In an age when users take just about 50 milliseconds to form their opinion about a website, it is critical for designers, marketers, business owners, and other stakeholders in the ecosystem to be clued into the hottest web design trends. With users’ patronage of a website (or the lack of it) having a direct bearing on your business’s earnings, knowing how to get your website to stand out amongst the crowd can be vital.
The following trends, therefore, will help you with all you need to know in 2020 to beat the competition on the web design front. While some of these trends continue from recent years with minor changes, there are others that might take you by surprise. The latter kind, however, are also the ones that are the most likely to give your website the edge it needs. Each trend prediction in the article below is backed up by relevant statistics to provide background on the specific topic.
Web Design Trends to Keep up With in 2021
- Minimalist design
- Effective use of white space
- Use of chatbots
- Mobile optimization
- CSS Grid layout system support
- Use of video over text
- Adoption of accessibility features
- Adoption of voice commands
- Use of AR
- Greater user focus
21 Key Trends in Web Design
1. Page Load Speed Optimization
53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
According to another study by Google, visually complex websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts, and users make this judgment within 1/50th to 1/20th of a second. Given the need for speed—an increasingly common expectation among internet users—along with the general higher aesthetic value associated with simple designs, minimalist design is one of the hottest web design trends in 2020. So if you want that sophisticated look for your website, keep it simple.
2. Negative Space
Proper use of white space in design can improve readability by 20%.
The increasing use of white space in web design is closely related to the principle of keeping things simple and uncluttered. The effective use of white space (which doesn’t necessarily have to be white in color) can also provide greater definition of existing visual elements, attract attention, and create a feeling of luxury, not to forget the functional benefit of improving page load time. Little wonder then that this has become one of the latest web design trends. We expect several more sites sporting the classy look that white space (or negative space, as it is also known as) in the days to come.
3. Using AI For Automation & Customization
82% of marketing leaders are adopting AI to improve their personalization strategies while 64% are relying on it to deliver more precisely targeted content.
With the business value created by artificial intelligence predicted to reach $3.9 trillion by 2022, there are few domains that will remain unaffected by AI. Web design is not one of them. In web design, AI will have a positive impact in multiple ways, making it one of the most important emerging web design trends. One, AI will help automate the design process, leaving designers with more time to ideate and innovate. Two, it will help websites become conversational, with the wide acceptance of chatbots. Three, and this is probably the most important aspect, it will make design more contextual, allowing the delivery of personal, tailored experiences to users.
4. Chatbot Customer Support
90% of businesses report faster complaint resolution with bots.
While the growing popularity of chatbots is driven largely by development in AI and machine learning, it is a prominent trend by itself, thus deserving a place among the top web design industry trends for 2020. Smarter AI-driven bots have been getting much better at resolving complex customer queries 24/7 as compared to the fixed database automated services of the past. Nearly 85% of customer interactions are expected to be handled without a human agent by 2020, and the incorporation of chatbots into web design will have a prominent role to play in this development.
5. Mobile First
85% of adults think a company’s website on a mobile device should be as good or better than its desktop website.
Statistics regularly show that businesses that don’t have a website designed with mobile usage in mind tend to lose a significant number of customers. While adaptive website design is not a new trend, it will continue to be one that web design agencies will have to focus on very strongly in the times to come. Designers will have to ensure that important information is available to the site visitors no matter what device or browser they access the site from, without any loss in visual appeal.
6. CSS Grid Layout
Nearly 94% of global website traffic now supports the CSS Grid layout system.
CSS Grid, a new way of creating layouts on the web, has been around for a few years now, but one of the hurdles in its widespread adoption was the limited support for it on common browsers. Since 2017, this has been changing, paving the way for the use of CSS Grid to become one of the important new trends in web design. Apart from allowing for cleaner markups, better maintainability, and lighter code, CSS Grid is particularly useful from the perspective of mobile responsiveness. Its flexibility saves web designers from having to design for different devices and ensures that the user experience is great no matter what the screen size is.
