessarily used very frequently. These options were placed under the hamburger menu so that more pressing options could be placed in the front and in the center. Today, though, the hamburger menu is making more appearances on standard desktop websites than ever before. Web designers are also choosing to hide more options behind their hamburger menus than ever. This technique can help create very beautiful web pages that aren’t cluttered with a lot of navigational text. This can help to make a very impactful front page for example with a compelling background image and text. The drawback to this trend, unfortunately, is that many users simply don’t know what a hamburger menu is, and they don’t know to click on it. As a result, they may think that an option they need simply does not exist.

Using Card Layouts

There are many benefits to using card layouts in web design. First, they work amazingly well on any size of the screen. A card is an onscreen element that contains images and text that are related to a single topic or action. Those cards have a great variety of shape and colors. Users see the card that contains the information that they want, and they click on that card. If you are a Pinterest user, you have experienced card layouts. You click the card (pin) that you are interested in and it comes to the forefront. Cards are a natural choice when it comes to responsive design. After all, when the screen size changes the cards simply get rearranged. It’s also easy for a designer to organize and prioritize cards. This kind of layout is also very intuitive for users, which is probably the most appealing of all.

Video Backgrounds

Video backgrounds are a natural continuation of the web design trend of including a large background image behind the content of a web page. While this web design trend was and is very visually appealing, as long as the image and content work together, it’s not very engaging. This is why web designers are frequently using this design trend, but upgrading it by using a background video instead of an image. These backgrounds are usually looping animations or videos that play in the background. They can be used to showcase products, or to add moving images that can help visitors become more engaged in the story that is being told through the content on the web page.

A New Focus on Typography

Typography has always been an important consideration for web designers. How can it not be? Choosing the right typography can have visual impact and grab attention just as images do. Choosing the wrong typography can make a website literally, unreadable. Because of this, web designers know to take typography into consideration in web design. In the past year or so. However, typography has really become a talking point among designers. Instead of viewing typography in a utilitarian manner:

?    Is it readable?

?    Does it look professional?

?    Does it scale well on various screen sizes?

Designers are now looking at typography with an artist’s eye. They are no longer happy with simply picking out a font that is available as a default option for countless other people. Instead, they are seeking out custom fonts that truly work with their designs. This might include hand drawn fonts, or on the other end of the spectrum, fonts that are clean and sparse. The correctly chosen font will make your blog look great and will generate more shares. There are even websites that aimed to help people to find resources for typography that they have found and want to use themselves. Of course, there are also naysayers who believe that complex typography is overused and can add too much complexity to a web page.

Blur And Scale


You visit a website. The text on the page is almost immediately clear, but the background image is a blur. Then, as the page finishes loading, the image becomes clearer, and not quite as noticeably larger. This design technique has been described as blur and scale by web designers at Facebook. There a couple of reasons why web designers like this technique. First, it can be a great, yet simple alternative to the standard page load animation. In addition to this, it keeps users focused on the screen while the page loads and the image comes into focus. Finally, blur and scale give the text, which often contains the most important message on the page, a chance to shine while the image is temporarily obscured in the background.

Obnoxious Squeeze Pages And Popups

This trend isn’t new for 2016, but it bears mentioning because it remains a popular technique. Squeeze pages and popups are commonly used to get website visitors to sign up for something above and beyond what they came for. For example, you might click into an article all about web design trends only to see a pop-up asking you to download a white paper on web design techniques that are sure to boost conversions. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. Somebody offering up useful content should have the right to draw you closer to purchasing their product or service, shouldn’t they? The problem comes when you are simply not interested in that information, but there’s no way to simply say “no thanks” or “not interested”. Instead, you have to acknowledge being a big, stupid jerk who does not care about customers, about getting more leads, or about finding fame and fortune via some social media MLM scheme. Then, there are the pages that simply provide no way to exit. This may not be a new trend, but it remains obnoxiously commonplace. Maybe, by highlighting its awfulness, this trend can finally be eradicated.

Carousels on The Main Page

Web designers use carousels because they are a great way to include a lot of great, visual information on a web page without taking up too much space. There are just a few problems with this trend. First, everybody is using them. Not only that, many designers are using them in really spammy and nefarious ways. If you’ve ever been on a page using a carousel and been presented with more than one navigational arrow and struggled to determine which would take you to the next slide vs. which would navigate you to some spam page. The result of this is that when people see a carousel, especially one, that appears on the main page (essentially their formal introduction to a brand), their natural reaction is to think “warning! Click bait!” Then, they bounce. Not only that, carousels can cause both performance and SEO problems.