We asked 16 designers about the next big trends in design

Predictions for the biggest new things in design, and DIY examples to stay ahead of the the trends.

What will be the biggest trend in web design next year? We asked a group of web designers and design writers for their predictions. General themes came through in their responses, from simplicity and subtle interactions, to a focus on security and accessibility. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Microinteractions will increase engagement

Thanks to all of our digital devices, visiting the web is more than just a reading experience. Interfaces are essential parts of our daily lives, and what makes them work are constant feedback loops. These microinteractions — from setting an alarm to toggling a bluetooth device off or on – are what keep users connected to the design. They must be sharp, precise and do exactly what the user expects (and when they expect it) to make user interfaces engaging on any device. The success of integrated microinteractions will make or break almost any design.

– Carrie Cousins, freelance writer and designer

DIY example: A resizeable multicolor countdown plugin


2. Gradients, duotones and textures will be everywhere

Continuing the transition away from completely flat design, we think the trend of 2016 will continue with more textures and gradients making it into page and UI element designs.

– The Envato design team

DIY example: Gradient Geometric Backgrounds


3. Interactive email & embracing scroll will dominate email

Marketers are always looking for ways to make their emails stand out. So in 2017, we’ll see more and more experimentation with interactivity and long-scroll content.

Gone are the days where your most important content had to be included “above the fold” to maximise engagement. With a majority of recipients now opening on mobile and increased client support, scroll will be embraced and drive use of innovative interactive elements, like parallax.   

– Jackie Roberts, Email Marketing Manager at Envato

DIY example: Matah responsive email template


4. We’ll focus on simplicity-first design

Is simplicity a recent design trend? No, not really. But what is currently trending is the number of websites and apps that have been busy drastically simplifying the UI of their websites and mobile apps this year.

The question those sites have asked themselves is whether or not anything was preventing or slowing down a user from efficiently achieving what they need to achieve? If there was, they simplified the UI. That doesn’t seem too difficult to do, does it? One issue with simplicity is that it is often confused with minimalism.

Minimal design will strip a UI down to its bare essentials, but by removing potentially useful functionality, there’s a risk of alienating the existing user base. Whereas as by ‘simplifying’ the design, sites like the recently redesigned Envato Tuts+ and Envato Blog have improved form without sacrificing function and as a result have made it much easier for users to accomplish all tasks, and this has reflected in their recent resurgence in popularity.

Yes, we are in the mobile-first and content-first design era, but by looking at the success these sites have had since simplifying their UI, perhaps we should all start thinking about simplicity-first as well next year.

Paul Andrew, designer & writer

Example: Simple & Elegant Multi-Purpose Theme


5. There will be more accessibility in websites & apps

In recent years, we’ve seen accessibility play a larger role in web design. It’s not only being implemented into from-scratch designs, but also into themes and plugins. In 2017, I would expect to see accessibility become a must-have feature in all aspects of both websites and web applications.

– Eric Karkovack, web designer

Example: Tuts+ Translation Project



6. More chatbots and windows

Chatbots are a trend we think will continue as services and websites aim to add a level of personalisation to their site. If overdone, they risk becoming the Clippy of the web.

– The Envato design team

DIY example: Facebook Messenger Chat with Bot


7. Security can’t be ignored

One need that has grown over the past few years, and will continue to grow, is the continuing communication with the clients of all sizes about security issues that may impact their web site(s).   This can run from plugin vulnerabilities to SSL certificate requirements to server software to DOS attacks to the unknown yet to be discovered – which is exactly the point. Preparation is needed to reduce the unknown.  Providing clients with tools to review general and site-specific security issues will be a greater requirement in the near future for web developers, as well as an understanding of what those tools are saying.  The web site owner’s administrative experience will be designed with this in mind.

– Wayne Kessler, web developer

DIY example: encryption plugin Crypty 2.0


8. Goodbye, annoying dialogues

As Google tweaks their ranking algorithm we expect (happily) to say goodbye to annoying email sign up dialogues when you land on a page. 

– The Envato design team

DIY example: MyMail email newsletter plugin for WordPress


What do you think will be the biggest trend in design this year? Tweet us and let us know!

Featured image: 

Brittany Jezouit

About the Author Brittany Jezouit

Brittany is a Contributor to the Envato blog. She helped launch the publication and was its founding Editor. You can follow her on Twitter @brittanyjezouit.