7. Motion Design
A website is 53 times more likely to be shown on Google’s first page if it includes motion.
One of the implications of consumers being short on time is that they appreciate if all necessary information on a website is made available to them fast and comprehensible. This is why motion design is one of the top web design trends in 2020. The use of simple animations and GIFs helps present complex ideas in a short amount of time and is more engaging than simple text or image. Also, GIFs have a lower effect on page load speed when compared to videos.
8. Video Content
72% of consumers prefer video over text to learn about a product or service.
As per the previous point, there are some pieces of information that are just better conveyed through video. Whether it’s the greater complexity possible through it or the longer time that a video can play for, the use of videos is one of those top trends in web design that are going to continue for some time. However, even in the use of video, there are aspects like relevance, simplicity, and optimized duration that designers will have to give more importance to in order to derive complete value.
9. Voice Search Optimization
The value of voice commerce is expected to jump to $40B by 2022 from just $2B in 2018.
Consumers are becoming increasingly used to voice-based tech, especially smart speakers and voice search on smartphones. According to voice search statistics, 55% of households are expected to own smart speaker devices by 2022. In the age of Siri and Alexa, the incorporation of voice user interface (VUI) to enhance UX is among the newest web design trends. The adoption of voice commands within web interfaces will make it easier for websites to be accessed by voice search and smart speakers, dramatically changing user experience on the internet.
10. Interactive Content
Interactive content generates 2x more conversions than passive content.
The overload of content has desensitized internet users to much of what is presented to them on websites. One way to produce better engagement is the use of interactive features like quizzes, games, and polls, which have the additional advantage of higher quality perception. As technology development makes it easier to add complex and dynamic elements in web design, interactivity is going to be among the more important web design strategy trends in the next few years. This will also include new types of interactive elements like integrated videos and animated scrolling.
11. 3D Modeling & Rendering
The global 3D CAD software market is projected to reach $13B by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 6.2% between 2019 and 2025.
3D modeling and rendering have been expensive propositions for a very long time. However, with wider use and falling costs, it is becoming easier to incorporate 3D design into everything from films to websites. The main benefit of investing in 3D features is that, if done well, they are proven to improve user engagement. This makes the rise of 3D modeling and rendering one of the most important future trends in web design. A number of brands, such as Adidas, are already making good use of 3D elements to add interactivity to their websites and, thus, increase time spent there.
12. Accessibility Optimization
Only 10% of websites worldwide are accessible to people with disabilities.
This means that a large part of the internet remains difficult to access for the nearly 1 billion people with disabilities in the world. With the rise in cases against sites that do not conform to accessibility standards, as well as a general rise in awareness among business owners, marketers, and designers, we expect to see the adoption of accessibility features as one of the major website design trends in 2020.
Micro-interactions are associated with increase in user engagement, buyer motivation, conversion, and trust and reduction in cognitive loads and user frustration.
Micro-interactions, small design elements that affect the way in which users interact with websites or apps, have been around for some time now. However, as their positive role in enhancing user experience, especially in ecommerce, is understood more widely, we expect them to become one of the top ecommerce web design trends in 2020. At the same time, while developing innovative micro-interactions has become easier, designers will have to be careful about using them smartly, focusing on simplicity, multiple use, and longevity.
14. AR (Augmented Reality) Experience
71% of shoppers would prefer to go to stores that offer AR experiences.
While much hype has surrounded both AR and VR for a few years now, AR is finally expected to really catch on in the next few years. Thanks to increasing user expectations, easier availability of design tools, and the development of smartphones, the use of AR to make user experiences more immersive is one of the latest trends in web design. Some brands like IKEA have already proven that the smart use of AR can have a substantial impact on user engagement, prompting others to offer everything from 360-degree views to virtual try-on options. While VR will see a slower pace of development, thanks to the absence of widely used wearable devices, the increasing use of mobile phones to access the internet is likely to provide a boost to the use of AR in web design.
