Well, that was 2016–and what a year it’s been! Forget world politics for a moment, let’s gather the crowd, shout it aloud, and look back on what the last twelve months meant for web design.
Our very own Cyan spoke with The Sunrise about Envato’s early days.
“Remote work and a results driven work environment were baked in [..] right from the start.” – Cyan Ta’eed speaking on The Sunrise’s AMA
February was a busy month as the year started gearing up. Adobe launched Animate CC (formerly known as “Flash”, which some of you might remember), then with somewhat poetic irony, the original Envato flagship activeden.net shut its doors for the last time.
In more positive news, a rejuvenated envato.com launched:
The Chinese mainland rang in the “Year of the Fire Monkey”, so Kendra wrote a piece on it for us: Happy Year of the Monkey! Decrypting Chinese New Year’s Symbolism in UI Design.
Jon Gold tweeted this rather divisive, but hugely resonant comment (what did you think?)
which one of the two possible websites are you currently designing? pic.twitter.com/ZD0uRGTqqm— kerning man 🤜💥🤛 (@jongold) February 2, 2016
How did the web improve in February? We published John Hartley’s (excellent) Beginner's Guide to Web Accessibility, and Google, in their quest for a better web, launched AMP listings in mobile search results. Has AMP improved things? Did Google just add another layer of complexity to our jobs as web designers? You decide.
Building on momentum from the Chinese new year Kendra asked (and figured out) how do you say Envato in Chinese? Spoiler, it’s: 艺云台.
In terms of books, Design for Real Life hit the A Book Apart shelves, and Val Head gave us this (thanks Val):
April was a month during which discussion around the ethics of using ad blockers went up a notch; users are sick of slow websites and intrusion, content creators need to earn money in order to do their job. Tricky.
Zach Leatherman rated U.S. presidential candidates based on their font loading strategies.
May 2016 saw Adobe launch Spark; its graphic design app for creating social graphics, web stories and animated videos. Netflix launched fast.com, arguably the simplest web speed testing tool on the web.
And Kim won a Webby for breaking the internet:
“Nude selfies till I die” – Kim Kardashian West
Summer arrived, and with it Google invited us to “find out how well our sites work across mobile and desktop devices” with the launch of testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. Other Google teams were busy too, Google Fonts launched a swish new redesign:
We published some practical, yet technical tutorials:
- jQueryHow to Build an Infinite Scroll Experience With the History Web APIThoriq Firdaus
- CSSHow to Build a News Website Layout with FlexboxJeremy Thomas
- AnimationHow to Animate a Coffee-Drinking Sprite With ScrollMagicDennis Gaebel
Oak Studios launched one of the most inspiring (certainly color-wise) websites of the year–their own:
Craig Campbell addressed the world’s pressing need to learn motion design, in one of our most popular courses this year 3 GreenSock Projects: Practical Animation With GSAP.
“But I also just work a lot. I have a fairly heavy workload. I’m a person who’s just comfortable working a lot.” – Collis Ta’eed, on Management. Disrupted.
Envato’s birthday was a fitting time to introduce something a bit different:
In terms of tutorials, Kezz Bracey explained how to setup a Jekyll theme. And how did the web get better? Google announced that it would start penalizing “intrusive interstitials” (annoying pop-ups to you and me).
Stripe did the same, showing off a spanking new homepage. See more of Stripe’s design work by following the team on Dribbbble.
Whilst the world was embroiled in the U.S. Presidential Election, it emerged that Donald Trump had neglected to register certain (pretty important) domains. This left trump.org and trump.tv, amongst others, out of his campaign’s control.
Putting encryption, data integrity, and authentication at the top of the priority list, Envato Market moved over to HTTPS.
Kevin Marks followed up on what Christian Miller wrote in September, giving us How the Web Became Unreadable.
A certain front-end framework turned five:
Finally, Caniuse introduced “date relative mode” in order to highlight when browser versions were released and therefore when they adopted technologies.
There were a number of releases; Sketch 41 hit the shelves, with a fresh new look, nested symbols, and more. iA Writer 4 was released, and Brad Frost published his long awaited Atomic Design, the book. On the flip side, Fontdeck closed its doors.
Big improvements were made to debugging the web with web tools:
“Our goal at Chrome Dev Tools is to maximize your productivity as a developer.” – Paul Irish, Chrome Dev Summit 2016
Then Jason Levine did that thing at Adobe Max.
A significant internet usage milestone was crossed:
Twelve months in and a few things were launched to mark the end of the year: Tim Kadlec launched www.webworldwide.io, Ethan Marcotte launched a (responsive) redesign of his own website. WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan” (along with the brand new Twenty Seventeen default theme) was released.
To round off the month we were given inspiring and strong design as theoutline.com launched:
“What got us here, won’t get us there.” – Matt Mullenweg, State of the Word 2016
Here’s to 2017!
That wraps up our quick look at web design in 2016! What did you feel was significant this year? How did web design change, and where do you think it’s going? What are you looking forward to in 2017?
I’ll just leave you with this: