Web design trends for 2016 and their impact on SEO

Categories Web Design

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever!” This illustrious phrase of Keats’ may be true for the earlier days of designs when websites used to be made for posterity. Not anymore!

Now, far from being just exciting, vivid, and colorful virtual world, the Internet has become kind of a fashion runaway. Akin to the fashion trends, the web trends too keep coming and fading away.

But unlike fashion where designs are at the whim of fashion designers or fashion magazine editors (remember Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wear Prada?), the change for website comes from arguably the biggest change driver ever – Technology!

So, akin to fashion, do you also need to keep updating your websites as and when any new trend pops up? Do you need to update your website? Should you go for a better layout? Should you add more dynamic elements to your website?

The first few months of the year is a perfect time to think about such addendums as it is when you reflect, review and contemplate, look behind at the bends in the roads and understand what changes you need to make in the New Year to help you inch closer to your goals.

And what’s better way to up your game than to get acquainted with the trends early on in the game? By being aware of the trends in your market, you can literally carpe diem!

Check out the post below and explore the trends that will make a big wave in 2016 and get a leg up in your web design activities.

Before we move on to the prediction, let us checkout some relevant statistic:

  • According to Forrester Research, $1.1 trillion retail sales were influenced by web.
  • A Kinesis Inc., study reveals that after a page loads, it takes only .05 seconds for users to form an opinion.
  • According to Visually, dark colors on a website are better than light colors for more traffic and average time on website.
  • As per NN Group, most users scan a website in an F shape.

What these statistics do is drive home the importance of web design for your website. And even if you are one of those who feel design is nothing but all frills and no knickers, you need to think again.

You website may be losing out with this mindset. Hopefully, this prediction post will help you gain a better understanding of how to optimize your website and your business would benefit. In any case, you would at least learn some entertaining insights. If you are looking to peek into the future trends of website design, you’ve come to the right place!

The One Page Website

One page

One page websites are all the rage these days. One page website means just that, a website which uses a single web page for loading all the required information dynamically.

Upon clicking on the navigation menu, the click will take you to the particular content block without scrolling. They’re easy to create and easier to navigate and only require optimization for few keywords.

The one page website focuses on providing essential information and cutting the clutter. It focuses on only the most important content.

Advantages of having One Page Website

  • Simplicity is perhaps the best thing that one-page website offers you. With one page, you don’t have to create multiple pages and direct your users there.
  • Since, the design is done to only one page; there is more focus on the quality aspects.
  • Visitors also don’t have to click too many pages to find what they need. Everything is on the home page itself.
  • A one page website is much easier to manage. It also has very less content so visitors don’t need to scroll through too much content to find something useful. Whatever useful is kept on the homepage itself.

Disadvantages of having One Page Website

  • A one page website may take slightly longer to load than a traditional website. As per Aberdeen Group, a delay of one second in page response may result in almost 7% reduction in conversion.
  • It is also not easy to scale. With traditional layout, you can easily create new pages but with one page website, it a much more complicated process.
  • It also requires a lot of thought process going into the one page website. If not designed well, the website can look really cluttered and ugly.
  • It would also be difficult to add different content block or shareable content.

Impact on SEO

Well, one-page website may be all the fad but the implications of SEO don’t seem to be all that good.

As discussed earlier, one page website takes longer to load which is harmful for SEO and may increase exit rate.

Google stresses on the importance of internal link profiling and with one page website, there are no internal links which is not good for SEO.

Additionally, Google dramatically rates the importance of a website by the number of pages indexed. That is, the more the merrier, unless you have indexed spam. Here too, one-page website falls flat!

Our Verdict

They may be all rage, but if you can avoid one page website, do so for the love of SEO.

Mobile Optimization


We sound like broken records now, don’t we? Yes. We have been constantly harping about the importance of going mobile from long. Mobile optimization shouldn’t just be a trend anymore! It should be a mandate.

Instead of boring you with talks, we will leave you with some statistics for you to mull over.


