While some web design elements are here to stay—data security, fast load times, and user-friendly navigation—it’s new and innovative web design practices, elements, and features that can help ensure your website is at the forefront of both design and the search engines.
Below is a list of innovative web design trends that's likely to dominate 2022:
How people are accessing information is ever-evolving. Rather than typing into Google, people now have the option to make a demand or ask a question. In other words, web design is keeping up with the prevalence of virtual assistants and voice chatbots.
While a voice-activated interface is not standard among websites yet, this emerging trend does not show any signs of disappearing in the foreseeable future. It is expected that more and more websites will be integrating voice search as an alternative to conventional text search.
Material design was first introduced by Google back in 2014. In essence, material design is all about using shadows and colors to imitate the physical world and its textures. A great example of material design is Google's software suite icons. If you examine the icons closely, you can see that it looks three dimensional. It is expected that more people will adopt the material design in 2021.
In the coming years, virtual reality will continue to be a thing. Consider IKEA's ability to display what a sofa looks like in your room or Airbnb giving you an option to take a tour of the rental property before booking a reservation. Virtual reality can also be a great tool to provide meaningful and useful content for site visitors.
One feature that has been popular for quite some time and will stay relevant in 2021 are chatbots. As machine learning and artificial intelligence continue to become more sophisticated, chatbots can become the norm both for personal shopping and straightforward customer service requests.
Sometimes referred to as "flat design," minimalism is not exactly new. Typically, minimalism is associated with the use of a lot of white space. However, web design does not have to be all white to be considered minimalist. In 2021, it is expected that people will be experimenting more with colorful minimalism.
An excellent example of a website that uses colorful minimalism is Shopify. To create a visually appealing and attention-grabbing page, Shopify created a bold background color with minimal design elements and clean text. Who says minimalism has to be bland or stark?
Communicating data in an engaging way can be tricky. Data visualization banks on the idea that humans are visual creatures. Data visualization involves creating images out of data to engage readers and capture their interest so they would want to know more about the brand or business. One of the most popular ways used to bring data to life is using graphs and infographics.
Using stock photos can make websites appear bland and generic. Creating illustrations from scratch is recommended to make a website stand out and provide visitors with something fresh. Bespoke illustrations will not only enhance the page, it can also accurately represent the company's branding.
One way websites can provide value, gather relevant data, and engage visitors is through interactive sections. For instance, realtors add mortgage calculators on their sites to give value and collect data.
Classic examples of interactive elements include:
As the name implies, micro animations are small animations. Micro animations are considered extremely beneficial as it guides users through their interactions with a website. They also add some playfulness to the site.
Micro animations have been around for a few years already. However, in 2021, it is expected that more people will be using them more organically. Many e-commerce sites now use micro animations to give visitors better user experience.
Way back 2019, geometric shapes were huge. In 2021, it will be more about organic shapes. Fluid or organic shapes won't involve straight lines—think of shapes that you see in nature, like the edges of the river or lake, and how they are winding and asymmetrical.
Fluid shapes are ideal if you want to break up the site sections without harsh angles or lines. They can also look great when used in the background. This is the approach Android used on their homepage (using circles behind their products).
One of 2021's most popular web design trends is color, and it goes hand-in-hand with minimalism. Bright, bold, and saturated colors can help brands stand out from soft neutrals that have been used by many brands over the past few years.
The sparkling water company, Bubbly, is a classic example of how bold and saturated color is used without overwhelming the eye. Their branding is primarily about using colorful cans, and they have employed the same approach on their website.
They are also using some of 2021's highly anticipated web design trends like bold color, minimalism, and organic shapes.
Lightning-fast loading time has been an essential factor for SEO and user experience for many years now, and it continues to be a primary priority for websites that want to convert better and rank well.
Some studies indicate that at least more than half of online visitors expect a website to load less than two seconds. If loading time takes more than three seconds, visitors are likely to leave and never return again.
Website performance also has a direct impact on a brand's bottom line. Case in point: When Pinterest reduced their wait time by 40 percent, their search engine traffic and sign-ups increased by as much as 15 percent!
Nowadays, responsive design is no longer just an option. To stand out, sites should be easy to use and should work well on mobile devices. In 2021, it is expected that more websites will become thumb-friendly.
Thumb-friendly navigation involves putting the menu, navigation bar, and contact buttons in the thumb's space. Thumb-friendly navigation will not only make site navigation straightforward, it can also improve the user experience tenfold.
When you visit many websites, it's easy to see that bold typography is on-trend. When bold and heavy fonts are used, visitors become more aware of the brand's message instantly. Combining large fonts with neutral colors is also used to further emphasize the headline.
For many years, videos have been touted as one of the website must-haves. This is not exactly surprising as videos are not only engaging, they are also considered a very effective online marketing tool.
However, putting out just any video won't do. Every video you put out needs to be thought out. Essentially, a smart video has to have purpose and meaning. Gone are the days where you just embed a YouTube video, and you're good.
Nowadays, one quality and well-thought-out video is better than a dozen ones that are haphazardly done.
Dark mode web design serves different functions. They can help significantly minimize eye strain for starters, a concern for many who spend a lot of time looking at screens. Dark mode also creates an ultra-modern look while allowing websites to highlight other design elements by merely darkening the aspects that surround it.
Many websites are guilty of using third-party integrations and graphical elements that cause their sites to slow down significantly. Fortunately, there are various ways to develop smart websites that will only download the content visitors need and want to see.
Infinite scroll and lazy loading are not exactly new technologies. Many prominent social networks have been using them for years. The approach is also popular among long (one) page websites.
Websites need to consider how implementing one (or more) technological approaches can help ensure they can outperform and outrank their competition. The features should also enhance the user experience for all the website visitors, so ranking and conversion rate is also improved.
Lazy load warrants that web browsers will only download content visitors want to see on the screen without wasting valuable time and server resources.
Many website visitors don't reach the bottom of the webpage. So loading content and increasing site load times is not necessary. A better approach would be to only load content as they scroll down the page.
Designing a site that every visitor can interact with and easily navigate can help boost SEO, increase conversions, and help brands reach a bigger audience.
Elements that can help improve accessibility include:
In 2022, many can expect a slew of clean, fast, and eye-catching websites that use videos and animation to take the user experience to the next level.