What's trendy today will be outdated tomorrow. What's unique and avant-garde now will soon be rendered ubiquitous and old hat. Will the internet reinvent itself is 2016? My prediction: probably not. The trends of 2015 will change with the passing of time, but I don't think we will see a reinvention in the coming year. This is how progress tends to work. There are Inventions (innovations, new technology, etc), and there are Improvements (tweaks, new applications and so forth). I predict that 2016 will be a year of Improvements.
Problem / Solution
Some of the website trends for 2015 were great. We loved them! They got so many things right. The problem was that (because everyone recognized the benefits) everyone moved in that direction. The result was that everyone started to look the same. Kristen and I even had this discussion back in March of this year. There was something too sterile, too generic, too impersonal about the Wide Trend (as we call it).
One way to solve a problem is with a cyclical solution—one that goes in cycles. This is too small; let's go really big. This is too big; let's go really small. There are occasions when this cyclical response is appropriate. When it comes to preference this is just fine. (You can bring back the big hair of the 80's for all I care.) When it comes to progress, however, we need a different solution.
Again, this is how progress is supposed to work. When a new technology becomes cumbersome or intrusive, it may not be best to abandon the technology. Instead, it might be time to improve on the technology. This solution takes more of a corrective approach, and this is what I think we will see.
In 2016, I think we will see a lot of color, and I mean big, bright, bold colors. If part of the problem with the current trend for websites is that they are too sterile, too plain, too empty I hope that we don't overreact and become busy, cluttered and over the top. I predict that website trends will keep their simplicity but add splashes of bold colors.
We are already seeing this cropping up in a few sites here and there, but it's not really taken off just yet. If you are planning a site redesign for the coming year, think about what bold color choice might represent your company well.
In 2016, I think we will see more websafe fonts that people will actually want to use. If part of the problem with the current trend for websites is that they are too generic I hope that we do not overreact and throw out all since of form, standards and patterns. I predict that website trends will continue to meet standards (like responsive layouts) but broaden their use of good websafe fonts to give sites the ability to use a typeface that is specific to them without burdening the end user.
Again, this is a progressive enhancement we are already seeing with Google Fonts, but it is by no means being utilized yet. Most of the Google Fonts that are accessed could almost pass for the standard typeface any way (Helvetica or Calibri or something like that). However, as the database of good fonts continues to grow, you'll be able to choose the perfect websafe font for your site. In fact, many logos are abandoning the traditional proprietary typefaces for those that have websafe usability. This trend too will continue to grow.
In 2016, I think we will see a much greater emphasis on story telling. If part of the problem with the current trend for websites is that they are too impersonal I hope that we do not overreact and adopt a resume or "reality TV" approach. I predict that websites will begin to refocus on telling a story with their site. We are obviously big proponents of this approach. We pride ourselves on storytelling, but I think that other businesses will soon begin to see the need for this as well.
The best way to stand out, the best way to be unique, the best way to be memorable—heck the best way to sell a product is to tell a story. This might be the story of your business, but it might be the story of your clients. It might be the story of your particular server or the story of the entire industry. Whichever it is, your website will make a great place to tell it.
So whether your story demands bold color and unique fonts or is best simply stated, you've got to know your story. That's something that will never go out of style.