The world of web design is constantly changing as new trends and best practices emerge. If you’re not a professional web designer dedicated to staying on top of these new developments, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to keep up. We’ve compiled a list of the top seven trends we’re seeing in 2021.
As we refine what trends and best practices to follow, we’ve noticed that the overarching theme is the fusion of design and user experience (UX). While a navigable website has always been important, there’s an even greater emphasis now on usability in an increasingly digital world. A great web designer knows that your website can’t just look pretty — your website should be a useful marketing tool. Even if your site looks easy on the eyes, your audience needs to be able to find the information they need to perform your desired outcomes. Whether you’re looking to redesign your site or start from scratch, keep these top trends in mind.
Minimalism is trending right now on and off the screen as people are appreciating the simple and uncluttered aesthetic. For web design, white space is not necessarily white, but it refers to the unmarked space between text and elements. Incorporating this white space helps your content stand out as a focal point on your site. This improves UX by guiding users to what content is most important and leads people to important calls to action. Along with focusing on content, the minimalist style gives users a space to breathe between content and intuitively guides their eyes to the next important thing, whether that’s content, a picture, a call to action button, or a graphic.
Responsive design is now a standard in the web industry, but there are still additional ways you can optimize your site for the mobile experience. For example, consider how your users are likely scrolling through your website on their phones. Most people hold their phones in their fingers and use their thumbs to scroll down the page. To translate that to your website, think of the key pieces you want to click on, such as buttons or the navigation, then make sure that those are easily within thumbs-reach on the screen. Placing a navigation bar or button in one of the top left or right corners of a screen, for instance, is more difficult for a thumb to reach than if it were placed lower or more central on the screen. While having to stretch your thumb to reach something seems like a small feat, it’s another way we can optimize websites to give users the best experience possible.
In a world where virtual reality is closing the gap between the online world and reality, 3D visuals are becoming a trend in web design. These visuals add dimension to a web page, making it more engaging and interactive for users. It’s important when you’re using 3D effects, though, to make sure the visual is complimenting or giving context to the content instead of distracting from it. Simple yet effective 3D design elements you could easily incorporate on your site include drop shadows, gradients, and layers of different elements to bring your page to life. When used correctly, 3D visuals can keep users on the site through improved engagement and time spent on the site.
Animations are a great way to add movement to your site and showcase your brand in a unique way. From simple animations, such as adding hover effects for buttons or important words, to custom moving illustrations, animations are becoming increasingly popular in web design. Along with the visual appeal of adding movement and dimension, they can also showcase your business or organization’s personality when they’re tailored to your brand standards. Similar to 3D visuals, animations can draw users’ attention and help your site stand out from the competition.
A parallax effect is a design element that scrolls foreground elements at a faster rate than the background. This adds depth to a web page and creates a 3D illusion as users scroll. In general, any way you can add movement to a page that improves page flow and doesn’t take away from the content is a unique way to draw attention to your content. If you’re looking to incorporate these scroll effects on your website, it’s best to use subtle movement. Something too flashy could cause dizziness for people with certain disorders and generally may take away from the content instead of highlighting it.
From popular apps to social media and your overall phone appearance, dark mode is a popular choice among users. Even the White House website (whitehouse.gov) has a toggle that allows users to switch back and forth between contrasts. Whether you’re in a light or dark room, people choose the dark mode to reduce eye strain as we collectively spend more time looking at screens than ever before. The dark mode also offers a modern, sleek look for your site aesthetic. As dark mode becomes a progressively popular option, you should consider this as you’re strategizing themes for your site.
The web is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and best practices to keep your site looking fresh against the competition. After all, your website is a place where anyone can find you, day or night, to learn more about your products or services. If you want to work with a company that stays on top of the latest trends and best practices in web design, get in touch with our team at Webspec. We’d love to work with you and learn more about your business and your website goals. With almost 20 years of industry experience, we’ll combine our decades of knowledge and insight into top trends to create your superior online presence.