Digital trends and expectations change constantly. Some come and stay just for a season, then become completely forgotten. But other trends transform the design landscape for years to come, awakening a new era in the way websites are created.
Keeping up with the hottest web design trends and innovative practices is vital for all businesses aiming to capture and convert users. It’s even better if one can pioneer a trend or implement a new idea that others can follow and level up to.
2020 has allowed designers to create innovative concepts using limitless technical possibilities. Dark themes and neumorphism have become quite popular. Plenty of space for challenging the conventional has inspired designers to mix illustrations with realism, play with layers, shadows, and floating elements and to experiment with color-changing gradients and bold fonts. What is more, videos and user-triggered animations have been leveraged towards user engagement.
This focus on creativity, boldness, and interactivity is something that will surely stick in 2021, but with a little twist. Visitors need more than just a cool interface to engage with.
In 2021, we will see more web designers concentrating on accessibility and usability as well as implementing enhanced functionality in order to give visitors a better experience.
If you’re looking for ways to catch the user’s eye and boost your brand’s digital presence we present to you some of the hottest web design trends to follow in 2021.
1. Focus on Accessibility
With 4 billion users online everyday it is crucial that web designs in the coming year are accessible, inclusive and available to everyone.
Web accessibility means designing and developing websites, technologies, and tools in a way that people with disabilities are able to use them.
If your website is adapted to all visitors, this will allow you to reach a wider audience who is willing to stay on your site longer and engage. Making your pages accessible is beneficial not only to visitors but to yourself as well. On the one hand, you are providing access to information and interaction for people with disabilities, while on the other, you’re increasing your page’s conversion rate and improving your SEO.
Some tips for improved website accessibility include:
- Use contrasting colors between the background and the text.
- Adopt focus indicators that outline links and shapes on the web page when using keyboard navigation.
- Place labels to help give instructions
- Have functional image alt tags, which also help boost SEO.
2. Asymmetric Layout & Shapes
Asymmetry was popular in 2020 and it will continue to be so during 2021. This approach challenges the traditional way of building a website’s layout onto a grid and offers more edge and individuality.
Asymmetric shapes are useful. They make a website less blocky and much more exciting to look at. The varying degrees of asymmetric shapes and the space between each allow for bolder and unpredictable patterns as well as clean asymmetrical lines. Just keep in mind that there must be visual balance between the various forms. Your website should be easy on the eyes in addition to having a unique and functional design.
3. Dark Themes on the Rise
Dark-colored themes are a trend that is not going away anytime soon. Many apps have adopted this feature, allowing users to switch between light and dark modes whenever they want. In fact, with better supported CSS media queries like prefers-color-scheme, developers can even make the switch between dark or light themes automatically.
This cool modern trend is incorporated by many brands like Apple, Mercedes-Benz, and Sony. Dark colors can make the overall look of a webpage more sleek and elegant. The increased contrast ratio makes the design elements more visible which can be very beneficial for web accessibility. Dark modes help with eye strain, headaches and long-term sight problems. They are also fantastic for OLED/AMOLED screens as these prolong the life of the screen and save battery power.
4. Creative Use of Color and Design
Colors are actually a psychological phenomenon and have a big effect on the persuasiveness of a website. Humans perceive color more with their brain rather than with their eyes. They subconsciously associate particular shades with specific emotions, cultures, social messages, feelings and events. Hence, evoking specific emotions in your visitors is closely related to picking out the right color palette.
First impressions count and with around 2 billion websites out there it’s important to make sure that any first impression is long lasting. When selecting your web design’s color scheme, you are also invoking sensations associated with each color. Your design should be able to effectively capture and retain the attention of users. It should also satisfy the emotional needs of your target audience as well as enhance brand association, recognition and awareness.
In 2021, using color combinations creatively means pairing together colors that your audience wouldn’t normally expect to see combined. Of course, in order to not make your visitors’ eyes hurt, the color combination should be adapted to the graphics. This will not only help your site stand out from other minimalist designs but it will stick with your audience better as well.
