Web design is constantly evolving and this is especially true when it comes to WordPress. So WordPress has naturally become a source of web design trends as more and more of the web takes advantage of the popular and easy to use framework.
In this post we’ll get into what we think will (continue to) be the biggest WordPress and web design trends of 2016. You’ve probably seen many of these before, but without further ado, let’s dig in!
Surely you’ve heard of Material Design by now. Google introduced this standardized design concept recently and it’s definitely a trend to keep your eye on as the year progresses. To what exactly is Material Design? It’s Google’s own set of recommended colors, icons, typography, UI, layouts, navigation, grids, lists, sliders, buttons, menus, tabs, tooltips, image loading, scrolling, gestures and so much more.
(Almost) Flat Design & A Grid Layout
Two of the biggest takeaways from Material Design are the continuation of flat web designs with the added twist of shadows to create dimension, plus an easy to read grid layout. The focus of Material Design really is on readability for your visitors and a great example of this can be found in the Rare Material Design Blog.
This theme uses many of not all of the recommendations from Google. Standard default colors, simple shadows, lovely little buttons, descriptive images and more. Just take a look for yourself – you’re sure to fall in love.
Imagery That Makes An Impact
Another big trend that is somewhat of a carryover from 2015 is big imagery. Big in the sense of impact and actual size. Hero images are definitely still a thing and you’ll find them on just about every freelance or web design agency. Parallax is everywhere. And with so many new and fantastic sources of free stock photos (like Pixabay and Unsplash) there’s no question why so many people have joined in on this trend.
Images > Text
Images are important. In many situation a picture isn’t just worth a thousand words, it makes words completely unnecessary. And for many businesses pictures a crucial part of their online presence. Restaurants for example have pretty much always relied heavily on photography and with the trend of impactful imagery it’s made foodie websites bigger, better and more tasty. Just take a look at Plate.
This lovey restaurant WordPress theme uses big, bold images that are perfect for making your clientele hungry and ready to make a reservation. Plus the theme is fully responsive so all those beautiful pictures you add will look great on every device.
Videos Instead of Lengthy Posts
The only thing better than an impactful image is a video, and they are everywhere. Videos are a great way to show your product in action, to introduce your team, to better explain your services or to simply say what you want to say on your blog. Plus there is a new wave of vlogging themes that have been dropping on many of the marketplaces.
One such theme is Moview which makes it easy to share your opinion, tutorials and more with your readers. In addition to WordPress’ native oembed functions this theme comes with added options for ratings, custom page layouts, bbPress & BuddyPress support and more.
The Rise of the Landing Page
Another trend we’ve seen is landing pages. Why build a massive site with a labyrinth of pages when you can simple create one amazing page to get higher conversions? While not perfect for everyone, single page sites are tailor made for freelancers, agencies and of course singular products or services.
Add Local Scroll For A Seamless User Experience
Along with having a single page as your entire website adding local scroll is key so readers can easily navigate to various sections without having to scroll for eternity. Luckily many themes include support for local scroll (and other landing-page-ish features), one of the best being Total.
No matter what type of landing page you want to create Total can handle it. Not does the theme come with a variety of single (and multi) page demos you can use to get a head start plus full local scroll support, but there are so many page builder elements and theme customization options you can literally create any layout you want. Add callouts, buttons, animated content and more all with this flexible and powerful WordPress theme.
Designers as Developers
Web design and web development have always been intermingled, and while previously you might hire an entire team of folks to build a new website for your business it’s become a new norm for your designer and your developer to be on in the some. Part of this is due to the wealth of free information on the web which had allowed for more and more people to become self-taught developers and for others to find awesome creative commons inspiration on sites like Dribbble and Behance.
But in addition to all the free stuffs on the web, the rise of premium page builders has really made development and design blend together seamlessly. If you’ve ever used WordPress (and let’s assume you have since you are on WPExplorer after all) you’ve probably encountered a few page builders in recent months.
CSS Hero is a fantastic plugin that enables users to literally point, click and edit any theme. This opens up a huge door for designers with limited CSS knowledge. To make changes to the appearance of your theme with CSS Hero you simply click on an element then use the editor to change colors with a color picker, choose new fonts from a dropdown, edit sizes with a toggle bar and more.
Another page builder you’ve certainly heard of before is the popular and powerful Visual Composer. With this you can design and develop without any experience (although if you are a veteran when it comes to either this plugin is sure to make your life a helluva lot easier). SImply install and use the included page elements plus styling options to create a website that is 100% unique.
Honorable Mention Design Fads
There are so many trends, it really is hard to keep on top of them all. However here are just a few more to look for as you’re browsing the web this year.
Hamburger & Hidden Menus
Simplified menus aren’t just for mobile anymore. Lots of sites are opting for the classic hamburger on desktops as well for a cleaner, minimal aesthetic. This is great if your site only has a handful of pages and the real focus is on the homepage like with the Noble theme (which has used both a hamburger and hidden sidebar menu).
Cards Instead of Tiles
Grid and masonry layout have been popular for quite some time, but when you combine a masonry of featured post images with text on top you get the all new “cards” design. Similar to what you see above in the the Sowe theme demo, a card layout makes it easy for readers to see what your recent content is all about.
Along the same lines as bold imagery is the concept of bold typography. You can’t miss giant sized fonts, and bolder text makes it easier for all of your readers to actually, you know, read your post. A great example is the Candid theme by Array. The big, bold text enhances the readability of the theme but doesn’t overwhelm your audience thanks to the minimal design.
More and more developers are having a little fun when creating their themes and plugins, adding special features you won’t find in every other item on the market. This includes one of a kind animations, fun layouts and thoughtful hovers.
Status has a couple unique and fun features. First of all there is a super cool rainbow menu hover. To see it you need to visit the demo then use your cursor to scroll over the navigation menu items – full rainbow awesomeness. Another neat idea is the random post link in the breadcrumbs bar. This way readers can randomly checkout posts on your site giving them new content to read and you more views on old posts.
And Tons More
Like we said – there are so many trends catching on, we can’t possible keep track on our own. So tell us – what trends have you seen on the web? Which new design elements do you think are the next big thing? Let us know!