  • According to a report by IDC, 80% of all US mobile users check their phones just after 15 minutes of waking up.
  • Over 1.2 billion people access internet with mobile devices.
  • A Comscore study found that 4 out of 5 U.S consumers use smartphone for shopping.
  • More than 70% of mobile internet users stated that they encountered a website that was very slow to load.
  • According to KPCB mobile technology trends, mobile usage time surpasses the desktop usage time.

internet usage

No matter what theme you choose, it should be responsive.

Advantages of Mobile optimization

  • It may be more pocket friendly to go for a responsive design instead of a dedicated mobile app, a flexible design technology that allows for stretching or shrinking of web pages to fit different sized screens.
  • Since, a responsive site doesn’t require any download, it may be more accessible than a mobile app.

Disadvantages of Mobile Optimization

  • Since, it not typically created for mobile experience; it may lack certain aspects which mobile users could get from mobile apps.
  • As with every technology, responsive design is also not a cure-all solution and may not be applicable for all kinds of websites.

Impact on SEO:

According to Google, responsive design is a recommended configuration which means there is more equity on backlinks of responsive websites.

User experience and SEO are correlated which means if your users are having trouble login to your website, be it from any device, it will increase bounce rate which in turn will affect your page ranking negatively.

Our Verdict:

To ensure that you don’t lose business from mobile traffic, mobile optimization is a must.



Minimalistic design picked up last year and we believe this is going to be one of the top most trends of 2016 too.

For the uninitiated, minimal web design means a web page that seeks to identify the needs of users and present only the most important information while getting the clutter out of way.

Minimalism tends to make use of negative space, dramatic typography, simple navigation, hi-definition images, and an overall visual balance.

In 2016, flat design, ghost buttons and large background images with improved usability will be in as the year 2016 will be all about ‘less is more’.

Advantage of Minimalistic design

  • Load time is much faster so user can access the content fast.
  • Minimalistic design performs well across desktops and mobile devices.
  • Since the focus is on keeping only important stuff, there is no clutter leading to better user experience.

Disadvantage of Minimalistic design

  • Sometimes, when not done well, the website may look sparse, unfinished or empty.
  • Another major disadvantage is that in case the company grows and there is a need to scale, minimalistic design may not be able to do justice.

Impact on SEO:

Minimalist web design can affect the SEO aspects of your website positively. Google Algorithms, especially ‘Panda’ is aimed at filtering high quality websites from the low quality ones by reducing the rankings of mediocre websites.

Minimalism focuses on removing low quality pages, keeping only the most important content and overall increasing the user experience which aligns with what Google wants, which in turn helps in improving SEO.

Our Verdict

If done well, minimalistic design can do wonders for your website. If you are inclining towards minimalistic design this year, keep a balance between design and SEO by adding relevant keywords and phrases.

Material design


Although Google released Material design in 2014, it is only picking up now and is expected to trend in 2016.

Using shadow effects and concepts of movements and depth, Material design is an alternative to flat design. It focuses around tangible but dynamic elements to remind of paper and ink.

If you feel that flat design has been done to death, material design is a good option for you.

Advantage of Material Design

  • As the design is centered on visual cues, it provides ease of access to the users.
  • The ‘Material’ UI improves the look of the website and offers a fluid feel to it.
  • Material design emulates real-life and offers an engaging interface.

Disadvantages of Material Design

  • The extensive use of animated transitions in Material design could be cognitively distracting.
  • It may also be difficult to discern interactive elements in material design.
  • As material design promotes vibrant colors and images, it could be a distraction.

Impact on SEO

Although material design is not much more than a style guideline, it is a Google promoted framework and so obviously finds favors in most SEO books

Our Verdict:

If you are not sure which design to choose for your website or application, material design may be a good choice for you as it comes with a well-documented set of rules.

Hamburger Menu


Hamburger menu are a three lined button on the side of the website, which hides site navigation instead of always showing it. Well, it may look aesthetic and appealing but it is on its way out. The hamburger menu has been at the center of countless passionate debates.

