2021 Top Trends in Web Design
The year 2020 brought out many surprises for the world, the scariest of which was the Covid-19 pandemic. It resulted in significant changes in practically all aspects of life. Companies transitioned to the work-at-home practice. People started conducting meetings, events, and even classes online. Websites became more in-demand because many businesses shifted to online platforms.
With businesses, establishments, and organizations scrambling to stay on top of their game as they shift to digital technology, website developers and designers have also been on their toes in coming up with creative, innovative, and modern web design ideas. More than anything else, the focus is on helping make the transition as convenient as possible; but it’s also essential to build a website that can withstand challenges and competition. A website is, after all, the digital representation of a business or organization.
Why a Good Website Design is Essential
A website is what will set a company apart from its competition. It is the virtual ID and extension of a brand or business. As such, a website has to provide visitors with a convenient, efficient, and satisfying experience. It should have relevant and well-written content and must be easy to navigate.
Satisfied visitors can help turn leads and prospects into revenue. Eventually, these visitors will invite others to check out the website and what it has to offer.
All these characteristics are what a well-designed website possesses. Therefore, good web design is essential for the success of any business, establishment, and organization.
Web Design Trends for 2021
To stay updated with the latest developments, developers and designers often keep track of web design trends. These usually come out towards the end of the year or in the first quarter of the New Year.
For 2021, the trends are a combination of existing and new concepts. It is also worth noting that some elements consider the current global situation, specifically in terms of colors and other similar visual factors.
Below is a list of some of the trends expected to dominate the web design scene this year:
- Personalized Content
- Immersive Digital Experiences Through AR
- Positive Visual Language
- Mobile-Friendly Design
- The Horizontal Scroll
- Light or Muted Colors/Gradient Colors
- Visual Scrollytelling
- White Spaces and the Dark Mode
- Photos & Graphics Combination
Check out how each element affects your website’s design and overall impact on visitors.
When you go to the bank to open an account, you will fill out and submit a form detailing some personal information and service preferences. The next time you visit the bank, you only need to give out your account number, and the teller will already be able to determine what kind of service you availed – if you are a personal or corporate client. This concept is similar to what a personalized content offers to website visitors.
Another example is when you order food from a delivery app, and you provide details such as your address and contact number. Of course, you also specify which establishment you are ordering from and what food you want to purchase. The next time you log in to the app, it will give you suggestions on what kind of food to order based on your previous transactions.
Visitors like content that they can easily relate and identify with, and this should be one of your main goals this year.
Immersive Digital Experiences Through AR
Since everyone is shifting or has shifted to using digital platforms, 2021 is the right time for developers and designers to build websites that offer users experiences that simulate real-life events or activities.
For example, if you have an event like a concert, you can create special visual effects and use AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) to make viewers feel like they’re right there in the venue, experiencing the show live. A more specific example is using avatars for online meetings. Participants can create their own avatars and customize them according to personal preferences. These avatars are then placed inside a virtual meeting room. Incorporating a similar concept into your website will make it stand out from the competitors.
Creating immersive digital experiences also means customizing your content, such as the fonts, animations and transitions, and even the colors.
Positive Visual Language
This trend is focused on addressing mental health issues, which rose to alarming levels last year because of the pandemic. At the forefront of the fight against the virus are healthcare and medical workers, and they are the reason why positive, fun, and vibrant visual language is one of the priorities in web design nowadays.
Instead of creating dull, dark, and clinical-looking visuals, the focus should be on vibrant, happy color palettes. With such illustrations, patterns, images, and other visual design elements, websites will easily give off an optimistic vibe.
Adopting a mobile-friendly website design is a trend that will never fade. Ever since smartphones and mobile devices became the norm, web developers and designers have been building responsive, mobile-ready websites, and this is not likely to change for years. Mobile-friendly web designs are now a necessity, not a mere option.
A mobile-ready and responsive website is designed to adapt to different mobile devices’ screens automatically. In other words, its pages adjust to the screen size of whatever device visitors are using. As such, it allows a convenient and user-friendly experience for mobile users.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, users will easily get turned off, believing that you or your business do not really care about them.
Websites that encourage interaction with customers and prospects (i.e., queries and complaints) need chatbots to ensure quick and efficient responses. More and more people are now comfortable with chatbots because advanced technologies make them feel as if they are really interacting with a real human.
