When developing or designing for, or owning a website on, a platform as rapidly advancing and diverse as WordPress, you need to stay on your toes and keep your eyes peeled for the latest, freshest trends.
It’s pretty obvious that many design trends that made a spectacular mark in the year 2015 will continue to reign supreme in 2016 as well. Card style layouts, hero images and background videos, microinteractions, flat and flat 2.0 are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
But there are some emerging WordPress theme development and design trends that are rather astonishing at a glance, but feel like a long time coming in hindsight. These are the trends that will stay long after the hype of fads die down eventually. These trends transcend style boundaries and become phenomena.
This is a list of such WordPress Trends that you need to look up in 2016.
Only ignorant people still call WordPress “a blogging tool” and even then that misunderstanding can be quickly dissipated once you bring out the ever growing showcase of WordPress fame which does, in fact, include a little eCommerce store chain by the name of Bata – proudly powered by WordPress.
Since WordPress itself is gaining popularity as an eCommerce platform (2015 – WooCommerce acquisition by WordPress.com managing company Automattic should give you an idea), eCommerce ‘ready’ themes are turning over a new leaf. These themes are now coming integrated and set up with eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce, Ecwid, Jigoshop, Cart 66, etc. along with the rest of the brilliant templates and features.
Such themes enable you to sell, regardless of your industry vertical or site niche. Examples include such best selling, top trending themes (on Envato market) as LENS_ and Legenda, for photographers/portfolio and multipurpose use respectively. More themes are coming with integrated eCommerce plugin and set up to reduce hassle for the client/ user.
Democratizing eCommerce with WordPress eCommerce integrated themes
Minimalistic layouts are taking the designing world by storm.
Such layouts, particularly peculiarly on WordPress, either have highly minimized tabs/ menus/ navigation/ headers/ footers or are utterly devoid of one or more of these interface elements that were previously essential in every design.
The focus, therefore, rests entirely on content and user journey guided with scrolls, interactions, and similar ways. Previously popular with mobile-first designs and themes exclusively, minimalistic design is now spreading further for the fact that it’s truly distraction free and looks effortlessly clean and modern.
Check out the following themes and what they have accomplished with a brilliant, minimalistic layout:
Rhythm (Multipurpose Minimal theme with an Awwwards Honorable Mention)
Inez (Portfolio/Agency theme that you must see in action)
While Monochrome is gaining ground, light, exclusively cheery pastels have to wave good bye. It’s time for bright, brilliant strokes of colors in WordPress theme design.
Designers are finally (thank heavens!) daring to use vibrant, eye popping colors in more diverse ways than a landing page’s CTA without actually making it too tacky or just plain irritating to human eyes. Colorful overlays combined with minimal, monochromatic background colors are trending.
Also trending – hand drawn illustrations that add a sense of whimsy for industry that can really rock it. Check out the website design for How I fight (Cancer awareness):
Beautifully animated illustrations depicting survivors’ struggles with Cancer
And notable WordPress theme Wineshop is simply breaking every single rule there is with a magical, fairy tale-esque design:
Wineshop: Breaking trends and carving new ones since 1857
Straight scroll, long scroll, vertical or horizontal scroll – It’s all just so… straight and boring.
Currently making waves is the practice of scrolljacking – where a website scrolls in an intentionally unexpected way. The technique itself is currently debatable (what isn’t?) by UX fanatics, but there’s an element of freshness and spontaneity to scrolljacking that more site designers would want to ingratiate in their own WordPress designs. In any case, it’s a considerably better way (personal opinion) than parallax.
To see this in action, there is really no way to portray this with pictures, so I fervently hope you check the website for Panache (a French design agency), and this website for Le Mugs, that is, quite frankly, beyond compare.
You have to see it with your own eyes, and you won’t regret it, I promise you.
There are of course, more ‘fads’ to talk about, but why bother when most of them are going to be gone from the memory before the year is out in…oh 6 months.
Make the leap from trendy to progressive and you’ll see how most fads are just that. This year, WordPress designers, bolstered with REST API and an army of tools they can now put to use in rendering are creating some spectacular things. Go immersive instead of interactive. Break the rules.
Here at WordPress, you’ll find an audience for your design madness and rule-breaking.