Third Mind | This Year, Trend With Caution
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This Year, Trend With Caution

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As you get ready to implement new Web campaigns and flesh out requests for technology proposals this year, consider these recommendations for using 2016 web and technology trends responsibly. Our team selected the top three trends from a bevy of predictions made. And here they are along with insights to help you decide which trend will work best for your initiatives.

The Internet of Things
In 2016, we will be exposed to more Advanced Machine Learning, 3D Printing, Mesh Apps-to-Service Architecture, and with the increasing use of sensors in technologies and devices (professionally and personally). The promised Internet of Things will continue to grow. Gartner predicts these sensors will increasingly work in unison, leading to even greater insights about our daily patterns. This massive collection of data, combined with cognitive computing, will have the power to provide insight which will lead to intuitive, personalized, and effective solutions. As lovely as it sounds this will take time, however, an immediate harnessing of the power of this information will allow you to leapfrog competitors in the process. Protecting and making sense of your data will be the key to your success.

Content in Motion
Web development will include more motion in 2016 despite the current appreciation for flat design and minimalism. When done right, motion is the go-to whistle for drawing a user’s attention—it can also help with content prioritization. When executed sparingly, moving images and video can enhance a site’s personality and its storytelling, making the experience more interactive and entertaining. Enter the spread of Cinemagraphs, Apple’s “live photos”, plus the success of Vine and Snapchat coupled with the availability of magical tools like, Flixel, html5 Canvas, and Parallax.js. Web designers are now finding innovative and graceful ways to integrate movement into their work and it is really sweet, now that the appropriate tools are available to make movement more elegant.

Even though motion is continually gaining traction we recommend using it sparingly. Save ‘sound’ for things like game apps. Consider carefully whether motion adds to your site’s story elements and personality. Do not add objects that flicker and flash. These are harsh on the eyes and will make your site seem unprofessional. Too many moving parts will be distracting. Keep motion soft and subtle—use it as an accent and avoid turning viewers off. Yes, the Web will continue to push towards a state of hyper-focus (at least in the short-term). If motion is revealing itself within your UX, that perception of motion will hold more utility for the user if it is based on the problem they were trying to solve (geo-mapping: How do I get there? proximity: Where am I in relation?) Help the user literally move, don’t just give them motion. For a more detailed look at motion in Web design visit the Adobe blog.

The Long Scroll
By now almost everyone is accustomed to long scrolling, single-page sites, and infinitely scrolling sites—thanks to the more frequent use of mobile devices. Long scroll works especially well for storytelling styled sites. With storytelling being even more relevant, and designers still playing with parallax design, it is safe to say that long scroll sites will continue to trend in 2016. Long scroll will continue to evolve as long as small screens remain popular. Considering that mobile users recently surpassed desktop users, long scroll is on its way to becoming a timeless technique. However, this style is not without its drawbacks. Always, consider your site’s goals, limitations, and overall structure before diving in; otherwise, adopting long scrolling for the sake of trendiness may actually do more harm than good as it did for the Etsy site. Also, be aware that users can easily get frustrated in cases where you leave a page to come back to it later, you have to scroll through all the same content you’ve already viewed so for this reason consider adding functionality that will allow a user to “pause”, “save” scroll placement, or to easily jump to specific content. Here’s one of our favorite long-scrolling / storytelling styled sites: The Space Needle

The Hamburger Menu
The controversial Hamburger Menu (three stacked lines, usually in the top left- or right-hand corner of a mobile site) is nothing new but it will continue to spread even more in 2016. It is appealing because it makes a site cleaner but this isn’t something that works for every site i.e. e-commerce or corporate sites. The hamburger menu will often times reduce discoverability causing user engagement to decline. Keep in mind, if your audience can no longer move between the main sections of your site your traffic and exposure to key content will decrease. Adjust this by adding a tab bar, a row of visible buttons typically found at the bottom of the screen. In this example, Time.com is nicely using the Hamburger Menu—it combats the “hidden navigation” issue with a ticker on the side of recent news stories and also makes the search feature visible above the ticker. Its critical that managers understand their audiences needs and know the priority of all the content. What is out-of-sight is also out-of-mind so knowing what is important enough to be visible will be key. Luke Wroblewski breaks this down in lukew.com.