Advantages of Hamburger Menu

  • Placing hamburger menu makes the site look cleaner.
  • A lot of information can be placed under it and it also offers a consistent way to find more information.
  • Just like the real hamburger, most people are familiar with hamburger menu patterns too.
  • The reason why the hamburger icon has become so popular is because it saves space.

Disadvantages of Hamburger Menu

    • According to some designers, hamburger menu made for a worse user experience as it increased the number of taps required to access the features.
    • It may also have some discoverability and usability issues.

Impact on SEO:

A lot has been written about hamburger and how it needs to be killed but so far no alternative to hamburger menu has cropped up. Hamburger menu could be confusing for some especially for a desktop user.

To get the maximum mileage when it comes to SEO, add a border around the hamburger menu and write the word ‘menu’ below the three-lined icon to make it more understandable.

Our Verdict:

We feel that hamburger menu may be on its way out however with the absence of an alternative technology, it might as well still be used in 2016. Use it properly and with caution if you have absolutely have to. Avoid it when you can.

Infinite Scrolling

infinite scroll

Well, if you have used Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, et al, then you know what infinite scrolling is. Instead of having to click on so many different pages, infinite scrolling saves time by offering content in a single, long page.

Advantages of infinite scrolling

  • It makes for a faster browsing experience as clicking different pages could be time consuming, not to mention annoying.
  • Infinite scroll is made for touch experience and it is good to incorporate it in a culture which is increasingly becoming mobile.
  • It also helps users peruse large quantity of data at one go!

Disadvantages of infinite scrolling

  • With so much JavaScript required for infinite scrolling, it may affect the performance of the website.
  • It may also confuse the users and create navigation complexities.

Impact on SEO:

Google recommends this through its webmaster by stating that if features like cookies, Flash or JavaScript keeps the user seeing the website in a text browser, it may be difficult for bots to crawl the site which means it may be negative for SEO.

However, you can counter this by creating infinite scrolling with pagination, that is, by taking all the content and dividing them into chunks and then creating a URL structure in a sequential structure with optimal load time.

Our Verdict:

Infinite scrolling, when done right can improve user interaction, however, according to Nielsen Norman Group  it may not be a good choice for goal oriented tasks, that is which include conversion actions. Our verdict is – infinite scrolling will be huge in 2016 and so if your business allows it, go for it!

Dynamic Storytelling


Storytelling has been part of our culture from the time that Lucy stood up! Storytelling will be huge in 2016, it will only get more dynamic. Dynamic storytelling is a process of weaving a story through graphics with text support.

Advantages of Dynamic Storytelling

  • Dynamic storytelling can tell the story of a brand, product or service in a captivating manner.
  • It guides the users through a timeline or a thought-process.
  • It can compel users to take desired action.
  • It is more easy to digest and intuitive.

Disadvantages of Dynamic Storytelling

  • It requires high quality of graphic skills and if not done well can confuse the viewers.
  • If not done well, it may not convey the message properly.
  • Too much graphics may make the website look overwhelming and unfocused.

Impact on SEO:

It may be a catch-22 situation when it comes to SEO with more images, more videos with less textual content. However, it can be countered with properly placing the tags and creating an engaging user experience.

Our Verdict:

2016 will be the year of visual and so the earlier you adopt this trend, the better it would be for your business.  


Web design is a constantly evolving facet of a website and in order to keep ahead of the curve ball, you need to ensure that you are on top of your game.

Any form of art is equal part innovation and equal part imitation and so knowing these trends will help you innovate and imitate.

Of course, not all the popular trends may be worth imitating but knowing them will only help you know what steps to take in order to revive your website.

After all, trends are nothing but tools for the arsenal of your web design. Use them wisely and see your business soar!

What do you think? Which trend among the listed is most likely to pick up in your opinion? Share your opinion with us in the comments section below and don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter.

mikeAuthor Bio: Mike is a Digital Marketing professional and currently working as a PR manager at #TruConversion.com He truly loves Online marketing and anything digital. He is very focused about who he works for. Once he starts work, he is fully committed to his duties and responsibilities at that company. Catch him on Twitter here.

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