In this article, we'll take a look at what seems to be the top winning trends for 2020.
Web design is something that every website owner has become familiar with, and should come as no surprise. Even if you don't do the design yourself, you still need to know what is functional and user-friendly.
Improvements are constantly made as we go along, so checking out for new trends should be definitely part of your routine. This doesn't mean that you constantly need to modify your site or jump on every design trend you see!
Trends that are here to stay
We can start by going over the trends that have been around for a while, but have no intention of going away. With mobile traffic overcoming desktop for the first time in 2018, and Google implementing their mobile-first indexing update, it's clear that your web design should be mobile-centric.
While it's hard to find non-responsive sites anymore, there are still things you can do in order to make the design as user-friendly as possible for the mobile users.
Ucraft blog's short, but very practical guide can help you bring big improvements with small changes on your site. Also, Google's article on mobile UX is another material packed with useful, practical tips for mobile design.
Of course, site speed is still a huge priority. While most tools will still consider 3 seconds to be the bar for "good speed" the reality is that this year (according to several sources), the maximum loading time has dropped with an entire second.
This means that if your site doesn't fully load within 2 seconds, you're already risking losing a chunk of your traffic before they even get the chance to see your design.
If you still haven't installed an SSL certificates this is something that you absolutely need to do - and ASAP.
In 2018 Chrome started showing warnings for sites with no SSL installed, and as far as we can tell, Google will continue to manage this topic with extreme seriousness. Search Engine Journal reported in October 2019 that Chrome will start blocking mixed content within a couple of months, so this is definitely something that you need to address, if you haven't already.
And now, let's take a look at this year's entries.
Web Design Trends that will dominate 2020
To be fair, this should be probably in the trends that were already existing, but I feel like the hype for minimalism in design truly exploded only in 2019.
While some people have always had preferences for minimal design due to the great focus that brings to the content, we can see that the last year this trend became truly trendy. People who were once were going for maximum effects in order to attract their customers are now shifting toward the minimalistic layouts.
This isn't really suprprising, as we now know online users get overwhelmed on a daily basis, and giving them a clean design is one of the best way to capture their attention.
The great thing about minimalistic design is that you can be as colorful as you want, as it's unlikely the small amounts of color will results in eye fatigue. Another great thing is that your navigation will be much simpler (and therefore, easier to manage), so this is definitely a big UX improvement.
The flat design is still trending and keep replacing the overloaded, flashy elements. This keeps the focus of the user where it belongs - to the content.
This is especially true for blog posts or magazine articles, where longer reading time is required in order to consume the content and therefore, distractive elements can be quite counterproductive.
Being minimal doesn't mean you can be creative or interesting! It's simply means you will take of anything that isn't a necessity away from your design. If you want a great example of how this is done, think Apple's design - nobody would ever say they are boring or unoriginal.
Geometry elements have been around for a while in the design, and it kind of seems that this would be the next logical step - a form that isn't so strict and defined.
While a form like the circle or a square can represent perfection in design, the fluid forms are more inspiring and free-spirited. Their irregular design can invite associations with lements naturally occurring in the nature, so it can be especially suitable for sites that are seeking this very image.
This trend might be related to the growing green market, filled with organic products. Users become more and more conscious about the environments, and sometimes the market demand has impact on unexpected niches, like the web design.
Usually, you will see fluid shapes in brigh colors to accent their form and make them as visible as possible.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
To nobody's surprise, the digital space is getting more and more connected to things like AR (Augmented Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence).
The former is getting extremely popular for retail stores and ecommerce project, while the AI is more and more present in the marketing tools for automation.
While in the past we've seen some experiments with artificial intelligence for sites - like welcoming figures, for example - today the AI trends is mainly implemented in order to personalize the user's experience.
All possible information for that particular user is collected, processed and then used in order to provide the most personalized experience possible. An example of that is the direct detection of live chats that use Facebook Messenger as a basis, and can greet you directly by name.
Voice search optimization is another field where AI is widely implemented when it comes to web development. This fact is likely connected to the spreading use of voice search in mobile, and also a matter of website accessibility optimization as well.