15. A/B Testing
A/B tests can boost conversions up to 300%.
With massive improvements in big data, the use of the huge amount of data being churned out every day to deliver a better user experience is among the top recent trends in web design. Use of tools like heat map analysis, site search analysis, and traffic analysis allow you to capture user behavior patterns in real-time, with the interpretation from this data used to consistently improve the design features. This data has always been there, but we expect better use of it for that extra edge in the near term.
Asymmetrical layouts can be interesting and dynamic while symmetric ones are predictable and boring.
Asymmetric layouts have been used in web design for years, but they’re used more often now to make websites stand out from the crowd. UX design agencies are trying every trick in the book to grab attention in the era of shortening attention spans, and the broken-grid structures of asymmetric design generally provide the right uniqueness to make site visitors stop and focus on the design elements. Again, the mantra is to use such elements in a balanced manner and not make the site too busy and confusing.
17. Bold Typography
Bold typography helps with conveying a message effectively and encouraging brand recall.
Bold or loud typography is another feature that has been popular for some time. In fact, if you are regular with web design news, you would have noted its inclusion in 2019 trends for web design as well. The use of bold typography ties in well with the growing affinity for minimalist design, and therefore, we expect it to be seen in more web design projects in 2020. Big, bold, and custom fonts can be challenging for mobile responsiveness but, when used well, can leave a long-lasting impression on your site visitors.
18. SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) Format
SVG image file format usage has risen from 14.1% in November 2018 to 20.4% in November 2019.
This makes Scalable Vector Graphics the format with the greatest usage growth in the last year. SVG is part of current web design trends for very good reasons. In keeping with the theme of greater mobile responsiveness, SVG images, unlike GIF or JPG, do not lose their quality when the screen size is changed. This also enables saving them in the smallest size possible, helping keep websites load-time-friendly. While conventional image file formats do have certain advantages of their own, the benefits from SVG images will see further growth in their popularity in the times to come.
19. Sticky Social Media Share Buttons
Sticky social media buttons help link a website to social media, which drives 31% of all referral traffic.
Sticky elements, especially buttons that encourage users to share website content on social media, continue to be popular web design trends, thanks to the continued importance of social media engagement. Icons that remain on the web page while the user scrolls up or down prevent missing out on any chance of your content getting shared. However, while these elements are easier to implement in designs meant for desktops, utilizing them without compromising on a clean appearance in mobile responsive designs is going to be a challenge for web designers.
20. Duotone Effect
Duotone images provide a website a modern feel, greater visual impact, and aesthetic appeal.
In 2020, the use of bold color pairings to make websites’ design jump off the screen is going to be one of the more visible trends in web design. This boldness is best symbolized by the growing popularity of duotone images—using shades of two contrasting colors. The fact that duotones go well with minimalist themes, improve readability, help with recall, and even lend appeal when used in part of the screen makes them an obvious choice for web design in these times.
21. Instant Gratification Optimization
Because of technology, 38% of consumers across all ages and 45% of millennials are less patient than they were five years ago.
You could consider this the gist of all other points covered in this article, but greater user focus is surely among the most critical web design trends for 2020. As consumers grow more used to instant gratification, web designers will have to be more conscious of what the user is looking for by coming to a site instead of pushing for what they expect the user to do. Everything from crunching data for behavioral insights to making navigation easier and the overall design more impactful is going to be driven by user interests.
Every year, web design trends are a mix of some tested features and some changes brought about by technological developments and consumers expectations. The ones for 2020 are no different in this regard. However, as competition for consumers’ attention grows more intense, being aware of these changing trends—even if your own designs do not always adhere to them strictly—becomes more important. In the fast-evolving online world, we are sure these trends will prove of assistance in tweaking your site for the most optimized user experience in 2020 and beyond.