Web Design Trends for 2019
The Future of the Web is Simple
As technology has developed and content has proliferated, we’ve inadvertently built a cluttered web, slowed down by rich media and made loud by over-messaging. The web design trends on the horizon call for refined simplicity, clear messaging, and a gentler human touch. We’re excited about it and you should be, too!
Trend One: Gentle UX
A common UX motto is “be respectful and be useful.” We are going to increasingly see that manifest in design with straightforward web pages, simple navigations, and easy-to-find calls-to-action (CTAs). That means pairing down filler/formal content such as hero images that have been used to ease users into new pages and reducing the number of clicks it takes to get from point A to B with consolidated site structures that result in simple navigations. We’ll see large organizations have smaller, optimized websites and “small” organizations have even smaller, more straightforward websites.
Trend Two: Long-Form Landing Pages / One-Page Sites
With so many users experiencing websites on mobile devices where scrolling can be managed with the flick or tap of a finger, why make people move from page-to-page when they can experience everything in a visually diverse long-form page? What will really be novel in 2019 is the embrace of a single page website to represent a brand online. Designers can use layout, CSS animations, and page index structures to compartmentalize information, create head space around interactive components, and draw attention to CTAs. Because of this, brands that only require a minimal web presence can publish a well-designed and highly optimized website quickly and cost effectively. Honestly, the level of convenience is enviable.
Trend Three: Animations
Simplicity does not mean static or without effect. Designers are using animations to help users move through websites, give a little bit of pomp and circumstance for critical information, and to create interesting ways to navigate through complex topics. There’s a lot that can be done with even the simplest animations, from visually prioritizing content around a focal point to drawing attention to CTAs, to giving life to an infographic, to enhancing the overall haptic experience of pushing a button or other important element. Animations are also making navigation on mobile devices more exciting and even changing how designers lay out content. We’ll see continued experimentation with this throughout the year.
Trend Four: Flat, Colorful Design
Skeuomorphism is never coming back. Flat design has been here to stay for some time now, and we are seeing designers take it to new levels with texturing and 3D effects. Illustrations, as an extension of flat design, are on the rise with brands investing in custom drawings to give life to their messaging. Where illustrations don’t quite fit, we’re seeing brands and web designers adopt the use of shapes (both organic and geometric) to embellish pages, segment content, or call attention to features. Bold color is also making a strong play, perhaps as a clap-back to the overly pastel world portrayed on Instagram. In fact, color blocking to organize content is on the rise and we expect to see more of it. These styles resonate with certain audiences and make sense for a lot of brands.
However, flat design isn’t a fit for every brand. Web designers are elevating websites with more traditional aesthetics through refined, and even custom-designed, typography, great layout, and high-end stock images. Speaking of stock images: we once declared them dead, however, Unsplash has single-handedly taught us the value of a beautiful stock photo. The right stock image can communicate an atmosphere and culture in ways that illustrations cannot. They’re the perfect embellishments for brands who skew more literal than others and need to evoke notions of the real world. Either way, for brands all around, the design trends of 2019 will usher in better-looking websites.
Trend Five: Conversational Experience
Google’s own definition of what they’ve coined as “conversation design” is the use of conversational language to guide users through an interface. It’s used for voice-enabled virtual assistants, apps, and websites alike. Brands are implementing conversational experiences on their digital assets in an effort to humanize those properties and create better relationships with customers. Through personalization strategies and machine learning, brands can now use actionable data to create optimized experiences for valued customers and average users alike. Imagine being greeted by name when you reach a website, or logging into your customer account and receiving information tailored to your needs based on your past habits? Users are used to that sort of experience with Amazon, but they’ll start seeing this from brands of all sizes. The potential impact this will have on conversion rates, and customer loyalty is enormous. We’ll be keeping our eyes on how this manifests across the web.
Our Own Work
There’s plenty of room in our own work to embrace these trends. A few of these we’ve already embraced for our own brand and the overall ethos of simplicity is one we’ve advocated for as a brand since day one. As we continue to build digital experiences for modern brands we’ll look for ways to use these trends to enhance experiences, working to make all of our sites easy-to-use, elegant, and effective.