15 Trends that Will Rule WordPress Sites in 2016 (Cool Site Examples + WordPress Themes)

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The New Year has come, and this means that it's high time to see which predictions and suggestions, relating to 2016 web design trends (and WordPress design trends in particular), have gained traction among the web audience. It has become tradition for us to share such posts with WP Mayor fans. Last year we shared a compilation of 2015 WordPress design trends with examples of real sites and ready-made themes.  This year we will focus on the trends that are new to the web community and which are intended to impress the audience with their creative looks.
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The New Year has come, and this means that it’s high time to see which predictions and suggestions, relating to 2016 web design trends (and WordPress web design trends in particular), have gained traction among the web audience.

It has become tradition for us to share such posts with WP Mayor fans. Last year we shared a compilation of 2015 WordPress web design trends with examples of real sites and ready-made themes.  This year we will focus on the trends that are new to the web community and which are intended to impress the audience with their creative looks.

It goes without saying that some of the most popular 2015 WordPress web design trends will keep on dictating web fashion in 2016. These include mobile-friendly designs, parallax scrolling, minimalist layouts with extraordinary navigation, bold typography, full-width layouts with dynamic backgrounds, and others.

Now it’s high time to immerse ourselves in the captivating words of trendy web designs for 2016. Just like last year, we will showcase WordPress sites that already exist and suggest free and premium WordPress themes with which those can be built.

Single image

A large, quality HD image is a proven way to captivate the users’ attention and get them interested in your products, services, etc. Because of the advances in bandwidth and data compression, you may be certain that your site’s visitors will enjoy quick page loading and seamless web browsing.

Taking into account that the image, animated illustration or video fills the screen, you should be extremely focused on the content and its hierarchy. The latter can be achieved by means of fonts of different sizes.

Hatch Collective

WordPress web design trends

Real Estate WordPress Theme

Real Estate WordPress Theme

Natural stock photography

Imagery is acknowledged as being one of the proven ways to communicate a message to your audience and engage them by means of captivating illustrations. In 2016, the trend of integrating images into web design will evolve even further.

Because of such websites as Unsplash, Pexels, PicJumbo and a number of others, you can bring beautiful and natural looking images into your online projects for free. The power of natural photography is tremendous. In addition to helping a site’s owner to communicate his/her ideas to the visitors more effectively, such visuals will help you to connect with your audience on a different emotional level.

As per Nielsen Norman Group, “Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to “jazz up” Web pages.”

Vicky Restaurant

WordPress web design trends

Beach Volleyball Club WordPress Theme

Beach Volleyball Club WordPress Theme

Vertically Split Screen

This trend is all about splitting the screen of your site vertically into two halves. These can consist of two different images featuring different texts, purposes, calls-to-action, etc. Here are two basic reasons to opt for this technique:

  • Promote two things that are of equal importance simultaneously. We used to think that all content on a web page should be organized according to a certain hierarchy. But what should one do when there are two equally important messages that you need to deliver to the viewers, and the implementation of the slider is not the best option? This is where a split screen comes in handy. The technique allows you to give prominence to both messages, letting your visitors decide which option is of the greater value to them.
  • Reveal important duality. For example, you can implement the technique to show two variations of one product, services that one team offers, the founders of one or two different projects, etc.

Rick & Drew

WordPress web design trends

Split WordPress Theme

Split WordPress Theme

eCommerce Integration

WordPress is no longer a CMS platform for blogs only. It has evolved into a powerful solution that can help you create any type of business that you may have in mind. Online stores are no exception, so the number of eCommerce sites running on WordPress is growing at a fast rate.

What’s more, taking into consideration the number of plugins and modules that the WordPress community has on offer, running a WordPress store seems like a win-win solution to grow your business web presence. Finally, there is a huge variety of eCommerce WordPress themes from trusted companies like TemplateMonster.

Protest Sportswear

WordPress web design trends

Food Store WooCommerce Theme

food store woocommerce theme

Card Layout

This technique was first presented by Pinterest and has gained popularity among the web audience. 2015 saw the launch of a number of such sites, however 2016 is expected to bring a real boost to the card based interfaces. Organization of information into “content containers” makes the page easier to scan and better balanced. In addition, the rectangular shape of cards makes them easier to adjust to different device breakpoints.

The Next Web

WordPress design trends

Personal Page WordPress Theme

Personal Page WordPress Theme

In fact, in such layouts, menus and tabs are minimized. This adds a very unusual look and feel to the design. Excluding headers or footers would be a great solution for those web resources looking for ways to achieve a more clean and minimalist online presentation.

Control Films

Control Films

Pixova Lite – Free Parallax WordPress Theme

Pixova Lite

Multipurpose WordPress Themes

Creating a website with the help of a ready-made template is both time- and cost-effective. Today, theme providers have gone even further and started to launch multi-purpose solutions that will work well for web resources of any type and any level of complexity.

Blogs, portfolios, corporate projects or eCommerce sites can be brought to life in a matter of days with the help of such solutions.

