Websites have evolved tremendously over the past thirty years since the internet became a household staple. The days of watching a pixelated site load line by line are gone. Now, everything needs to be bigger, brighter, and instantaneous.
The shifting tides of web design are a double-edged sword for designers. On the one hand, they have a lot of freedom to experiment and get creative. On the other hand, expectations are high, and the competition is fierce.
2020 is set to be an iconic year in design, whether you’re looking at fashion, home decor, or websites. Today, however, the focus is on the latter. Here are some of the top web design trends for 2020.
In 2020, many of the best web design agencies are embracing the minimalist movement and keeping things simple. This means more white space, fewer distractions, and streamlined navigation.
The minimalism web design trend fuels the added focus that businesses are taking to optimize the user experience. Rather than being faced with numerous navigation options and “shiny objects,” site visitors are able to easily find the information they need. As a result, customer satisfaction and conversions go up.
In an ultra-modern world that’s filled with noise— both in terms of audio and visual elements— some designers are invoking design trends from the past. In its simplest form, this includes black and white imagery, our retro-inspired photos and typography.
An overarching theme with this trend is that things are a little grainier and grittier. Rather than the bright white that’s so common in modern design, these designers are using more muted tones. The duller colors and vintage feel adds a nice contrast to more modern-looking sites without compromising quality or user experience.
Black Color Schemes
The term “dark mode” became a thing in the early 2010s when Google released “Blackle” an energy-saving search page based on the premise that dark tones use less power.
While dark mode may have stemmed from eco-friendly design schemes, it’s evolved into something else. Black websites create an air of luxury and elegance. It’s sleek, expensive, and bold. It’s a powerful alternative to the bright whites often associated with the minimalist theme, but it works equally as well with that trend.
Black color schemes allow the other design elements on the site to pop more. White text, gold accents, graphs and buttons showing shades of red and blue all stand out against the black background. All of this creates a sense of calm and warmth in contrast to the bright whites that are used so often in web design.
More brands are adding a human touch with custom illustrations. This invokes a sense of nostalgia and authenticity in a world that’s dominated by technology. It’s comparable to looking at your favorite childhood cartoons versus the almost too-real CGI used today.
Illustrations also create ample opportunities for brands to get creative. Illustrations are able to do things that human models might not. They personify a brand and create a connection with the viewer. Hand-drawn illustrations as graphic elements even create a sense of imperfection that makes a business seem more accessible and human.
Illustrations are also a way to build brand awareness on a budget. Outsourcing to an artist to continuously develop new illustrations is often far more affordable than new photography. Some examples of businesses who effectively use illustrations in their web design include MailChimp, Headspace, and Basecamp.
In the 2020 web design, rules are made to be broken. In the past, designers were taught to choose a font and stick with it. Now, web designers are shaking things up with bold, contrasting typography that is often the focal point of the page. This goes hand-in-hand with an underlying shift toward focusing on headers in web design.
Blends of serif and san-serif fonts, varying sizes, and image cut-outs are just a few of the ways web designers are incorporating this trend. The challenge here is to add contrast without creating confusion or overwhelming noise. It’s a fine balance.
How do you encourage today’s audience to override their decreasing attention span and stay on your site? Interactivity.
Designers are tasked with giving site visitors a reason to click around and explore. Not only does it contribute directly to business success by improving conversions, but it also plays a role in SEO and site rankings.
The interactivity design trend works well with many of the other 2020 web design trends. For example, scrolling over a photo and having it reveal an illustration.
Another simple-yet-effective form of engagement is a unique or interactive cursor. For example, a 3D airplane on a travel site. As 3D elements become more prevalent in web design, the opportunities for interaction become limitless.
The Comeback of Audio Elements
Having music play on your website was a hot trend in the early 2000s. This was back in the day when Myspace was the epitome of social media. However, designers started moving away from it as more people started browsing the internet at work. After all, no one wants their boss to know that they’re browsing your e-commerce store when they should be crunching numbers.
Now audio elements are coming back. As more users go mobile and wear headphones, businesses are willing to take the risk to build a more immersive user experience. As home assistants become more popular, it’s expected that many internet searches will become screenless, meaning audio components could play a key role. This design trend also adds accessibility to websites for those who are visually impaired.
In 2020, the one-page approach is where it’s at. Rather than putting the onus on the user to click through navigations, more web designers are using a scrolling navigation design that’s ideal for mobile users.
Dynamic scrolling navigation is also becoming more popular. Rather than encouraging your visitors to scroll down, this action takes place automatically based on a timer. This tech works well with the decreasing attention spans and the desire for more engagement.
There’s a lot of variety in the 2020 web design trends, with some subtle common undertones. The overarching theme is an improved user interface and user experience. Web designers should work with both in mind.