CX Insights

Our 2016 Digital Design Predictions

3 min read

With the end of the year just around the corner, we wanted to look ahead to some upcoming trends in design for next year.

We spoke with our visual designer, Marco Ferraz, to find out what’s on his wishlist for 2016. What do you hope to see in design next year?


Typography - Usabilla

I’d love to see more (and better) typefaces for screen next year. This is one of the most important elements of any website. A good typeface, correct vertical rhythm and hierarchy, and bang! Almost all the work is done!

Flat Design Will Live On

Material Design - Usabilla

Despite what a lot of people are saying, I don’t think flat design will die anytime soon. It will be firmly back in the spotlight in 2016 with its new younger brother: Material Design.

Icons and Illustrations

Zendesk Illustration - Usabilla

This new minimal, slick way of using illustrations on websites is here to stay. The phenomenon that I call the Dropbox effect is regularly seen among SaaS companies like MessageBird, Atlassian, Zendesk etc.

In many cases icons are replacing images altogether, due to the control you have building a vector illustration. Its easier to create a custom vector graphic than to build high quality image that represents your product.

In 2016, I wish for more illustrations but more importantly, I would like to see more illustration styles (maybe pure drawing) not only the minimal style that has been so popular this year.

Micro Animations and Interactions

Microinteractions - Usabilla

Details matter and make all the difference; micro animations and micro interactions will really take off next year.

The magic is in the details and we all know that magic enhances experiences. I really hope we see more awesome stuff happening in this specific field.

Storytelling, Microsites & One-Pagers

Storytelling - Usabilla

Users love to scroll. Designers will capitalize on this to trigger cool animations while scrolling, and present small chapters of content all in one page. Storytelling is gaining momentum; get ready, we will see much more of it next year. Microsites and one-pagers are perfect to launch campaigns, new products or even just to present data result in a cool way! This opens up great opportunities for designers to explore small interactions and animation. Parallax scrolling and gamification will make users engage in 2016. Check out these awesome examples of how storytelling and interaction can create a unique and engaging experience:  BBQ CulturesSilenza and Cinderella Past Midnight.

More White Space

Apple Macbook whitespace - Usabilla

Yes, we need more of it! Screens are getting bigger across all industries, which means layouts can finally breathe even more! White space will replace lines and dividers creating less visual noise and distractions.

Goodbye GIFs, Hello Cinemagraphs!

Cinemagraph - Usabilla

Next year, I would love to see designers making more use of HD cinemagraphs. These really will bring another dimension to the web – better motion and better quality. Videos on loop will continue to be used (just because they’re awesome) but these HD cinemagraphs should take center stage, we can’t wait to see how they will be used in 2016.

More Freedom in Layouts

More freedom with layouts - Usabilla

The conventional, organised grid layout is going to be less obvious to users; layouts are going to look bold and more graphic. Different sizes and shapes will invade the internet. I expect to see something really interesting born out of the conventional! Depth added to design and animations/interactions that actually show that new dimension.

Bold Colors

Spotify Bold Colours - Usabilla

Bold layouts require bold colors, it may even be the return of gradients, maybe with an update. Spotify’s new image is a good example: the colors are bold, vibrant and they even use an image on which they apply an interesting blending mode effect.

3D Touch

Apple iPhone 3D touch - Usabilla

Will this be the start of a new interaction pattern? Will we design interaction for the right click on mouse and force touch on mobile? Maybe it’s still too soon to rely on this kind of technology…will it pick up? We hope so.

Do you have any design predictions or wishes for the coming year? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @usabilla

Lana Miller
Content & Brand Manager at Usabilla.