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Rubber Cheese predicts: what does 2016 hold for the web?

What we'll see in web design and development next year

Written By:
Paul Wright
  • 23/12/2015
  • 15 Mins to Read
  • By: Paul Wright
  • Share

It’s that time of year when our mince pie consumption gets out of control and we start to make plans for the brand new year. We’re always keen to stay up to date on what’s going on in the world of the web, and try to pick up on what is likely to be popular next year.

In 2015 we’ve seen responsive web design continue to grow in importance, and the techniques to make sites work across all devices become smarter and more interesting. We’ve also seen a bit of a re-emergence in parallax scrolling, sites that are built around one page that scrolls down and down to reveal sections.

In terms of user experience, content has started to shift. Quality has improved vastly in 2015 with less click bait around, and Facebook even downgrading click bait content. We think brands will continue to use content cleverly and in a more personalised way.

Use of adblocking software has grown globally by 41%, meaning brands have to be cleverer in order to reach people. Techniques like sponsored content and viral content are now more important than ever, alongside a more engaging web presence.

Faster loading webpages

Mobile web browsing has now overtaken desktop, so the experience needs to be faster and better, as WiFi won’t always be available. The industry leaders are leading the way to help people access content more easily. Facebook are collaborating with publishers on their ‘instant articles’ feature, promising articles published on it will load 10 times faster than mobile web.

Although broadband speeds are improving, there are still issues in rural areas and densely populated countries like India and China rely more on mobile web than WiFi browsing. Pages need to contain the same amount of content, but it needs to load much faster to give optimal user experience.

Facebook's ‘instant articles’ feature will load pages 10 times faster

Better content, more branded video

The content revolution doesn’t show any signs of slowing down; with sites like Buzzfeed still pulling in 200million plus unique visitors per month. We think 2016 will see better content strategies and the rise of more dynamic call to actions. A less is more approach, a fine-tuned content that speaks to the audience concisely and engagingly.

Video is a trend that is becoming more popular than image or text-based content, and the social networks are leading the way that brands are following. We think we’ll see a lot more brands creating videos in-house, to accompany other content. It’s really important to ensure they are of high quality, they fit within your brand and they are integrated well to your website. It’s a great medium but you must proceed with caution and with a firm eye on quality.

we’ll see a lot more brands creating videos in-house

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The death of the carousel

Studies and stats show that carousels, or sliders, aren’t as effective as first thought. We’re now coming up with better ways to showcase content on homepages, such as card layouts and parallax scrolling, as these are more effective.

Some businesses see carousels as a great way of getting many messages into one space and above the fold. Studies and stats show they don’t work, we used to use them but we suggest against them now and we’d recommend others to do the same. The Should I Use A Carousel? website is a fun, but useful, take on the subject.

Personalised content

Technology creates a lot of data – site visits, social network profiles, location tracking and shopper behaviour – but what can we do with it? Sifting through the data can help to personalise experiences across the web. We already see it in the way Google Search works or the Facebook algorithm, but it looks set to become even more personalised. We think we’ll see more websites use a personalised approach to browsing based upon the way people most commonly use a certain site. If someone is logged into your site and you know they always buy jeans, then can one of your homepage cards show them the latest arrivals in denim? Maybe you get a lot of contact requests on your website; can you include an embedded chat box or prominent FAQ section?

we’ll see more websites use a personalised approach to browsing

Zero UI and mobile interaction

How do people use mobiles to find things? The phrase ‘Zero UI’ was coined in 2015 for a way of navigating the web or operating a device without using a screen. We already see this in Siri, Microsoft Kinect or Amazon Echo – you speak at your device or move in a certain way to operate something. Although we’re a long way off abandoning screens, we are seeing that voice or movement controlled sites, apps and devices are going to become popular. Not only do they improve user experience but they also offer better accessibility for the blind or disabled. We definitely think Zero UI is the phrase we’ll become accustomed to in 2016.

Image Credit

The year of better user experience

User experience is going to be really important in 2016, and web designers and brands need to keep pushing to make it better. The competition becomes more intense as ever year passes as we learn more about web design, about user behaviour and data management.

What do you think 2016 holds? Tweet us or leave us a comment, we’d love to know!