If you're planning to build or revamp your travel website, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the latest web design trends. While we wouldn't suggest you integrate all of the following five trends, it could be well worth your while adopting one or two.
Unless you want to be changing your website every six months or so, it's important to identify the trends which have longevity and avoid the ones which are going to end up winding up your visitors (we're looking at you, scroll-jacking).
Here are five that we believe could have legs:
1. Mobile first websites
This one's a bit of a no-brainer, we must admit. For the past 20 years, it's been all about how a website appears on a desktop computer. However, there's an argument that the desktop version should now take a back seat in a firm's list of priorities and they should be more concerned about what their website looks like on a mobile device.
It's not inconceivable to optimise both, of course – in fact, that should be the goal – but there is a general feeling that brands should be working from their mobile website backwards and we're inclined to agree.
2. Subtle animations
You can expect to see a lot more animation techniques used in web design over the coming year. It's not a new trend, of course, but 2016 will see designers be more effective and less annoying with their attempts to integrate animation.
Those who like the sound of animation should consider motion design, which can help bring a website to life in very subtle, unexpected ways. The trick is to ensure each animation benefits the user in some way, therefore positively impacting their experience, as opposed to slowing it down.
Not the nicest trend to say, cinemagraphs, but they're a fine thing to behold. If you're not too sure what a cinemagraph looks like, it's those still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs.
They might be fairly slight in design terms, but for a travel company who wants to create an elegant and arresting feel to their website, they could prove invaluable. They're pretty mesmeric, too, which could have people lingering on your website for longer than intended...
4. Gaussian blur
Loading speed is everything these days. If your website takes too long to load, your visitors will head for the exit. Simple as that. With that in mind, designers have been making good use of the Gaussian blur effect, after Facebook engineers revealed that it helps speed up page loading time by 30%.
That's because applying a Gaussian blur has the effect of reducing the image's high-frequency components. As a background image, it looks pretty impressive, too.
5. Minimalist, user-orientated design
Strictly speaking, this isn't a trend unique to 2016, but we think the "less-is-more" approach will be adopted by firms everywhere this year. It's easy to see why: it encourages firms to think from the user's perspective, it keeps loading times to a minimum, and it ensures a sophisticated look to your website.
The key is to fall on the right side of minimalistic. You don't want it to look desolate – it's all about finding a healthy balance. That's true of all the trends, we'd say.