The turn of the year is always a good time to be newly inspired and to look forward to the coming year: Which shapes and design elements can we say goodbye to in the future? And which trends will dominate the design world in 2020? Web designer Sonja Hoffmann shares the most popular trends you need to know.
Various sources seem to agree that the era of flat design in 2020 will for the first time recede somewhat into the background. For one thing, it is suspected that other designs will simply come to the foreground. And secondly, that a change towards semi-flat design could be on the rise.
In addition, illustrations are on the rise, mostly hand-drawn and far from perfectionism. Not only will headers have a more personal touch, but also firmly integrated elements such as icons and buttons. Because web design – as various experts in specialist publications agree on – has had a too artificial and perfect touch in recent years. In the future, more attention will be paid to individuality and personality.
Gradients came with the further development of CSS and will remain with us in the future. There seems to be sufficient need for exploration and development in this area. In 2020 we can also look forward to the variations and combinations that await us. Colour gradients also continue to occupy a firm place in logo design.
Bold colours and minimalism will still play a major role in 2020
The abundance of information we are confronted with today forces us to present our information in a clearer and more crisp way. Sensibly used areas ensure that the user can work through the content more quickly and thus have a more pleasant but also more efficient user experience. Minimalism, especially the use of whitespace, will continue to be an essential component of design concepts in the coming year.
Minimalism – meaning a very simple and reduced design – is increasingly coming into its own in the form of monochromatic variations. In this case, you are welcome to use loud and expressive colours.
Natural colours are not going anywhere
The turn of the year, with its infinite forecasts, brings with it ideas for "the colour of the year" once again this year. Which, most designers agree, will continue to be in the realm of nature. We will also see some soft green and blue tones in 2020, with a tendency towards "mint".
Graphic elements combined with images or photographs
Even in 2020 there will probably still be a tendency towards asymmetrical layouts. Especially pictures and photographs are combined with illustrations and "Bold Typography". A mixture of graphic elements and visual material thus rounds off the minimalist trend for the coming year in an exciting way.
The user remains the focus of attention
Also in the future the focus of good web design will be on the user. Especially in the field of e-commerce, the user experience of the end consumer is the main focus of all creative decisions. Clear designs that are easy to navigate and to understand will replace abstract and confusing layouts. The user journey should be as simple and straight forward as possible. Colour-coded call-to-actions will be used in a more targeted manner.
In addition to clearly structured online shops, responsive resign in particular will continue to be prioritized. Why? In the Western world, almost 60 percent of our mobile devices now access the Internet.
Now that Google has officially made mobile friendliness a major factor in its ranking, no one should neglect their mobile web presence any longer if they still want to gain website visitors in 2020. So, we will not be freed from the terms "mobile first" and "responsive" in the future either.
Furthermore, the embedding of SVG files remains a hot topic. Even if it is not new information, too few websites still use vectorized graphics. Especially on the smaller devices, vector graphics have significant advantages – for example, faster loading times and exceptional clarity with 100% scalability.
Since the panic that was caused by the GDPR, we are all aware that our data is stored. In the future, this data should be used more sensibly and more tailored to the user. Targeted ads are already no longer a novelty. From now on, we will be able to receive push notifications from the websites we visit, even if the success of these is difficult to understand for us website operators (What really arrives? What is actually read?).
This makes the use of chat bots and AI more sensible, as they are based on mutual interaction and offer a clearly recognizable added value for the consumer.
We have had enough of rigid websites for now: 2020 will be more moving and animated. So far the medium "video" has been used relatively sparingly in web design. Finally, when using moving images, the consequences on loading time, bounce rate and Google ranking must always be taken into account.
At the latest since the introduction of the new, more web-friendly .webm format, this has loosened up somewhat. So in order to create more interesting web presences in the future, we will see more often animated illustrations in the form of GIF's. In addition, there will be more so-called micro-interactions, which will make navigation through the sites clearer and more friendly.
Micro-interactions are small animations that show us as users that something is happening or should happen here. A playful form of "feedback" so to speak. As a user, you feel more integrated and can identify more easily with the website/product. In addition, these interactions can provide positive surprise moments and serve as a guideline to define the user journey more clearly. This makes the user flow easier - the user is more likely to find what he is looking for on the website.
A micro-interaction can look like this, for example:
3D and "3D light"
As a side effect of the spread of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), we expect more 3D elements integrated into our website designs in the future. However, AR/VR will still not make the breakthrough into web design next year. One reason for this is that the costs are still too high. But also the contradiction to the optimized loading times and the designs that focus on the end user. After all, the use of new technologies makes the most sense, of course, if there is an obvious added value.
As a cost-saving alternative – kind of a light version of 3D – elements placed on top of each other are very popular. Especially with light shadows underlaid, these suggest a slight three-dimensionality and create more depth.
Since the general data protection regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May 2018, a number of infringements have already been sanctioned. Including heavy ones, like Heise Online reports in this article . In the meantime, a concept has been agreed upon for the assessment of the extend of fines which also takes into account the turnover of the company and the seriousness of the offence.
Furthermore, we expect the ePrivacy Regulation, which will clarify the legal situation regarding tracking tools, to be issued in 2020. The ePrivacy Regulation was originally intended to come into effect with the GDPR. Both regulations serve data protection for the time being. Which requirements the ePrivacy Regulation will bring for website operators is explained by lawyer Mario Steinberg in his article.
Abundance of web tools and frameworks
Next year we will still suffer with an abundance of "programming aids" in the form of frameworks and a further increase in supposedly easier to learn languages. However, the market has almost reached saturation – and our developers have reached the limit of their goodwill. The frameworks, which were initially intended to simplify the implementation of designs, have also caused complications in the past. In the future, although maybe not yet next year, simpler uniform solutions will be sought after.
High hopes for React
Although React has already gained in importance in 2019, it has not yet reached its peak and will be more and more in our focus in 2020. With the help of React we will most likely continue to integrate UI elements into our websites and web applications. For front-end developers it is definitely a tool that is worth learning. This is especially true in the WordPress context, since the new Gutenberg Block Editor is based on React.
PHP, Ruby, Python, Node.js, Java, and .Net also remain relatively equivalent programming languages for the backend.
Frontend and backend will have an even bigger user-focus
In the future, we will not only generate and evaluate backend data, but also extend this data to the frontend. This will help us to understand more about what is clicked when and how, which will make it easier for us to customize UI more efficiently and permanently improve the UX.
2020 and beyond
Based on current developments, we can assume in the long term that the web will become even more interactive in the future. I definitely see greater potential for experiences that are directly and individually tailored to the individual user. Be it, for example, through an unusual and creative navigation menu, as with the portfolio of Bruno Simon.
In general, the Internet should be more fun – be it through more creative and personal approaches in the creation and distribution of information. A great example is the wonderful and playful list of web design trends for 2020, which the New York agency Red Collar implemented on this website.
When speaking about trends I would also like to mention the implementation of voice navigation. Even if this technology will probably not have its major breakthrough in 2020, we can prepare for it in the long term. As well as, once again with the focus on the users: That also means that we should create websites that are more thoughtfully tailored to and accessible by people with limitations.
So we can conclude that 2020 is going to be an exciting year in terms of web design, in which we want to refine our accumulated knowledge and present it in a more accessible way - with more personality and fun.
Do you have feedback on the above mentioned developments or other web design trends for the year 2020 in mind? We are looking forward to your comment!
Picture: Elina Krima | Pexels