A lot has changed since the first website was published nearly 30 years ago.
Web design is an industry laced with hundreds of thousands of tech jargon and buzzwords. On top of that, best practices are constantly changing and evolving at an extremely rapid pace. Although it can potentially be overwhelming, it’s what shapes the world of web design to be exceptionally exciting.
With that said, it is essential to keep up with this fast-paced landscape by staying abreast of the latest trends and best practices in relation to web design and functionality. In being on top of pivotal trends, you can ensure that your website design remains relevant while operating effectively when it comes to marketing your brand and driving conversions.
Web Design Trends Every Business Should Know About
- Natural, fluid design shapes and elements
Slowly but surely, design is becoming more human-centric than ever before. Web designers are moving away from using sharp corners, straight lines, and flat geometric elements—and towards experimenting with more intriguing yet organic shapes. Rather than drawing solid structures like squares and triangles, designers are currently working with elements inspired by nature like the smooth curves of mountains, hills, and lakes.
Since these free-drawn, organic shapes are naturally smooth and asymmetrical, it sparks a feeling of friendliness, warmness, and accessibility that captures the calm energy of nature and spontaneity of human beings. Aside from adding depth to the design, these natural elements also help brands build valuable connections with their audience by making websites feel less technical and more human.
- Asymmetrical grid layouts
In line with organic elements, asymmetrical grid layouts are also starting to become more and more popular nowadays. Drawn from the absence of symmetry in nature—from the shape of oceans to the branches of trees—asymmetrical grid layouts aim to create a pleasing visual tension in a manner that is considered thought-provoking and engaging.
As tricky as it is to pull off, more and more web designers are abandoning the rigid grid and embracing and experimenting with creating asymmetrical websites to stand out in the modern digital space.
- Video content
While video content has been around for years—the trend of integrating them into web design has recently risen to be one of the top priorities. As more and more people prefer experiential formats over static, text-heavy content, web designers are continuing to engage users and provide information through video content.
Although adding video into websites is no longer news, what’s new is Google’s mixed search page results that prioritize video content above traditional search results. In integrating video into websites, brands have a greater chance of ranking higher in SERPs, attracting more visitors, and efficiently boosting organic traffic.
- Mobile-first navigation and animation
As we live in a world where mobile has clearly overtaken desktop use, thumb-friendly navigation and design animation are now dominating the web. In pursuit of improving user experience, designers are employing the key findings in the book Designing for Touch authored by Josh Clark in their design processes. Nowadays, we’ll be seeing more and more of those hamburger menus—however, instead of seeing them somewhere above the page, you’ll now notice it being moved to the bottom of your screens for much easier access.
Also, to further cater to mobile users, we’re expecting a rise in scroll-based animations that lead viewers towards the main highlights of the page.
- Black and white design aesthetic
Harnessing the power of a wide array of colour in design is one way to create an impactful and memorable website. So, choosing a black and white design aesthetic may initially sound counterintuitive. Nevertheless, we’re currently seeing a wave of daring grayscale web designs successfully turning heads and attracting attention—triumphantly standing out from the crowd.
In developing more stirring branding, we expect to come across more websites that leverage this design constraint as it continues to push the boundaries of design.
Less is more is perhaps one of the most overused clichés of all time, yet it remains true and relevant even in the field of web design. Minimalist websites have clean and crisp interfaces that directly convey content by removing the unnecessary clutter of using superfluous design elements and functions. In using fewer elements and keeping distractions down to a minimum, viewers can spend less time finding the information they need. Despite the evident backlash, we will continue to see more of eye-catching, clear typography juxtaposed with fitting whitespace in the coming years.
- Bold typography-based layouts
No list of web design trends will be complete without mentioning typography—a fundamental element in design. Today, we’ll be coming across bold typography with tons of personality a lot more as we move towards the era of content. Instead of drowning content in impressive design elements, bold typography-based layouts focus on giving words a physical presence. Marrying words with design helps lead the viewers’ eyes towards important content.
As one of their primary focuses, web designers are highlighting words by using eye-catching effects and animations together with experimenting with different styles including italic, bold, and outlined typography. It may seem simplistic, but it can make a huge difference when it comes to the overall user experience.
- Retro-inspired look
We are to expect seeing more vintage, nostalgic design aesthetic as the retro-inspired style continues to creep back into the field of web design. As we shift towards using cool old-school elements, we’ll be catching sight of muted colour palettes and old-fashioned layouts that will take you back in time. When implemented well, this design trend can be the key to enhancing visual composition and increasing website traffic because it “speaks” to users on an emotional level.
Rather than featuring long-form content, using colourful, attention-grabbing illustrations in design helps brands get noticed. Illustrations can clearly express and communicate a brand’s identity, core values, and personality to viewers. It’s a more engaging and impactful way to bridge the gap between companies and consumers.
Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. When applying this design trend, it is much easier to successfully market brands, drive conversions, and thrive in today’s ever-competitive economic landscape.
