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Web design trends

As we approach the end of 2015 mso reflects on the ever-developing design trends we’ve utilised this year and what we hope to see in 2016.

Responsive Web Design

Not surprisingly responsive web design has turned into the norm. It would be unreasonable to design solely for desktop when a large percentage of us use smartphones to surf the web. Did you know 40% of people would choose a different search result if the first is not mobile friendly?

Embracing this and integrating this across the web will make the web a better place for all of us, after all more people own a smartphone than a toothbrush. According to eMarketer, 2 billion consumers will have a smartphone by 2016 which is one billion more than Forrester was reporting back in February of 2012.


A parallax site enhances user experience. For those of you that don’t know, parallax scrolling is the background moving at a slower rate than the foreground. The beauty of parallax is it can dominate and be the star of the website or it can be used subtly to augment the user experience. At mso, we’ve been advocates of parallax for a long time and definitely will still champion going forward.

One of my favourites is Fresse Coffee Co. It’s responsive, it loads fast and most of all it’s fun with great UI and UX. Rimmel London like Fresse Coffee Co is fully parallax; however, it does not have the same smooth flow and fast load speed which is infuriating for the user. It could be argued the purpose of Rimmel using parallax is unclear and unnecessary while Fresse Coffee Co use it as a method of storytelling.

Another type of parallax website is webydo which takes a subtle approach and is well executed. The use of parallax is ‘cool’ - it’s a reflection on the rest of the website’s design and encapsulates the company’s ethos.

For parallax to work effectively and be appreciated it is important for it to enhance a site and have a purpose. I believe animations will be dominate in 2016 and parallax will continue to be of assistance in its various guises and subtleties.

Take a peak:, ,


Go big or go home. Using image-based backgrounds with a few words generates impact. It catches attention and actually doesn’t scare anyone away (unlike text heavy sites).

Using a full width video in place of an image has also come to the forefront. People are demanding a different type of video experience, mainly attributable to the sophistication of online gaming. The popularity of the GoPro® is therefore not surprising given the impressive quality of its in-action footage. Several video based sites are using this effect to tell a story, the perfect way to engage a target market and instantly provide a totally immersive digital experience.

Huge is a great example of this:

Icon fonts

We’re all guilty. Using icons readily available online rather than creating our own is something we’ve all done as designers/developers; why wouldn’t we when there are so many free services available at our fingertips? It’s now even easier with icon font technology with icoMoon and font awesome being great examples of this. Working great with responsive design, icons save space and remove the need for text-based navigations.

With everyone using these icons, website icons begin to roll into one. We hope 2016 allows sites to express their own identity through icons. A great example of this is toi, the care and time taken to design their own icons does not go unnoticed.

Have a look for yourself:

Flat design

This works hand in hand with RWD (responsive web design). I’m a huge fan of flat design, it’s clean and simple and works great when resized. Resizing flat design safeguards it is clear at a mobile level, for example an image-based button would be more disruptive to the eye. Although flat design is still used extensively across the web, many designers add subtle shadows to enhance the design making it ‘not so flat’.

We think flat design will continue to dominate the web.

To the future…



Simran Chana, Designer



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