Web design has been constantly evolving over the years. The creative and technological industries are the ones with the most rapid development out there, so it is not surprising that new design trends and methods of realizing them keep cropping up. All the biggest media outlets within this industry have been trying to answer the question – what are the currently most relevant trends? We present you with some of the predictions made by professionals.
For a very long time, white background was considered to be the only way in which to display blank space within a website or an app. Although dark pages appeared earlier on, they became a trend only in 2020, and it is estimated that this trend will also continue in 2021.
For many, the most renowned advancer of this trend is Apple, and, as you will see on this page, dark mode is a great way to add a fashionable and elegant feel to the digital display of any product.
Dark mode presents an opportunity for the designer to play with new and creative elements such as pastels and neon colors, both of which were typical color trends of 2020. At the same time, it has been proven that using dark mode is more beneficial to mobile device batteries (especially for devices with OLED and AMOLED screens) as well as to our eyes, minimizing the effects of blue light.
The use of a dark background is a fantastic way in which to enhance the contrast between elements, making them stand out and become more noticeable. Often the user is offered the option to choose either the light or the dark mode, thus improving the user experience.
Nowadays, a modern design not only entails aesthetic enjoyment, but it also goes hand in hand with the ease of its usability. A trend that is not new, but that will continue to be relevant in the future, is minimalism.
Being less about the visual style and more about design tendencies, minimalism is based on the most essential elements – basic geometric shapes, clear blocks of text, limited color palettes, and white space – with one single aim to create a simple, functional, and memorable design.
Not that long ago minimalism was associated more closely with the black and white color palette, then now a colorful minimalism is trending with its pronounced blocks of color, backgrounds, sans serif fonts, and minimalistic design elements.
As mentioned before, this trend not only defines the visual design of a web page but also its functionality and usability – it is certain that minimalism will be the main component of modern UI design in the upcoming years as well.
During this year, cartoon illustrations have gained massive popularity both in graphic and social media design. Many companies choose to enrich their websites not only with graphic, but also hand-drawn illustrations in order to add uniqueness to their page, establish a closer connection with the product itself, and to enhance the user experience when visiting the page.
Lately the style of “odd bodies” has been gaining increased popularity, in which human shapes are portrayed with exaggerated body proportions.
Illustration and character design allow for breaking the accepted norms of “correct” body types and skin colors – the new trends make these characters more inclusive, and free them of many prejudices.
When users are scrolling through a website, they not only navigate through it but also interactively participates within it. Their physical movements of hands and fingers influence what happens on the screen. This type of interaction is an act of participation, and when the user is included in such a process, it is more likely that it will increase their interest and immersion.
Scrolling is one of the finest forms of interactivity, which is why in 2021 designers will face a challenge to improve this visual feedback loop that the users receive when scrolling. Such a site may result in changing all the colors seen on the page to very complex animated transitions and a complete change of arrangement. In terms of emotion, each such scroll will create a constant sense of surprise.
In 2021, web animations will become more sophisticated, dividing page components into foreground and background elements, thus creating the parallax effect.
Video has already proven itself to be the most attractive form of online content, which is why it is not surprising that movement has become a very significant trend of the near future. Movement and animation in web design are perfect ways in which to make the normally simple and sometimes slightly boring web page more exciting and engaging to the user.
At the same time, an increasing number of websites employ various interactive elements – quizzes, games, questionnaires, voting, etc.
Contemporary UI and UX design is not a trend, but a requirement that will not disappear. Often the use of micro-interactions can be a subtle way in which to involve the user into various processes. In 2021 these interactions will likely be animated, starting from smaller elements – call-to-action buttons, cursors, products themselves, pop-up illustrations, and everything else that can be made to move. Non-intrusive but interesting and playful elements will be the ones on which to put the emphasis. Interactivity is not only a fun addition to the online experience but a great way to attract visitors, at the same time learning more about them.
In web design, for some time now color palettes are moving towards the use of gradients, but this year this trend is evolving on a whole other level, with the color transitions becoming more realistic than ever. Considering the new Apple Big Sur operating system, it is expected that colors will become more saturated and three dimensional, almost like fruit, ready to pluck straight from the screen.
This effect is achieved by using fine shading that adds a new, rounded feel to the flat icons that were so popular before. Overall, this trend seems to indicate that the web design colors of 2021 are aiming for higher levels of realism.
Three-dimensional design elements have long-excited website users; their popularity is only enhanced by the new and improved possibilities of novel virtual reality technologies. The implementation of such elements allows the UI and UX designer to make any page more attractive and engaging to the user, who is then encouraged to spend more time on the website. The rapid development of designing software also enables this trend to develop and to incorporate 3D elements within texts and images.
In 2021, illustrations and animations made using 3D methods, that nowadays are quite easy to access, will create the long-awaited WOW effect.
Over the past few years, contemporary web design has focused on the user, and this trend will become even more significant in 2021. The experience of using a webpage should be uniform, uninterrupted, and engaging, which requires fast page loading, organized and easy-to-navigate design and the inclusion of multimedia elements.
The design needs to be packaged with functionality and creativity in order to create a great UX based on clear design and at the same time maintaining imagination and uniqueness.
This trend states that both UX and UI must be intuitive, which requires a design with voice-controlled interfaces, image and video text captions, moderate movement, and no distracting elements. The main thing is to provide the user with easy-to-read content and an easy-to-use interface while presenting it all in a user-friendly visual format.
Still, it must be emphasized that the use of websites on mobile devices keeps increasing, so all of their elements must look perfect on the computer, as on the mobile device.
The web design trends of 2021 include a mix of the usage of solid, thick fonts, moving illustrations and 3D elements, realistic textures and futuristic dark mode, abstract data visualization, and voice-controlled user interfaces.
To create a successful product that will be relevant to the user, the designer must try to combine multiple trends, while at the same time remembering that the main goal of UI/ UX design is to help the user achieve their goals. For this reason, one must take care not to over-crowd the website with too many web design trends that can make the usability of the site more difficult.
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Materials from the following sources were used for this compilation of trends:
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