Web Design Trend Predictions for 2020
This week we have another guest post from Estelle Liotard: freelance writer, blogger and contributor at 3to5marketing.com .
Now that 2019 is well underway, we can start to consider future web design trends and industry developments for 2020 and beyond. Whether you manage your own website or outsource your services to third-party clients, web development trends are worth keeping in mind.
According to Forbes, 38% of customers will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unappealing to them, with a 23% increase in revenue attributed to consistent brand representation across all platforms. While creative and artistic expression still plays a large role in your web design’s perception, the business side of things is equally relevant.
Whether it’s subconscious or aware, there is a clear need for web designers and developers to abide by current trends and UX expectations in order to stay relevant. With that said, let’s take a look at several web design trend predictions for 2020 which have the potential to transform the way you engage clients and service your websites going forward.
1. Responsive Design
In terms of technical web design choices, it’s important to accommodate your platform to as many users as possible. This is especially true now that so many people browse the web through smartphone and tablet devices, completely forgoing the typical desktop experience.
Responsive design will allow your website to display correctly no matter the scale of the user’s device or the browser and OS they use. Platforms such as Squarespace are suitable for responsive web design and their tools and resources will allow you to craft unique and attractive websites in no time.
Most importantly, responsive design will flag your websites as friendly in search engines, raising their ranking and allowing more people to enjoy your work as a result. Responsive is already a popular web design choice but it is poised to become a trend and an industry standard going forward.
2. Content-Oriented UI Design
Web design trends typically begin and end with their influence on your UI design decisions. After all, a website’s UI is arguably the most important aspect of the end user’s experience on your platform.
With that said, we can expect a larger emphasis on content over dominant UI elements, advertisement, popups and other elements secondary to the blog post, product description or submission form a user is engaged with. This doesn’t necessarily have to limit your web design choices to minimalism, muted colors and plenty of white space – although it is a viable option.
Should this trend take off, web designers will have to ideate and create UIs for their projects with the content engagement process in mind. The fewer distractions the users face, the higher your chances at converting them will become. This will enable content creators and site admins to utilize tools such as Evernote, Trust My Paper, Grammarly and Studicus to a greater extent in their creation and publishing processes afterward.
3. Limited but Focused Color Palettes
Speaking of minimalism, another trend worth considering in the near future is the use of a limited range of colors in your web design. From a strictly utilitarian standpoint, there is no need to oversaturate your landing pages and navigation with lavish colors which will undoubtedly confuse the end-user.
Instead, you can create a color combination suitable to whichever industry, niche and market your client’s website will operate in primarily. The Color theory relies on psychology for a lot of the practical decisions made in graphic and web design. Offer a focused, color-coded experience to your or your client’s users and their retention rates will reflect this new trend in 2020 and later.
4. Contrasting Typography
Experimental typography has always found its way into printed publications, editorials and other physical media. In terms of web design however, typography has always walked the path of least resistance, relying on tried and tested fonts to do the job.
However, contrasts in typography can breathe new life into your web design like no other illustrative or decorative element can thanks to its informative nature. There is no rule to forbid you from placing your navigation bar to the left-hand side of the screen and to twist it counter-clockwise for an added dynamic effect.
Similarly, you can use large bolded letters to annunciate blog post titles, quotes, important announcements and other eye-catching details while other lettering remains of standard font and size. Prepare to play with typography in your web design projects in 2020 since users want to see originality and UX merged in unique ways.
5. Emphasis on Vector Design
Vector graphics are nothing new on the graphic and web design scene. Their role is to fill in UI blanks, illustrate certain points to the viewer or to act as full on illustrations in blog posts or product descriptions. However, their utility doesn’t stop there since they are lighter and easier to scale and modify than their raster-based counterparts.
Typical photographs and image files with plenty of minute details will slow down your website with each added element. In order to amend for their shortcoming, you can shift toward vector graphics now and prepare for the coming trend in a timely fashion.
Vector graphics will ensure that your site loads faster and requires less bandwidth to be experienced the way it was meant to. Most importantly, this choice will affect your website’s SEO in a positive manner since it will effectively become available to more people due to the use of lighter and more versatile graphics.
6. Chatbot-Enabled UX
In short, chatbots represent AI algorithms capable of engaging your site’s visitors 24/7 in an autonomous, pre-programmed manner. Even though chatbots won’t necessarily affect the way you design UI elements for your or your client’s website, they can still have an effect on your UX.
Paul Simmons, UX specialist at Supreme Dissertations had this to say on the matter: “There is no way to anticipate every microinteraction, button press or feeling your users will have during their UX with your site. Chatbots can not only help them navigate your site faster but also gather very useful feedback data for your site’s future improvements from said interactions.”
Chatbots can serve as assistants, customer support agents, sales representatives or any other form of user interaction you deem necessary for that particular website. Their inclusion is already trending across the web and the trend is poised to grow into a standard in the upcoming calendar year – make sure to adapt on time.
7. Split-Second Animations
Web page transitions are an inevitable part of the browsing experience. However, that doesn’t mean you should see them as a necessary evil. Split-second transition animations can help you mask load times and make the journey from one page to another more engaging. Should you use web design platforms such as Squarespace to launch your website, you can set up cookie features for returning users in order to make their browsing experience faster.
However, these animations should take less than three seconds to play out, leaving just enough time for a user to understand what just happened before moving on. According to Top Tal, 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if a web page takes more than three seconds to load, with 62% of users outright abandoning that brand or platform altogether due to bad UX.
Short transition animations are only one of the ways in which you can mask load times and make your web design more enjoyable to the viewer. Elements such as quotes, browsing tips, interesting or engaging photos can also help sweep your load times under the proverbial bed. Find the best ways to implement them into your site or upcoming projects and gauge their effectiveness with users before 2020 comes around.
8. Business Storytelling
One of the most important aspects of web design is to ensure that it feels representative in terms of the industry and business it belongs to. For example, you wouldn’t use background images of kitchen utensils in a parental advice-oriented website. This can provide you with a lot of creative opportunities to integrate business storytelling into your UI and UX design decisions.
Blog content should be highlighted on the landing page of your website as a means to extend the value of your website to future visitors. Those blog posts can include eCommerce links to your online store in the form of native advertisement content which doesn’t obstruct the user’s browsing experience.
The more your sites feel like a cohesive whole and a single entity, the better your public reception will be. This trend is especially important with 2020 on the horizon since websites with strong branding and business storytelling will rise above those which are complacent with “okay” performance.
Web design principles transform into trends over time, as more and more websites adopt them into their UX offering. As such, it’s difficult to predict which trends and design choices will become industry norms to the letter, leaving a lot of room for creative breakthroughs.
The best way to chase new trends is to pioneer them personally and let others in the web design industry follow your lead. Explore the ways in which you can freshen up your approach to web design, UI ideation and UX mapping without the burden of looming trends.
A big thanks to Estelle for contributing to Squarespace Index this week.
If you’d like to contribute to the blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.