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  1. More brands adopt a mobile-first approach

As the name suggests, mobile-first design is the process of designing for mobile (or smallest screened devices) first, then working up to the bigger ones.

The mobile-first approach to design isn’t new to 2016 and has been around for a few years now, but with mobile-phones now officially named as the primary devices used for browsing the web, especially here in the UK, more companies are realising the importance of having a site that effectively delivers content on a smaller screen, and are rushing to get onboard.

  1. Wider implementation of responsive design

We know what you’re thinking – first mobile first, and now responsive design? Neither of these are new for 2016!

Although responsive design is also something which has been around for a few years, what we predict to see over the coming year is an even bigger uptake in the number of brands, both big and small, who are building responsive-based sites.

  1. Widespread utilisation of rapid prototyping tools

Although not a design trend per se, rapid prototyping tools are definitely one of the most useful breakthroughs to hit the web design world over the last year or so and are a must-have tool for any web, UI and UX designer.

  1. UI Patterns and Design Frameworks

The mobile-first and responsive approach to web design, as well as the increasing popularity of WordPress and pre-designed themes, has had a somewhat noticeable impact how many desktop sites work and look today.

What we’re starting to see more and more are both UI and UX patterns emerge across the web where many sites look and function in very similar ways as they learn from one another to hone their user’s experience.

  1. Bespoke Illustrations

Illustrations are fantastic, versatile mediums for creating visuals which are playful and friendly and add an element of fun to a site. Talented illustrators are able to create illustrations which are full of personality and tailored to match the tone of the brand, something which brands will be striving for more than an ever in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

With a unique style of illustration established, brands are then able to roll that out through their entire identity, for use in large header images, custom iconography and beautifully animated visuals.

  1. Big, bold, beautiful typography

Typography is also a powerful visual medium, able to create personality, evoke emotion and set tone. As device resolutions become sharper and type becomes more easy to read on-screen, brand’s will be looking to push the limits of typography even further to appeal to their users.

Expect to see an increase in over-sized and full screen type which breaks the grid, beautiful, unique, hand-rendered typography and lots of dynamic text and image layering working in tandem with parallax scrolling.

  1. Authentic photography

The big one – photography. Photography will always be a main-stay within web design and design in general, but as mentioned before, people desire authenticity from the brands they use and they know a canned, stock photo when they see one.

Brands and designers will now be thinking more carefully about the imagery they use on site, hiring professional photographers to take their shots which frame them in the way they want to be seen.

Unfortunately, it’ll probably be a long time before much of the cheesy and cringe-inducing stock photography completely disappears, but expect to see it start falling off a little more quickly this year.

  1. Animations advance

As browsers and languages become more advanced, we’re seeing more websites move away from the use of static imagery and finding new ways to engage users and be unique in their approach to communicating.

Story-telling and personality is something more and more brands are working on in hopes to capture their user’s attention, and animation, in part thanks to developments with HTML5, CSS and jQuery, is starting to play a bigger role in this.

  1. Video becomes king

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but a video does that tenfold. Much like with animation, a moving image on a page instantly captures the users attention, drawing them in so brands are able to get across their carefully constructed narrative and message.

Video, although by no means new, is long-established and versatile medium, useful for story-telling, marketing and vlogging alike, and has several advantages over traditional photography. Where static imagery is flat and motionless, video is altogether more dynamic, using sound and movement to appeal to the senses and hold attention for longer.

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