One of the key trends in web design for 2015 was mobile. There was a huge amount of chatter around responsive website design, making sure that web pages were flexible in order to be displayed on desktop computers, tablets and mobile handsets.
New mobile delivery frameworks
This month (February 2016), saw the launch of Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which has already been show to deliver super fast mobile pages. As more and more users visit the web via their smart phones, web designers have has to not only make useful and functional design, but they now have a new web technology to help them deliver these pages fast.
The current examples using AMP are big content rich editorial sites such as newspapers and community portals.
As well as Google and the open source community developing AMP, Facebook is also working on a similar platform for Facebook users called Instant Articles (https://instantarticles.fb.com/) They claim these new article pages will load 10 times faster than normal web browsing.
So as you can see 2016 will be dominated buy new technologies being able to render pages on mobiles much, much faster. The Facebook Instant Articles is currently only available on a pilot basis right now but it is being opened up to all publishers at the F8 conference on the 12th April.
Website design is now not simply a way to render a responsive site but typically needs to incorporate different version of pages to make sure that businesses can fully capitalize on these new delivery platforms - while still being provided from one iteration of a website.
UX - The user experience
There will also be a growing focus on the usability experience as part of the user experience. So web design businesses will have to look beyond UI (User Interface) and work on the customer journey to ensure the design works and creates a positive user experience.
And this experience will, as we have seen above, have different pathways depending on the device being used and the way that user interacts with the site content.
Blending of design and development
Due to the growing technical influence on websites, web design will become more aligned with web development, as designers will need to become much more development minded while delivering websites. There will be much more required in terms of understanding the functionality of the website so that web designers can design and influence the user experience much further than simply providing a number of flat mockups or then have to pass the design part over the a development company to take it forward.
With more and more web designers having a fuller range of web development skills, this will make these website projects being delivered much quicker.
Overall, 2016 will still be the year of the mobile device but now with an ever-increasing focus on delivering web content via mobile devices quickly.