2015 has been a great year in digital. Slack exploded, the Apple Watch was finally released, and drones slowly but surely have begun to fill the sky. But, what’s next? As we gear up for 2016 and beyond, there are several new products and trends we are looking forward to.
Large Photography & Video
We like cool pictures and videos and are happy the future agrees! Research has shown millennials (+ everyone else for that matter) continue to consume visual/video content like it is their job. And in some cases it is! With this in mind, designers are gravitating towards having websites that capitalize on this key insight. Large landscaping hero imagery and videography, as well as card imagery layouts on digital sites, will be the new norm, or at least we think so. Brands doing it well: BestMadeCo, Wild Renfrew, GE.
Clean, Minimalist & the Rise of Material Design
Mobile and social continue to be driving factors in interactive design. Studies show mobile will surpass the desktop as the primary way we access the web in 2016 (howdesign.com), making mobile-first a required mindset not a recommendation. With less screen real estate, designs will continue to trend towards simplistic. Though with the rise of Material Design, introduced by Google, new design elements have started to evolve the way we think of ‘flat design’.
Mobile not only changes design, but the way users interact with content. A user’s journey is made up of a series of small, short bursts of browsing rather than a single linear experience. This, along with simplistic design, makes the addition of subtle animation much more important. Designers will need to consider how animation, such as hovers, menus, animated GIFs, etc. can grab a user’s attention and make their experience more engaging.
Scrolling isn’t a Bad Thing
Though the idea of the ‘fold’ isn’t completely dead – it’s still ideal to make sure your main CTA (call to action) is toward the top of a page – responsive design has taught us that cramming everything at the top of the page isn’t necessarily good practice. Many people would rather scroll than click. Incorporating interesting scroll features, such as parallax, can add interest to a page and make a user want to scroll to see more content. Some cool examples of parallax scrolling: Sony, Seattle Space Needle, moto.oakley.com. The only downfall to parallax scrolling that we see, is that it currently isn’t mobile-friendly.
Because web content is increasingly more aware of a users location and interests, creatives can now tailor designs and messaging based on proximity as well as personalize it to fit every unique individual instead of basing the design on large segments. As a result, this may mean more split screens allowing visitors to choose their own adventure. Examples: peugeot.com, and Google | Star Wars: Awaken the Force Within.
Color has a huge influence in communicating a particular emotion and ultimately influences how something is perceived. In 2016 expect to see continuous growth toward the use of bold color throughout design. Spotify is a good example of a recent redesign utilizing bold color.
The future of TV
While we may not have gotten the industry shattering Apple TV we wanted this year, minor enhancements to the device can help us further predict that of television: artificial intelligence to help us find what we want, when we want it; a la cart programming choices; multi-device, interactive and social media consumption. With the launch of HBO Now and Showtimes stand-along service (and CBS seemingly coming next), we predict 2016 will take cord-cutting from the fringe to mainstream. Check out DigiDay for some more great predictions.
How will this impact eCommerce, shipping delivery rates, consumer purchase behaviors? Almost straight out of a sci-fi film, drone delivery technology is coming and we could not be more excited. Both Amazon and Google are up (pun intended) to some crazy stuff!
“Smart” devices will continue to pave the way for our futures. With the 2015 unveiling of the Apple Watch, this is just the beginning for similar, cutting edge wearable devices. While the Apple Watch currently is built as an extension of the iPhone, we wonder if in the future this will evolve and move towards being a more independent device that will replace our existing phone functionality (as we know it) completely – leaving us with fewer reasons to reach in our pockets. In addition, we expect this trend to unleash a whole new side of geo-marketing with Apple Watch 2 on the horizon.
Technology will continue to influence our everyday life in new forms as companies become more inventive in finding beneficial ways to save consumers time, money and make their lives more efficient. One example of a product we like in this category is Hiku. A handheld scanner that lives in your kitchen and assists you with building your shopping lists – your personal AI, digital, voice-sensitive assistant that connects with your iPhone.
Mobile Messaging Apps
Facebook says you can expect 0% organic reach in the near future – a statistic we found particularly noteworthy in our Marketing research. We believe this directly links with the rise and focus that will be placed on messaging apps. Facebook continues to augment their own Messenger service with features inspired by the wildly popular app they acquired in 2014, WhatsApp. With Millennials support, the messaging space continues to expand – and we predict brands will also follow, finding a way to converse with consumers on this new digital platform. A few app services at the forefront: Kik, Line, WeChat, Viber.
A seamless and unified Retail Experience
As consumers (as well as marketers and creative thinkers) we are looking forward to the modern age of omni-channel marketing, although the buzzword “omnichannel” may be dying, the idea is more relevant than ever before. With campaigns like AnyWare by Dominos (that lets you order via emoji’s) already has showing great success in 2015 — we predict seamless retail strategies will begin to dominate in our industry and become the new normal.
Virtual Reality is back!
Think Tony Stark. Think holographs. Think virtual cityscapes and literally information at your fingertips. From high-tech sensory technology, companies are beginning to develop real-life Iron Man worthy products that allow for people to navigate their virtual environments through simulation. Think of all neat futuristic interactive brand experiences that this will influence!
Mindfulness & the Age of Naps
With technology usage and the amount of time spent digitally soaring, there is a need and a rise in relaxation techniques. Mindfulness is a practice embraced by multiple leading corporations, as they believe it has a wide range of benefits for their employees, and ultimately the business. Companies like Google and The Huffington Post are already on top of this trend.
Making generations to come the most digitally-savvy little kids around. Toys are educating kids in ways like never before. Like this new ball, set to launch in the new year, Hackaball. A few more to check out: View Master, Anki Overdrive, Lumo Projector, Moff band.
Future of Food
3-D food printing is a technology that may very well revolutionize food production and the culinary world as we know it. More here on this topic. Another trend currently catching on nation-wide is the super sleek, efficient delivery services. From this healthy focused start-up in San Fran – https://munchery.com – to this quickly expanding (bike)ride/drive delivery service https://postmates.com – we appreciate the always-on customer service mentality of these shops.
Are you predicting exciting 2016 trends that we have left out? Add them in the comments below!