It's easy: It has to be SIMPLE!
What makes a website (or an application) work is its simplicity, both in usage and design. Some people call it having a pure design.
But being pure doesn't necessarily mean less elements. You have to re-think how you present your information, or when to present them. What I mean is that it's not always necessary to show everything as soon as your page pops up. Long gone are the times when everything had to be in your page's header. Nowadays, you can hide your menu with a simple button, or just display some information when you scroll. Here are some more current trends.
The proliferation of similarly designed user interfaces (UI)
The arrival of responsive designs has caused lots of websites to have a similar look and feel, but being responsive isn't the only culprit. The wide range of Wordpress themes that you can purchase at a ridiculously low price has also helped to standardize design.
But having a similar look isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's like an application, once you know one, you know a thousand. Everything is structured in the same way so you know (most of the time) where you're going. There's always a "File" menu and the "X" button in the upper-right corner is used to close the window. Why re-invent the wheel? Well, before you stop re-inventing the wheel, you have to make sure that it's perfectly round first! A couple of years ago we could say that it was maybe more like an octagon than a circle. Nowadays, web interface has rounded up a little and is more efficient than it used to be.
One of the examples that you've probably seen before is the burger menu (3 horizontal lines). The vast majority of people now know that below that button, you'll find your website's main menu.
Now you know why a large range of websites use the same user interface (UI). UI has now matured and we're pretty much approaching the end of possible innovation with our current technologies.
Hello loooooong pages!
Why are pages so long? Once again, simplicity is the answer. It's much easier to just scroll with your thumb than click on a menu and try to find the page you're looking for. Most people are already used to long pages. This technique is particularly useful when telling a story. And if ever you want to try and immitate multiple pages, all you have to do is break the design and make sure your content blocks are different.
Another design we're seeing more and more: Cards
Popularized by Pinterest, mosaic cards are poping up everywhere on the web because you can quickly find what interests you. Cards work like content boxes and their rectangular shape allows for an easy conversion on all devices.
We like it big!
Another trend that's been around for a while is the use of big photos to get your attention. The picture takes almost the entire screen, and that's exactly what we want. For a good example, go visit Navtours.com. Don't you agree that an image is worth a thousand words? And in this case, it might be worth even more!
Animations are back!
Don't worry, GIF animations for websites "in construction" and stuff like that is still out! But there are a couple of things that are allowing certain types of animations to make a comeback.
Sometimes, pure designs can end up being too straight, maybe even boring. Animations allow portions of your website to get your attention and allows you to display more information, in less space. There are also new kinds of animations in CSS, SVG, and yes, GIFs are also back in the Web's good grace.
Social media saturation and the return of the newsletter
Social networks have been a huge success for users everywhere, but there are some content producers that aren't so happy.
The problem is saturation. With billions of messages each day, Facebook must filter its content. His algorithm understands what its users want to see and only shows them what might interest them. That causes over time a reduction in the views your articles get (something you can fix by boosting your post on Facebook).
Since social networks won't disappear anytime soon, we've seen lots of bloggers come back to the good old newsletter. They've noticed that newsletters have an important advantage on social networks: a much higher percentage of people will actually see what you're sending them.