5. Bold Fonts, Big Headlines
Big headlines and bold fonts are not innovations, but they have recently started taking over websites again. Why? Because they are effective and attract the attention of visitors. Using bold letters adds emphasis to brave and striking messages and prompt users to take action.
Visitors tend to read big headlines first. That is why these play a huge role in making a good impression. Using different fonts and section titles creates visual hierarchy, ensures readability and acts as guidelines when you have a lot of information displayed.
Strong typography, like vintage designs, can give a modern look to your webpage. But regardless of your style, it is important to ensure that the font is properly sized on all devices.
Here variable fonts come to the rescue. These fonts enable designers to derive numerous variants from a single file, making it easier to adjust the typeface to various viewpoints, orientations, devices, etc. Not to mention, variable fonts allow a greater flexibility to typographical elements and undoubtedly reduce the constraints of current font formats.
6. Data Visualisation
Humans are visual creatures, so there’s no denying that they respond better to graphics than to words and numbers. In 2021, data will be a great asset to your webpages. However,while users do care about stats, they don’t enjoy figuring out what they mean.
Presenting numbers in a smart way greatly emphasizes the information you are providing. Data visualization shapes boring data into catchy graphics, thus making it much more engaging and easy to understand. It allows users to better comprehend business specific information.
This practice also helps users make informed business decisions using graphically displayed data as opposed to long tabular reports. Not to mention, it is highly beneficial to individuals that have different skill levels in data analytics.
7. Interactive Design, 3D and Microanimations
Stunning original illustrations are amazing, but in the upcoming year you will have to add motion to your interface. Interactive web features, like non-traditional scrolling or scroll-triggered animations, provide users with a guided experience through your website and ensure a more intuitive and effortless user journey.
3D elements and visuals stretch the boundaries between virtual and real and encourage users to spend more time on a particular page. Animations and micro animations are a superb alternative to videos. They are another hot trend in 2021 for UI/UX design. They are also much lighter on your website compared to videos.
For a complete and immersive user experience your website must be fast-loading and web-optimized. Use these interactive design elements wisely to ensure that your pages perform exceptionally well.
8. Virtual but Almost Real (VR)
Want to take the 3D animations up a notch? We’ve got two letters for you – V and R.
In 2021, Virtual Reality will definitely be a growing trend in web design. WebVR is a powerful tool that provides users with useful and meaningful content. It creates a glimpse of reality that is especially beneficial in the purchasing decision process because it offers a more personal interaction.
For instance, IKEA’s augmented reality (AR) app allows users to actually see how a new piece of furniture would fit into their home. The app uses scaling technology to scan the room and show the consumer a realistically-rendered, true-to-scale 3D version of the product they wish to see.
Airbnb has also incorporated VR into their services, giving users the opportunity to have a virtual tour of properties before booking one. The technology used includes 360-degree photos and 3D scans which make it easier for guests to have a better idea of what to expect.
And let’s not forget about Google Earth where one can teleport to any point on the globe and stroll along the streets of any city or soar above the countryside.
This technology is likely to revolutionize web design practices, thus bringing more industry specific advancements. Widespread VR is still being developed, but there is no doubt that it will become an important part of more app and web designs.
Bonus Trend: Voice User Interface (VUI)
So, imagine using your voice to browse online shops the same way you use it with Google, or Siri, or Alexa. Although Voice User Interface (VUI) is not a common thing for many web pages (yet), this is a growing web design trend.
There is no doubt that VUI is tricky to design. Around 20% of the voice searches include 25 keywords, meaning that users would most probably have to use specific words to see their desired content, and designers would have to do user specific research that also depends on the web page they are designing.
Furthermore, this futuristic UI/UX trend is incredibly beneficial when improving web accessibility. It will definitely reinvent how users browse for information.
All of the web design trends that we will be seeing in 2021 are focused on improving the user experience through creative approaches. This means that it is not only about having a website with incredible visuals, but to ensure that it is responsive, accessible and truly engaging.
Incorporating one, two or a few of the above design trends can elevate your brand’s appeal in 2021, improve user satisfaction and boost the conversion rate of your page. We sincerely hope you test them out and they meet your desired goals.