The web turned 30 in 2019 and over the last three decades it has changed our world like no other technology. It’s empowered us to build experiences we’d never have imagined. As its creator, Tim Berners-Lee said to mark its anniversary, “The web has become a public square, a library, a doctor’s office, a shop, a school, a design studio, an office, a cinema, a bank, and so much more.”
For this year’s annual trends post, I’ve explored the design trends that will not only help build a better web but will also help brands catch the attention of users in a busy and constantly world.
- Minimalist and simplistic design
- 3D digital artwork
- Black and white web design
- AI technology: Chatbots
- Bold and big typography
Trends aren’t just about the latest frameworks or immersive 3D experiences that only privileged users can access. It’s about how trends fit in the overall picture, and how we can improve the experience for as many users—as diverse as they may be—as possible. Let’s hope at least some of these trends will make an impact over the next 12 months so that we can build the web that we want.
Whitespace is the blank spaces between the lines or columns of text, the spaces around each visual element and the margins on the website. While most commonly white, whitespaces can also be made up of any other background colour as long as it offers unused open spaces between design elements.
This trend is sure to dominant as it helps create a spacious and well-balanced feel among users visiting such a website. Choosing to add sufficient whitespace comes down to more than a cosmetic decision. It is a clever business decision as by incorporating whitespaces, users will digest content without feeling overwhelmed and will likely stay longer on a particular website thereby increasing the conversion rate.
Be sure to recommend to your clients the use of whitespaces if their web performance is showing high bounce rates and short session times. Here are some examples that have used this trend to subtly affect the UX.
2. MINIMALIST AND SIMPLISTIC DESIGN
The minimalist design trend is about confidently and fearlessly exposing users to your brand with a less is more design approach. To balance aesthetics with functionality, minimalist web design is defined by fearless use of space, stunning visuals, striking typography and an overall focus on the content itself – and nothing else.
Such websites are easy to spot with its clean and minimal layout that centres on the idea that design is created to support content. Websites that have perfected the balancing act between aesthetics and functionality offer a UX that is engaging, insightful and memorable.
In a world of clutter and noise, help your clients stand out with a website that is attractive, minimal, simple and well-balanced as shown by these inspiring examples.
3. 3D DIGITAL ARTWORK
Websites are moving away from the traditional flat design to a more immersive design experience where 3D digital artwork breathes life to brands and products.
One area of the web where 3D digital artwork will have the most impact is with brands that exclusively sell online. The 3D artwork rendering of products will help improve online sales as users get to experience the product in more detail. This design trend is expected to revolutionise the way users do their online shopping.
Essentially 3D artwork opens the doorway to reduce the barriers to online shopping as anxious online shoppers grow in confidence while experiencing and engaging with the product on more than one-dimensional plane. Of course, 3D digital artwork as a way of creating captivating UX is not limited to online stores but can be incorporated into any brand from Coco-Cola to General Electric, as shown here.
4. BLACK AND WHITE WEB DESIGN
Having millions of colours to choose from makes a web designers job all that easier but if this trend has its way, web designers will be helping brands tell their story in a monochromatic way. 2020 is set to see web designers exploring the design challenge of creating beauty with the clever use of black and white.
By limiting the web design to these two colours, brands will stand out in a world where an explosion of colour is expected. Keeping to black and white, brands will be able to paint a picture where users are forced to use their imaginations to bring the brand to life.
It’s no secret, users are often drawn to black and white web designs as it represents sophistication, glamour, power, and class. If you’re thinking about redesigning a client’s website, find inspiration with these impactful black and white website designs.
5. AI TECHNOLOGY: CHATBOTS
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making its way into web design by cleverly automating and humanising the way information is conveyed to users. Where chatbots lack emotional intelligence, they offer boundless opportunities for brands to offer sophisticated conversations with users by answering questions in real-time.
By taking the time to incorporate AI into the web design, brands can deliver around-the-clock support and assistance to website visitors.
While chatbots are only in its infant years, it is already regarded as the easiest way to reduce bounce rates, support users and improve conversion rates. As AI matures, we can expect to see a more humanised approach. This trend is the first step in using AI to bring the brand and user closer together within the digital environment, as noted in these examples.
6. BOLD AND BIG TYPOGRAPHY
With most other elements on the chopping block, the one that every website cannot do without is words. Typography brings immediate focus to the words and content while crafting a much larger intriguing visual. Big and bold typography demands attention while creating a modern and contemporary feel.
Grabbing the user’s attention by adding visual weight to the typography will help guide the user to where they should look first. Care should be given to not overuse heavy fonts or exaggerated sizes as it can become overwhelming. Remember, if everything is bold, then nothing is bold.
As shown in these examples, try to use bold fonts for short pieces of text, headers or sub-headers to grasp the user’s attention while at the same time providing a unique and memorable brand experience.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As we step into a new decade, whitespace will be a strong contender for the hottest web design trend while the use of minimalist designs is sure to gain ground especially when paired with black and white web design that features bold typography.
As a web designer, my goal for 2020 is to design websites that “can add feeling back to the web and truly delivering on the promise that got us all so excited in the early days when the world wide web was only in our imaginations”. If your clients want a website that balances aesthetics with function, contact me and let’s get started.
What web design trend do you think will have the greatest impact in propelling your clients’ websites into 2020?
About the Author
Christina Oosthuizen (UX and UI Designer at Eclipse Digital Marketing Agency)
As a freelance web designer, I work, remotely from the sunny shores of Cape Town, with clients from different industries throughout the world. With my passionate, fearless, hard-working, caffeine-charged, idea-generating, fun-loving, late-night working, client-focused approach, I am able to create good web designs that equate to good business and fattened bottom-lines.
With over 7 years of experience, I explore my passion for business building by combining my client’s strategy with my good web design to ensure we dive deeper, grow stronger and reach further into creating a digital footprint for the brand.