Web design involves two fields that are in constant change: marketing and technology. That’s why web design trends change with each passing year. It’s important for business owners and web developers to keep track of these changes. Keeping up with the latest web design trends ensures your website is visually appealing to the modern consumer. So, what are the current web design trends as of 2021?
The minimalist approach
Minimalism is not a new design trend, interior designers and web developers have been using it for ages. It is, however, making a comeback in 2021. Minimalism is all about going for less. Less clutter, minimal colours and fewer design elements. This spartan approach can be useful as the reader’s attention is grabbed by the messaging or the products on display, not the design. Minimalism also focuses on maximising the white space, which further draws focus to the webpage content. This works well for brands going for a ‘serious’ and more formal identity.
In 2021, even budget computers come with the memory and processing power to conveniently render 3D visuals. Modern browsers also come equipped to handle these digital elements fluidly and the speed of the internet nowadays allows the heavier web pages to load faster. Therefore, it makes sense that 3D visuals are becoming an increasingly popular website design trend. These work well for animators, movie/video directors and game developers. Visitors get to interact with these 3D models with their mouse pointers, adding a level of appeal to the website.
An example of a website with 3d visuals that launched Adidas to promote a clothing collection
Subtlety, especially regarding the color palette, is another trend in web design to watch for in 2021. This follows the dark mode trend that dominated 2020 and 2019. Softer, more muted down colours offer a less harsh screen glare which is perfect for longtime viewing, especially on mobile devices. Having a subtle colour scheme also helps to draw attention to the web copy and the other visual elements presented on the page. It’s a design choice that works well for almost any type of website.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
2021 web design trends are going high-tech. Augmented reality is when real-life visual elements are inter-layered with computer-generated effects. Think back to the Pokemon Go craze, where players would find digital Pokemon in real-life locations. Virtual reality, on the other hand, creates a fully digital environment that users can interact with.
Both technologies require website visitors to have the tools to enjoy these features. For augmented reality, this could just be a smartphone, virtual reality requires compatible headsets. These work well for a tech-savvy audience that has the necessary equipment to experience these environments.
Abstract art is not exactly a modern phenomenon, it’s been there for centuries. That being said, it seems to be making another appearance in mainstream web design. Abstract art is all about unstructured designs with flowy lines and adventurous colour combinations. It offers more emotional and vibrant visuals which brands are hoping will make their websites stand out. With recent trends preferring a ‘cleaner’ polished look, abstract art makes the design more eye-catching. It’s perfect for websites and brands seeking to connect with their audience emotionally.
An example of using abstract art on a website
Questionnaires have been popular on the web for a while now, think back to all those BuzzFeed quizzes. What questionnaires offer is the opportunity for the visitor to convey their preferences or opinions regarding a brand or a list of products. It’s great for websites dealing with nutrition or cosmetics where a person’s choices are driven by their preferences. However, this trend is one of those that need to be implemented carefully.
Internet users are increasingly becoming uncomfortable with sharing their personal details with businesses – and for a good reason. Make sure that you are transparent with why you need this information and commit to not sharing it with any third parties.
The 2020-2021 period has been marked by many challenges to the global social and economic fabric. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the loss of life and economic disenfranchisement on a previously unprecedented scale. There have been numerous social upheavals, globally, on issues like race relations. As humans, we are also becoming more conscious of the impacts of global warming. This is not an exhaustive list, though – this period has been difficult and eventful in many ways.
Brands are increasingly starting to see the need to show their allyship and commitment to the values and causes championed by their consumers. Hence, more web designs showing prominence to social issues and causes that are supported by businesses. This is a trend that is set to continue throughout the year, and possibly after that.
Parallax scrolling effects
2021 has been the year for spectacular scrolling effects, but Parallax scrolling has been the standout trend. Parallax scrolling is when the background and foreground visual elements scroll at different speeds. The background usually contains images, while the foreground is the text. Apart from the novelty of it, the effect makes it easier to focus on the content. That’s why it’s one of the top new trends for websites that focus on long-form content.
Web design has to keep up with the trends, and no trend defines modern online communication like emojis. Love them or hate them, emojis are everywhere. Emojis are all about being concise, communicating what would have required a sentence, or even a paragraph, through a series of images. While they are perfect in terms of brevity, you should know that different cultures, and even age groups, might have different interpretations regarding certain emojis. They also won’t work well for ‘serious’ brands and may appear unprofessional.
The final word
A business needs to be careful before adopting one of these trends in web design. Not all of them have a universal appeal. Making the wrong decision can alienate your target market. It is also important to note that you can combine two or more of these very effectively. Always make web design choices that work with your brand image and the customer segment(s) that you are targeting.