Published: 08 February 2016 As digital specialists, we sit here year on year and try and emulate ‘the latest digital trends’, which will undoubtedly be coupled by a blog post in December to annotate whether indeed these predictions surfaced.

Technological enhancements are rapidly being visualised, with ‘us users’ driving this advancement with our hunger to explore the digital landscape and desire for it to richen our lives. It could be considered that ‘us users’ arguably resemble a toddler that received a new toy for Christmas. Content for a short while, but imminently will desire something more, something greater…but what that ‘more’ actually is, is the million-dollar question.

So this is not a list of what I think will be #trending in 2016, but an analogy of the things I think we should pay attention to.


2001 saw the launch of the much anticipated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I remember being immersed in the land of magic as Harry climbed the stairs at Hogwarts and saw pictures of his ancestors animating…much like the experience ‘us muggles’ now get as we journey the escalator exiting the Northern Line.

However, the concept of ‘Live Photos’ or ‘glorified gifs’ in our digital sphere, is one that I believe we will see a lot more of in 2016. With the launch of the iPhone 6s iSight camera in October 2015, a growing number of us have easy access to Live Photos. These are already flooding social media, with many of us trying to ‘pimp’ our profile pic. However, I believe we can utilise them in web design to create visual hierarchy and a little touch of ‘magic’…after all our eyes are naturally drawn to motion.


With an estimated 6 million users worldwide expected to be using smart phones by the end of 2016, it is of no surprise that brands are starting to take ‘mobile-first’ design a little more seriously. Brands now have the opportunity to be more connected than ever with their customers, and with technology at the end of all of our fingertips, competition is rife to clinch that sale!

2015 saw the launch of Google’s Material Design platform. The goal of this site was to “Create a visual language that synthesizes classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science”. This has now become a ‘go-to guru’ for the next website design trends, so to stay ahead of the crowd in 2015…3D design is the route to take! This is a slight (indiscrete) movement away from the Flat Design trend and will see websites initiating motion to transform the whole experience of their platform.

The way that we use technology, is certainly shaping the digital design landscape. I often wonder the number of ‘miles’ my index finger has scrolled on websites and although we have all become accustomed to this, I think we will see an increase in the attention to detail that the user experiences. In 2015 we saw the parallax scrolling trend, and I believe we will see this taken to the next level in 2016 with websites taking every measure to keep the user engaged to the bottom of the page.
Whether this is hover animations, card design, ghost buttons or a general increase in storytelling through websites…2016 will certainly see a rise in creative interactive platforms.

Immersive Digital Experiences and Augmented Reality

Not so long ago, I had my first experience of Augmented Reality. Sat in an office on a rainy Thursday, I journeyed around the world and visited some exotic locations. For 5 minutes I escaped to another place, I was unaware of my immediate surroundings, but immersed in a new world…it took daydreaming to the next level.

Yes, if you have an infinite budget, immersive website design should be the next biggest trend. The gaming world dipped its big toe in 2015 with the launch of the first consumer VR headset ‘Oculus Rift’, priced at $600. With more affordable consumer headsets expecting to launch in 2016, it is clear that the digital ‘gaming’ world is moving into an exciting arena. However, back to reality, I think we are a little way off from complete immersive website designs, but we certainly will start to see a move above away from 2D flat design as this starts to blend with the digital sphere. There are plenty of examples of immersive experiences, with ‘Inside Abbey Road’ being one of my favourites. I believe this year we will see more elements of gamification, where you interact with your environment as you navigate through.

Perhaps one baby step that will be made in 2016 is the way in which location based marketing and personalisation will be used on digital platforms. Digital Strategy Consulting published their prediction at the of 2015, with “49% of marketers envisage the growth in location-based marketing technology, with 43% anticipating an increase in predictive targeting and 39% backing the growth of wearable technology”. Perhaps this is the first step to bridge ‘the here and now’ with the virtual world.


Micro-interactions already form part of each of our daily lives, they exist everywhere. From the phone in our pocket, to the desktop we work on, they even exist in the environment we live in. This (I believe) is the true beauty of a micro-interaction…they exist in our world without us even realising.

As the name suggests, a micro-interaction is a contained product moment that revolves around a single use case, they have one main task. They exist when you ‘like’ something on Facebook, or when you cancel your alarm in the morning or even when you slide down your ‘screen' on your phone to refresh content. They are delightful (and somewhat satisfying) details that makes the user the prime focus. They are the small considerations that I believe we should pay closer attention to when designing and UX’ing a website or app.

Many great examples exist. From the 'press and hold’ functionality when ‘pinning’ something on Pinterest through to Google autocomplete. The curator of which, Kevin Gibbs, believed it was the minor details that deserved the close attention. He stated “I don’t feel when I look at a search box that it’s something I did, it feels like this is just how the world’s supposed to work.”

I think to create seamless design we need to make the interface seem weightless. This can be contained in the result of an action, the communication of a status or the transition and movement between screens. After all the devil is in the detail.

So I guess now, we just sit back and see what 2016 brings us, and I will see you in December to see if any of my predictions were right!
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