If I landed on your website today would I be impressed or ready to bounce in less than 5 seconds?
That's an incredibly important question you should be asking yourself every few months. Because guess what, technology and trends change all the time! What was working and attracting people last year is not any more. What's doing it today, may not be doing it tomorrow!
Best policy for every entrepreneur is to stay in line with the ever-changing world of technology. And since most business operations move online, it's crucial to know and incorporate the web design trends in 2021 and 2022.
We will start with the completely new tendencies in visual and functionality design. Those are innovative must-haves on your website in the next couple of years.
1. Dynamic Content
As consumers we want information that is relevant to us and presented in the most convenient and concise way. Websites that display dynamic content have the highest engagement and conversion rates. But what exactly is dynamic content? This is information, data or visuals that are shown to users based on their geo location or specific behaviour and interests. So, for example, if I browse a particular website while I'm in London and then travel to New York, the content I see will be different even though I'm looking at the same page.
2. Voice activated Interface
Voice search has been a growing trend for the past 2 years. More people are using voice assistants to look for stuff on the internet rather than typing on Google or other engines. Therefore the rise of voice activated website interface is inevitable. So, as a user, you should be able to speak to the website and tell it what you want to see. Website of the future indeed!
3. Accessibility and Availability
It's the 21st year of the 21st century! It's only logical as highly developed society we start taking various disabilities seriously and make it effortless for disabled people to access information on the web. Future websites need to focus on accessibility and availability functionalities, as well as comprehensive design that caters for almost anyone.
Previously, videos were the biggest trend of website design. Don't get me wrong, videos are still the most engaging form of content, but they could also be slowing your website quite a lot. So in 2021 and beyond we see microanimations taking the lead. What are those? Well, GIFs are one great example. Microanimations enhance the user experience and prompt website visitors to take actions.
5. Bold Colours
After the fiasco of a year that 2020 was, we all need positivity and joy in our lives. That's part of the reasons why bold and bright colours dominate the web design trends in 2021. Each colour sends a subliminal message to users and has a specific meaning in consumer psychology. Do your research on colours and see which of them represents best your brand's values.
6. Thumb-friendly Mobile Design
It's beyond clear that mobile design is more important than desktop. Over 60% of all Internet users access websites on their mobile devices rather than on a laptop or a PC. Mobile phone users make up the largest group. Needless to say thumb-friendly mobile design is now simply essential. Your website needs to be intuitive and easy to navigate with the thumb alone. Simplicity here is key!
7. Clear Message on Focus
Ever wondered what you really need on your Home Page? A great copywriter. We are an ultra-consumer society and we don't have time for stuff we don't need or care about. Whatever your unique selling point, mission and values are, they need to be presented in one simple but very powerful message. And it must be the first thing a visitor sees on your website.
8. Data Visualisation
Larger percentage of the human population responds better to visual content than words and numbers. And while most of us care about statistical information, we often don't understand what it means if we can't visualise it. Data is a great asset to display on your website in 2021, but what would make you stand out is visualised data.
9. Dark Mode
It started with Twitter. Then almost all social media jumped on the dark mode train. Apple joined with one of the recent iOS updates. We can clearly see that it is a web trend that should be incorporated by more online businesses. It's not just cool and trendy. It has a lot to do with trend number 3 - Accessibility and availability. Dark mode allows users to strain their less and reduce the pressure, which may lead to headache or long term sight problems.
10. Frosted Glass Effect
Grids are a great design element to use on your web pages because they bring structure and allow you to systemise information. Flip grids or blocks were a hot trend in the past few years. Now we are going a step further with frosted glass effect on inactive grids or blocks. It makes the design look sleek and stimulates human desire to open the grid and see what's there.
It's not all about the completely new trends. There're leading features and design requirements that have been important for several years and are going nowhere any time soon.
1. Page Load Time
Did I surprise anyone by saying that a slow website is the worst enemy of your online business? Probably not. Page loading time has always been one of the most important conditions for a well-optimised and converting website. But if you could previously get away with a website that loads in 5 sec or less, now you need to try even harder. The majority of users report they will not stay on a website if the page takes longer than 2 seconds to load. Time to ramp up those servers and simplify your design!
2. Lead Generation Forms
Social media is so unreliable these days. Which is why your email list is one of your biggest business assets. Successful websites in the 2020s have well-designed lead generation forms on their pages to help the growth of that list. Offer a high-value freebie to attract people and do not over-complicate the form if you want people to fill and submit it. Ask for the bare minimum of information you need. In most cases that would be name and email address. In some cases you may need age, gender on some other specific data. Either way, don't go overboard.
3. Improved Chat Bots
Chat bots have been around for quite some time. Of course, they are here to stay, but to remain competitive online you need to make sure your bots sound more like human than they used to. The truth is no one likes chatting to a machine. The more personalised and humanised the conversation is the better.
As we spend most of our days and time online, we are in ever-growing need of a two-way communication. It is important to provide interactive features on your website, so that your visitors feel like a part of the community you are building around your brand. To give you an idea - quizzes, calculators, polls, predictive tools and so on.
5. VR (Virtual Reality)
Surely virtual reality is not a new web design trend. If anything, it's just growing in importance. It enhances the user experience and it offers an invaluable aid in the consumer decision making process.
6. Minimalism and cleanliness
Last year I wrote about minimalism and simple design as one of the web design trends 2020. Well, it stuck and we will continue seeing it as a leading feature in the years to come. The reason has to do with psychology again. The more clean and simplistic the design, the more space for mental activity and desire to explore.
7. Bold and Vintage Fonts
Again, this was a design trend in 2019 and 2020. The new addition is the vintage style. Modern design, bright colours and familiar fonts seem to be a jackpot combination.
8. White Space
Don't be tempted to fill in all white areas on your website with colour or elements. Let users focus on the key information you want to display. More white space, less distractions, increased engagement and higher conversions.
There's something about illustrations that captures our attention. A brand that uses illustrations on their website is seen as more creative and contemporary.
10. Interactive 3D elements
Much like microanimations, interactive 3D elements guide the user through the website and the path you want them to follow. It makes the journey much more intuitive and therefore effortless.
And here come some past trends that you should leave.... well, in the past.
1. Video Background
Video backgrounds were The Thing a few years ago. Unfortunately, that sort of design is not trendy anymore. Plenty of reasons why, but the most important one is page loading time. Video backgrounds make pages considerably heavier and if your traffic increases beyond a certain point, the website performance won't be great to say the least. You can keep the benefits of screen motion by adding microanimations or interactive 3D elements, which are still in vogue.
2. Straight Lines
I know we said minimalism and simplicity are part of the current and future trends in website design, but this excludes straight lines. Instead, use organic shapes like circles.
3. Traditional colours
Don't be boring in your web design. Even if you are aiming to evoke a feeling of luxury and exclusivity add an attractive colour to the traditional black and white mix. It will give your website look a contemporary edge.
4. Overcrowded Menu Bar
No, we don't need to see all of the pages on your website in the menu bar. Remember, less is more. Mobile type menu buttons are in trend for desktop design too!
If your visitors still need to click more than two times to get what they want you are not doing it right. Shorten the user journey as much as possible and present all the relevant information in an easy to access way.
Now that you are familiar with the website design trends for 2021 and 2022, you can easily do a self-audit. What do you need to change on your website to get ready for the future?