There are times when it seems like the internet is changing more rapidly than anyone can keep up with and as one trend fades another takes its place. Any business looking to stay ahead of the competition should keep up with the latest trends.

As the internet and online marketing become even more important for businesses, having a great site and utilizing the hottest trends can put you above the competition.

However, no matter how often they change, there is one common element to always keep in mind and that is the user. No matter what design trends you employ on your website, User Experience (UX) should always take front and center stage. With that in mind, the following design trends for 2016 are popular because they enhance the UX.

1. Responsive web design

For the past year and a half, there has been a huge amount of focus on responsive web design. In fact, this is so important to the UX that Google implemented new algorithms to ensure that web masters made the appropriate changes.

A responsive web site is one that conforms well to any screen of any size. Since more users are browsing the web and doing searches from mobile devices, the screens they will be looking at can be quite small.

If a website is not responsive there is no way for everything on a page to load which means that the user will not get the full benefit nor will they be able to navigate well. In fact, the experience is so degraded that Google will not even list sites that are not responsive in their mobile searches.

Related:ย The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

2. Social media integration

Few people on earth do not belong to a social site and because of this, businesses would do well to pay heed to social media integration as a must have web design trend. Not only can you lead visitors from your website to your Facebook page, for example, but you can invite your Facebook followers to visit your website.

The more followers you get on social media, the higher your chances will be to rank highly with Google and of course that means you should get much more organic traffic. Together with your marketing agency linked search terms can be added to your social pages to direct traffic to your website which will also add to your ranking with the search engines.

3. Minimalist design on landing pages

Once upon a time in website design, people tried to put everything on a landing page, sometimes overwhelming visitors. However, more and more sites now are focusing on a minimalist landing pages that focus more on a core product, rather than trying to sell everything to everyone.

It makes for an easier user experience, especially if they are coming directly from an ad for a product. You can have navigation to the rest of your site, but through using clean graphics and a minimalist design, you focus the attention of the potential customer.

A graphic design agency will make sure your online presence is attractive in the true sense of that word. Solid marketing efforts lead potential buyers to your site, where images and quality content hold them, and hopefully convince them to ask for details, or buy. Keep this key factor in mind: Itโ€™s also important for your site and your other advertising methods to be โ€œuser friendly.โ€

4. Embedded videos

Another design element that Google just loves is embedded videos. This is most likely because of the fact that visitors to your site are more likely to stick around to watch videos than they would if you had none. Videos quickly go viral because people love video โ€“ itโ€™s really just that simple.

When seeking increased amounts of traffic, you want to do well with the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and one of the most effective ways of ranking highly is to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. If videos will keep visitors on your page longer, then this is truly a web design trend to employ.

No matter what else you choose to do with the design of your website, these trends are a โ€˜must haveโ€™ if you want to develop a site that is more than competitive.

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The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

If there’s one topic that gets people fired up it’s web design. To succeed online, a smartly designed website is crucial. Something that brings in visitors and keeps them on your page, absorbing content.

Unfortunately, what constitutes a great site isn’t always agreed upon, and there’s constant debate of best practices, what’s hot, what’s not, and what is the cancer that is killing the industry. The argument still rages on, and recently it’s moved on to these commonly used web design elements:

The Carousel

“We’re not at the park, so why are we going around and around? Because people keep designing their sites with these blasted carousels” is just one of the commonly heard gripes about this supposedly interesting design choice.

Unfortunately, we have to keep clicking left or right to get another little morsel of information that the designers have deemed us worthy to handle. Are they afraid we can’t read full paragraphs? This one isn’t just a matter being annoyed personal preference, however, Carousel designs actually harm your websites performance.

They kill local SEO efforts by starving your site of actual content, the slow your site down with huge image files and JavaScript, and they are so confoundingly bad that nobody clicks through them all the way. The naysayers might have a point on this one, Carousels are way more trouble than they are worth.

Parallax Scrolling

You’ve seen this technique on graphics heavy sites in which the foreground and background scroll at different speeds. It creates a feeling of depth, helps tell a story through visuals, and looks pretty cool when properly implemented.

Unfortunately, it comes with some (resolvable) issues that may make it a waste of time. Like the Carousel, use of Parallax Scrolling is damaging to SEO. Since there’s usually just one page and a bunch of images, there’s no text content for search engines to crawl through and rank.

The abundance of images reduces performance (and completely kills performance on mobile devices). Most damaging of all though, is that the technique can just make it confusing to absorb any useful information, which will cut your number of repeat visitors down tremendously.

Think about it, would you stick around on a website where your only navigation option was to scroll downwards through hard-to read image/text combos? Of course, there are examples of Parallax Scrolling done right, so the argument is there that it’s all about how you choose to use it.

The Hamburger Menu

That three lined symbol in the corner on most websites that you click to access navigation options is commonly known as the hamburger menu.

While it does look cool, and you can see why one might be tempted to clean up their navigation by having it sleekly displayed in a drop-down menu, many say it kills a websites discoverability.

When your navigation options are out of sight, they are also out of mind, the thinking goes. There’s also the argument that it’s less efficient, since you’re forced to go to a separate menu just to see your options, but that’s more a matter of personal taste, it would seem.

We may never get definitive answers on whether these trends are good or bad, but it seems pretty clear that if you are going to try to incorporate any of these ideas into your design, you have to do it with care.

We’ve given you an overview of the tons of free web design options out there for building a pretty good site. When you have to move up to the big leagues though, it’d be prudent to hire some big league talent.

Professional web developers like Big Drop (out of New York), or Brown Box Branding (Dallas TX) offer great designs coupled with high level marketing strategies proven to keep the visitors coming back to your site for more.

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