Split screen layout
You're looking to place more content, yet keep it simple? The split screen is here to help. This concept was rarely used until recently, possibly because designers were worried that the focus on both sides of the page can be a bit too much.
While it's true that users are generally leaning toward the left side of the screen, the split screen content certainly has its own charm, allowing each element ti shine on their own.
Initially, this was used for headers and top sliders, yet many sites embraced the design and extended it to their entire page, creating in some cases an asymmetric movement of the different sides.
You can see an example of this by visiting Cam Stroblel's website, the product design lead for Metalab.
You can additionally structure the design by balancing the two halves with a specific elements, such as a CTA button.
The material design concept is a Google creation, launched as their poroject (under the form of design language) in 2014.
The idea is to bringa simpler, yet more in-depth design through layering, grid-based layouts, responsive animations, transitions etc
This approach then become a huge trend in 2019 and is likely to grow in 2020. Web designers and developers lean on material design in order to create something visually attractive and memorable.
As mentioned, you will see a lot of layering (particularly "misplaced" elements), colors and shadows are often used as well in order to create movement and depth. Bright tones and animated designs are also often used, especially in IT-related websites.
Your visitors will often want to get a reaction from your site, as this reminds them of an actual interaction, not just usage.
They often want to see something happening, and when it comes to web design, this have translated in animations, and respectively, micro animations.
The micro animations are self-explanatory - basically, animated elements of a small size, like icons, for example.
While they are very far away from the previously mentioned trend of minimal distraction, the reality is that sometimes moving elements are known to increase customer's engagement, as they attract attention.
Why micro though? The main reason for this is possibly related to our previous paragraph - too much movement can take away the attention from where its needed. There is also another, more prosaic and practical explanation - sometimes big animations are simply too consuming in terms of resources and therefore, directly impact the website speed.
The key to he success is using the micro animations in moderation and on the right places. For example, they are extremely useful when you want to attract attention to a specific place, like a CTA button or accentuate a list-type item.
They can also be used as a visual menu, although you need to very clearly indicate what the icons stands for or you're risking to confuse your visitors.
Of course, high-performance hosting like our own can help with very resource-demaning websites, but you still need to optimize. If you are looking for a more powerful solutions in terms of hosting though, now it's a great time to test our solutions, as we are currently offering amazing discounts.
Bright, vibrant colors are honestly a great trend, as they make your website attractive just due the color palette.
While not suitable for all kind of websites (for example, it's hard to associate an environmentally friendly color with hot pink) if you business allows it we'd highly recommend exploring this trend.
Bold colors will make your site unique and truly noticeable. They are extremely effective for conversion purposes as well - if used properly, that is. You need to carefully select everything, if you go for a bright color - from the hue to the dimension of your elements.
It's also recommended that you get familiar with the use of colors in markeitng and what possible association are generally made with them. A good article on the matter can be found here, so we would recommend you check it (it's a bit long but totally worth it)
You can also take a look at this amazing article from the social media guru Jeff Bullas - an infographic from the can be seen down below:
We mentioned a couple of times the fact that mobile traffic keeps growing, but if you look into the statistics, you will be truly astonished by the numbers.
There are some estimations that next year will bring the mobile users to the whooping 6.95 billion. Many aspects of the web design are focused on the optimizations for mobile devices, so it's time we take a look at another one: the thumb-friendly user experience.
While it may sound a little bit as a foreign concept, in reality this trends ir oriented toward something very simple - making the user comfortable with navigating the site just using their thumb.
A couple of years ago this wasn't a big concern, but today's mobile screen keep getting bigger and bigger, and meanwhile the users still want to be able to manage them with one hand.
What does this mean from practical point of view?
Try to place all of your important elements in areas easily reachable for user's thumbs. This is particularly important for the menus, which are bound to the right side of the screen if you are trying to make thing easier for your visitors.
Clearly, 2020 will be another year with web design focused on mobile user experience, but also, on minimalism and decluttering, as people keep getting overwhelmed online.
Make sure to adapt these trends to your own project, without following them blindly, but most importantly, by keeping in mind what the best choices are for your own users.