- Microinteractions and microcopies
As our eyes are instinctively drawn to movement, leveraging microinteractions is a good design strategy to invite and engage users to further interact with a brand’s website. Microinteractions involve the use of hover animations, chimes and beeps, notification count display, among others. Aside from showcasing the brand’s personality, these subtle yet functional and rewarding design elements help create a more streamlined and personalized user experience.
In taking the effects of a visually enriched site further, web designers are starting to incorporate witty, charming microcopy to add a touch of playfulness. We all know that in recent years, content has evolved into an important element of design. Although previously invisible, microcopy is now becoming more influential when it comes to establishing a brand’s voice and tone and boosting user experience.
Outdated Web Design Tactics You Need to Avoid
In the digital age, online presence is a term that rightfully gets thrown around a lot as it plays a crucial role in every sound marketing strategy. No matter the size of your business or the industry it operates in, a strong online presence is essential in establishing your brand in the digital space.
Nowadays, simply being on multiple social media platforms won’t cut it—a professionally-built website is necessary. While understanding and keeping abreast with the industry trends goes a long way, it’s also vital to know about outdated web design tactics you need to avoid.
Here are some of the most common mistakes you should steer clear of:
- Poor readability
Surely, you’ve come across a website with text layouts that are so hard to read, you’re forced to squint. While some may continue to engage, most visitors will simply close the tab and go to some other site instead—often, ending up on a competitor website.
No one wants to lose potential customers to a competitor, which is why you should ensure that your website is reader-friendly, be it on desktop or mobile. We recommend working together with your web designer to agree on the best font size for your site, but make sure your body text should be at least 16px to be readable on mobile devices.
- No definitive call to action
Your website should have a clear, definitive goal and it should translate into a compelling call-to-action (CTA). By communicating your website’s purpose, you’re sure to prompt action from users.
Say, you’re running an e-commerce website. It’s pretty much mandatory for you to incorporate a CTA button on product pages that says “Buy Now” or “Add to Bag/Cart”. Keep in mind that such buttons must be strategically placed to entice visitors to further interact with your website.
Although having CTAs is great, it is important to remember that having too much of anything is bad. Too many buttons can distract users from conversion goals and drive away customers as your website could come off as too pushy.
- Confusing navigation
Your website navigation essentially serves as a map of your website. If users can’t find their way around your site, their chances at any conversion are virtually zero. User experience should be your first priority when building your website—getting around should be easy and intuitive.
Do some research. If your visitors take a lot of time figuring out how to use your website, then it might be time for you to work on revamping it. Try to get rid of unnecessary web functions and design elements. Also, as more and more people are choosing mobile over desktop, make sure to apply navigation tactics that are mobile-friendly to cater to their needs.
- Overwhelming animation
While animation can help engage your audience, having too much may cause your website bounce rate to skyrocket as it could distract, or worse, annoy users. An overwhelming amount of animation and movement can pull the attention of potential customers away from the vital parts of your website, like CTAs and content offers.
Be conservative with your animation by only using attention-grabbing movement to lead website users towards important information and helpful prompts, including contact details, CTA buttons, and promotional content.
- Cluttered design
All too often, in an effort to squeeze information into a single fold, we come across websites that are so cluttered that it almost literally hurts our eyes. This isn’t simply an aesthetic issue, but it is also a costly problem as it leads potential buyers to leave your business website.
As minimalist web design continues to dominate the digital space, users are beginning to appreciate clean and well-organized websites where they can easily locate what they need in just a few taps.
- Too many pop-up windows
Dealing with too many chatbot notifications and pop-up windows within a website can be bothersome—infuriating even. While pop-ups can draw the users’ eyes to important information, limited-time offers, and CTAs, overdoing it can chase away your sales opportunities.
When designing your website, keep your pop-up windows to a minimum. Also, try to avoid pop-ups with long content or interstitial windows that cover the entire web page.
Keep up with the trends to stay ahead of the curve
Since the dawn of smartphones, people have demanded information to be at their fingertips instantly. Now more than ever, individuals are expecting businesses both big and small to have a strong online presence along with a well-built brand website that offers users personalized and meaningful experiences. In a study by Henny Grove, a UX Research Lead at Google, she states that. “Mobile users are very goal-oriented. They expect to be able to get what they need, immediately, and on their own terms.”
As user experience takes centre stage, one of the key factors you should bear in mind during the web design process is this: Prioritize optimizing your website’s mobile experience to help fulfil users’ needs as efficiently and quickly as possible, without unnecessary interruptions along the way.
Aside from staying up-to-date with the latest trends, it is necessary to grasp the value of providing a positive experience through intuitive and strategically placed web design elements, features, and functionalities. By adding a touch of humanity, you can successfully weave your brand identity and personality into your website.
When was the last time you took a long, hard look at your website’s usability and design? In the modern age, it’s in your best interest to constantly evaluate and improve your website to meet the needs of modern users while keeping them engaged.