Monstroid Multi-purpose WordPress Theme


Almost-flat design

In 2015, we saw the rise of flat designs that were inspired by the Windows 8 interface. However, times change as well as the need of the web audience to try something new. Flat design is a great option for those web resources that want to achieve a clean look, without compromising on the visual appeal.

In 2016, web designers have come up with an idea to modify the trend by retaining its better qualities and enhancing it with new elements. Thus, almost-flat designs have been given more depth by means of subtle shadows, tile effects and transitions.

Themes Kingdom

WordPress web design trends

Travelify Responsive Travel WordPress Theme


Hidden Menus

Earlier, the technique was mostly used on mobile-friendly websites that needed to minimize navigation elements as much as possible, and replaced the standard horizontal panel with a minimalist 3-line hamburger icon.

Now, the technique is being actively used on desktop sites as well. Helping to save space, hidden menus make the layouts look cleaner and with zero distractions. In addition to that, while being commonly placed in a fixed position in the top right corner of the page, the hamburger icon lets the users find information that they are interested in, quickly and easily.

Wanda Print

WordPress design trends

Coherent WordPress Theme

WordPress design trends

Vibrant custom illustrations and iconography

Illustrations and iconography bring more fun and interactivity to the layouts. The technique works well for sites of any kind, not necessarily websites solely for kids.

Illustrations can be used anywhere on the site – from post images and the site’s backgrounds to the icons and other tiny web design elements. Illustrations create the effect of hand-drawn images, which make the layout look a little more personal. These also make it easier to establish contact with the audience.


WordPress design trends

OnTheGo WordPress Theme

OnTheGo WordPress Theme

Animated story

Content is King. However, the way you present your content to the audience is just as important. Interactive storytelling is rapidly gaining traction among web audiences. In 2016, animated stories are expected to rule the web.

Animated stories immediately capture the users’ attention, entertain and delight the users as they scroll down your page.

Schiphol Destination Unknown

WordPress web design trends

AWE – Free One Page WordPress Theme

WordPress design trends


Microinteractions happen all around us. From the moment when we wake up with the alarm clock until the time that you ‘like’ or ‘repost’ a picture on Instagram you are dealing with microinteractions.

Designed to be used without a second thought, the latter make our everyday life and web browsing more convenient and seamless. Microinteractions are an indispensable part of any mobile app. Intended to happen almost invisibly, microinteractions can be divided into several groups (based on their purpose). These include:

  • Microinteractions that communicate the status or bit of feedback.
  • Help the users to achieve something.
  • Showcase the results of an action.

Each of the aforementioned types of microinteractions is integrated into web design with the purpose of making the latter more human-centric and usable.

Team Les Chameaux


Dinosaur Park WordPress Theme

Dinosaur Park WordPress Theme

Long Scroll

Multiple researches have proven that web users prefer scrolling to clicking, especially when they reach websites using their handheld devices. Clearly, a long scroll web page is more convenient than the usual habit of click navigation. A long scroll website shouldn’t necessarily be confined to vertical navigation.

Horizontal, swiping or animation scrolling are also welcome. Maybe in 2016 we will be introduced to more creative ways of presenting long scroll websites. The thing to remember about this type of navigation is that it should be both interactive and user-friendly. Otherwise, what’s the point of upgrading your site in that way?


WordPress design trends

Awesome WordPress Theme



In scrolljacking, a website doesn’t scroll down the way a user expects it to. Though the technique has received mixed reactions on the web, it’s worth giving it a try. Scrolljacking should not be mixed with the parallax or infinite scroll. To some extent, it resembles tabs, with anchors that make it easier for your reader to come across the desired content.

Belle Epoque


Espresso WordPress Theme


Monochromatic Schemes

Complexity isn’t always the best solution if you want your site’s visitors to be focused on your content. Bold banners, sliders and backgrounds can distract the users’ attention from the primary goal of your web page. This is where monochromatic schemes will come in handy. Using several variations of a single color, such websites make the content more prominent and CTAs more captivating.


WordPress web design trends

Pinzolo Responsive WordPress Theme


These were 15 suggestions about WordPress web design trends that we expect to be the most popular among web developers in 2016. Now we would like to hear your opinion. Which of the aforementioned techniques do you think will perform at their full potential in 2016? Do you have any other trends in mind that should have been mentioned in this post? You are welcome to share your thoughts below.

Katherine Crayon

Katherine is a copywriter reporting on tech news and all aspects of the web design industry. Anyone looking for a magic kicker to get your own online business started meet her in person on and .

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2 Responses

  1. A recent survey revealed that users spend an average of 2 hours per day on their mobile which is 33 percent of their entire internet time. We have observed a constant growth in this over the last a few years as it was only 20 percent in 2012 and now have crossed 35 percent. There is no surprise that among young users aged 16-24 the mobile usage is much higher, nearly 4 hours a day. Looking at these stats, it is clear that we are marching towards a society where users will spend a larger part of their internet time on mobile. Especially, the young generation, which will reach to this tipping point very early with mobile usage crossing the 50 per cent threshold in most major markets by 2018.

  2. Nice extended blog post. Like it, especially because I’m extraordinary interested in design. Thank you, helpful for me.

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