Now, we’re a little late to the party and we know what you’re thinking; not another 2019 roundup? You’ve probably seen a few reviews of 2019 already by now and kind of like everyone’s “new year, new me” resolutions they’re everywhere in January, then left neglected and are gathering dust by March. That’s why we’ve put together a review of the web design trends that we think can stand the test of time. Whether you’re looking for inspiration from the past year of web design features or looking at what’s to come in 2020, this is the blog for you. So, we have to admit it kind of is another 2019 roundup…but who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia?
Having millions of colours to choose from when branding your website is great, but it’s easy to get lost and start a never-ending battle to create the brightest, most colourful website. This year we saw websites that limited their colour palettes to one or two tones, with monochrome being the most popular theme. Sites that limit colour are often more memorable and don’t overwhelm the user. Little or no colour can also add design constraints to your site, so make sure it’s in-keeping with your branding if you decide to take the monochrome plunge.
Taking the “less is more” approach to your site’s colour palette can help solidify your brand. The monochrome design is a great way to draw attention where you want it, not allowing viewers to get distracted. Digital production company studiobjork.com use a monochrome palette to their advantage perfectly, highlighting the work they have done and allowed their client brands to take centre stage.
One popular web design trend of this year was minimalism. This design choice is classic and timeless, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to dominate sites in 2020. Keeping your site design minimal gives users less to think about, encouraging a relaxed approach to browsing. Minimalist design gives you the freedom to space out content, create more white space and make it easier for users to navigate your page without being distracted. With an increase in gadgets such as smartwatches, websites are changing their design methods and thinking small when it comes to their complexity.
Simple design and navigation are accessible for all, no matter what device you’re browsing on. Penguin opted for minimalist web design when introducing their collection of pocket-sized books for readers on-the-go. The understated homepage puts all the focus on the brand logo and features pops of colour in the pocketbook images, proving that minimalist design doesn’t have to be dull.
This year we saw many brands swap out cleans lines and structured shapes for more fluid, creative and unique design elements. Experimenting with shapes can help your website look unique, great if you’re looking to draw in browsers and stand out from competitors. Not only can fluid design elements make your site stand out and give it a more organic approach, but they can also seem more approachable for users. Big, bold sites with clean lines and regimented shapes can often be intimidating for users. Creating a more fluid theme generates a more human feel to a site, giving an insight into the people behind the brand and design. Dublin-based digital agency Mawla uses fluid shapes with colour and illustrations to show off their creativity throughout their site.
Micro-interactions, or UI animation, are small design elements with great significance. Small and understated, micro-interactions are designed to delight and entertain browsers. So what are micro-interactions? You’ve probably used micro-interactions countless times without even realising it. When you’re scrolling through Facebook and hover over the “like” button on your pal’s latest profile picture update, you’re met with a range of emoticon options. From love heart to shocked face, each mini reaction dancing next to your mouse is a micro-interaction designed to engage social media users.
The most common micro-interactions we have seen this year involve site buttons increasing in size when users hover over them. This helps draw the user’s attention to the area of the page, which they might have even scrolled over by accident, and encourages them to click. Micro-interactions can bring a website to life, increase user interaction and simply make your brand more memorable. One of our favourite micro-interactions comes from Creative Boom. The creative news site uses a tiny pair of eyes at the top of their pages, with the pupils following the mouse wherever it goes. Simple, but effective. We’d be lying if we said it hadn’t made us drag the mouse around the page in awe. Micro-interactions have taken over the web and we’re sure this trend will continue into the new decade.
More video content
Now, I know you’re thinking that video content isn’t necessarily a new trend. This year has seen an increase in video content for sites everywhere. In a bid to create fresh content and make sites more engaging, web designers everywhere have turned to trusty old video. Video content brings web pages to life and introduces diverse content. Video content can help users become more engaged with your site simply by saving them time from scrolling through endless paragraphs of text, they can get the picture (literally) by watching a video. National Geographic opted for a series of seven mesmerising videos for their animal focus page. Each video is close-up, dynamic and high-quality, with small doses of accompanying text giving quick-fire facts about the focus creature.
Web design trends to look out for in 2020
This year we saw bright white web design fade away as everyone stepped over to the dark side and we think it’s only going to grow in 2020. iPhone users everywhere welcomed dark mode onto their smartphone screens after Apple introduced the feature with iOS 13. Dark mode is easier on the eye especially when you’re browsing in the dark. Bright screens can cause eye strain – the last thing anyone wants, especially when today’s society is so screen-reliant. Dark mode can also save power and extend the screen life of your device.
As well as these practical features, dark mode looks great. Optimizing your website for dark mode can help you bring a whole new layer of design to your branding. It can increase contrast, make feature colours pop and fits in perfectly with every design style – because what doesn’t go with black? Not only can dark mode enhance your design and make your branding stand out, but it also gives you the chance to improve user experience. As the feature grows in popularity, not having the option to view your site in dark mode could put users off, as well as put you behind competitors.
3D web design
3D design elements were once regarded as top-tier features and their high cost made them hard for designers to create. With web design developments changing everyday, 3D elements are now becoming more accessible to the everyday designer. 3D web visuals are designed to bring joy and awe to the browser. If you want to create an entrancing web feature and don’t have access to VR, then 3D elements are a perfect choice. 3D design helps to draw users in and bridge the gap between flat design and immersive web experiences. New York-based creative studio a-0 design has taken 3D elements to the next level. On the homepage, you’re met with a 3D rendering of a woman who runs from one egg-like island to another as you scroll through the site categories. One thing’s for sure, this is a site you won’t forget.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a web design trends blog without mentioning AR! As AR becomes more mainstream, we’ll definitely be seeing it incorporated into web design as we head into the new year. The main use of augmented reality in web design we see today is not only to engage and amaze the user but to help their web experience. AR transforms your site by fabricating images over reality. If you’ve ever played the phenomenon that was Pokemon Go, you’ve experienced augmented reality first-hand.
Now, we’re seeing more and more sites use augmented reality to help users test out their products whether they’re browsing on mobile or desktop. If you’re running a product-based site then introducing AR could help you improve not only user experience, but also your profits. Brands including Gucci introduced an AR feature that allows users to “try on” their shoes without having to visit a store. They simply download the app and as if by magic, they can see what a fresh pair of Gucci trainers would look like on them. This feature is ideal for users who don’t have easy access to a Gucci store and only shop online. You don’t have to be spending big bucks to use an AR web feature, brands like Ikea, Specsavers and Dulux have all welcomed the trend and we’re sure many brands will follow suit in 2020.