Chatbots have been around for years, but for 2021, this technology will become more useful and relevant. Several improvements are also expected, especially with the continuous advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Chatbots technology will keep improving until they become the norm for websites and other digital platforms.
Think about this: it takes visitors only 0.05 seconds to create a first impression about a website. Also, visitors will not wait for longer than three seconds for a site to load. So, if your site has a slow loading speed, you won’t get your target number of visitors and conversions anytime soon. People will abandon your site, and they will probably spread the word to their relatives and friends. So, you can also lose your prospects.
Speed is essential for good web design - over 50% of visitors will leave your website if the content does not display properly on their smartphones and other mobile devices.
This year, fast website loading speed is more important than ever, with many businesses, establishments, and organizations now focusing on their digital platforms. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, your website has to be fast and efficient.
The Horizontal Scroll
In the past, the horizontal scroll was one of the mistakes that web designers did their best to avoid. Nowadays, however, it has taken on a whole new meaning. It is now considered a practical alternative for sharing secondary information. Horizontal scrolling is mostly used for image galleries.
To ensure that the horizontal scroll lives up to its potential, you have to know how to use it right, though. Some useful tips include offering non-horizontal-scrolling visitors alternatives such as using arrow buttons and clearly indicating which areas or content require horizontal scrolling.
Light or Muted Colors/Gradient Colors
Light-colored palettes create some contrast that helps other elements or sections of your website stand out. Muted colors are also more relaxing to the eyes, which is helpful for businesses involved in the healthcare and medical industry. They help achieve the positive visual effect that many web designers are aiming for these days.
You can also ask your designer to use gradients that combine the light, muted colors with more vivid or defining hues. Doing this will add some interesting, colorful aesthetics to your website.
Traditional visual storytelling is all about narrative visualization or telling a story using visual media such as images, videos, and animated graphics. What web designers are focusing on this year is visual scrollytelling, which is the web version of the traditional technique.
Visual scrollytelling attracts visitors because it is easy to navigate, as scrolling is a natural thing when one is navigating a website. It’s convenient for them to scroll up when they need to go back to the previous parts of the story. Scrollytelling is also visually appealing, especially when you use a combination of media (i.e., animation, illustrations, and minimal text).
White Spaces and Dark Mode
For those who are not that knowledgeable about web design, white spaces mean nothing. For designers, however, white spaces are blessings in disguise. Your visitors are not really aware of what they are or that they exist, but these spaces help make their every visit pleasant, convenient, and relaxing.
White spaces, also called negative spaces, pertain to the spacing that you see between website elements (ex. three different graphic images). The idea is to avoid cramming all content and prevent your site from looking too cluttered.
This year, more and more websites will use white spaces to make their content stand out and easy to understand. The purpose is to provide visitors with a relaxing experience.
Aside from white spaces, the dark mode concept for websites will become more popular this year. More than anything else, the purpose of going dark is to help minimize or prevent eye strain among your visitors.
Additionally, the dark mode also makes all the design elements pop out and gives your website an updated modern look and feel. Combine your dark mode with white spaces, and you’ll have people scrambling to visit your site every day.
Photos & Graphics Combination
If you’re looking for a surefire way to keep your visitors engaged, combine the visual effects of photographic elements and graphics. Remember that people like anything colorful with photos, animation, or images, so you can imagine how much attention your content will get if you use them together. A good example would be using a photo and some animation for your brand logo on the website.
Also known as flat design, minimalism is making huge waves in website design this year. Although it’s a concept that has been around for years, it has never been as popular as it is now. It is typically represented by a lot of white spaces, very minimal colors, and clean texts.
Minimalist website designs are easy on the eyes, organized, and non-distracting. It does not have flashy features that distract visitors from the essential elements, such as product or service information.
For this year, 2021, web designers are focused on creating clean, simple but content-rich, engaging, relaxing, and modern websites. The emphasis is on providing a convenient, streamlined, personalized, and satisfying experience for visitors.
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About our guest author:
Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of My Biz Niche, an Arizona-based digital marketing and web design company that has achieved superior results for their clients. Before My Biz Niche, Shawn worked for Venture Capitalists where he built a private portfolio of e-commerce and informational websites that generate revenue through various digital marketing strategies.