Every year, we get the chance to be inspired by the latest trends and look at the upcoming developments in web design. Which aesthetics will we be saying goodbye to in the future? And which trends will dominate the design world in the years to come? Web designer Sonja Hoffmann gives us some insights in this article.
Trends on their way out
Many sources seem to agree that the era of flat design will recede somewhat into the background for the first time in 2020. For one thing, other designs is expected to come to the foreground. And secondly, a change towards semi-flat design could be on the horizon.
Illustrations mostly drawn by hand and far removed from perfectionism are on the rise. This way, not only headers will have a more personal touch but firmly integrated elements such as icons and buttons too. Various experts in specialist publications agree that web design 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. We can look forward to new variations and combinations in 2020. Color gradients also continue to occupy a firm place in logo design.
Bold colors and minimalism will still play a major role in 2020
The abundance of information we're confronted with today forces us to present our information in a clearer and snappy way. Sensibly used areas ensure that the user can work through the content more quickly and thus have a more pleasant and 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, in the sense of very simple and reduced design, is increasingly coming into its own in the form of monochromatic variations. Designers are invited to use loud and expressive colors in this area.
Natural colors aren't going anywhere
As always, the turn of the year brings with it infinite forecasts and predictions for the "color of the year" are no exception. Most designers agree this color will continue to be in the realm of nature. We'll see some soft green and blue tones in 2020 with a tendency towards "mint".
Graphic elements combined with images or photographs
There'll probably still be a tendency towards asymmetrical layouts in 2020. Especially pictures and photographs are combined with illustrations and "bold typography". The exciting mixture of graphic elements and visual material thus rounds off the minimalist trend for the coming year.
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 eCommerce, 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 straightforward as possible. Color-coded CTAs 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 have access to the internet.
Now that Google has officially made mobile friendliness a major factor in its ranking, no one can afford to neglect their mobile web presence if they still want to attract website visitors in 2020. The terms "mobile first" and "responsive" will accompany us in the future too.
Furthermore, embedding SVG files remains a hot topic. It's probably not news to you but too few websites use vector graphics. Vector graphics have significant advantages, particularly on smaller devices, including faster loading times and exceptional clarity with 100% scalability.
After the panic surrounding GDPR, we're all aware of the fact that our data is stored. In the future, this data should be used more sensibly and more tailored to the user. Targeted ads are nothing new. From now on, we'll be able to receive push notifications from the websites we visit, even if it's difficult for us website operators to measure the success of these messages (What do readers learn? What is actually read?).
It makes more sense to use chat bots and AI here as they're based on mutual interaction and offer a clearly recognizable added value for the consumer.
We've had enough of motionless websites for now and 2020 will bring more movement and animation. The medium of "video" has so far been used relatively sparingly in web design. After all, the effects on loading time, bounce rate, and Google ranking must be taken into account when using moving images.
This situation has relaxed somewhat ever since the introduction of the new, more web-friendly .webm format. To create more interesting web presences in the future, we'll be seeing more animated illustrations in the form of GIFs. In addition, there'll be more so-called micro-interactions to make navigation through the sites clearer and more user friendly.
Micro-interactions are small animations that show us as users that something is happening or should be happening. 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 they are looking for on the website.
An example of a micro-interaction:
3D and "3D light"
As a side effect of the spread of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), we expect more 3D elements to be integrated into our website designs in the future. However, AR/VR won't make the breakthrough into web design next year. One reason for this is that the costs are still too high. But also the conflict with optimized loading times and the designs that focus on the end user. The use of new technologies ultimately makes the most sense, of course, if there's obvious added value.
As a cheaper alternative, basically a kind of a light version of 3D, elements placed on top of each other are very popular. Especially when underlaid with light shadows, these elements suggest a slight three-dimensionality and create more depth.
After the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018, a number of infringements have already been sanctioned. These have included particularly heavy fines as reported in this article . In the meantime, a concept has been agreed upon for the assessment of the extent of fines which also takes into account the turnover of the company and the seriousness of the offence.
Furthermore, we expect the ePrivacy Regulation to be issued in 2020. This will clarify the legal situation regarding tracking tools. The ePrivacy Regulation was originally intended to come into effect with the GDPR. Both regulations are designed for the purpose of upholding data protection. Expert lawyer Mario Steinberg explains which rules the ePrivacy Regulation will bring for website operators this article.
An abundance of web tools and frameworks
Next year we'll still have to endure an abundance of "programming aids" in the form of frameworks and an increase in supposedly easier to learn languages. The market has almost reached saturation, however, and our developers have reached the limit of their goodwill. Frameworks 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's not yet reached its peak and will be more and more in our focus in 2020. With the help of React, we'll most likely continue to integrate UI elements into our websites and web applications. It's definitely a tool worth learning for frontend developers. 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'll not only generate and evaluate backend data but also extend this data to the frontend. This will help us understand more about what is clicked when and how and so 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 the web will become even more interactive in the future. I definitely see greater potential for experiences that are directly and individually tailored to individual users. Be it, for example, through an unusual and creative navigation menu, as with the portfolio from Bruno Simon.
The internet should be more fun across the board with more creative and personal approaches to creating and distributing information. A stunning example is the beautiful and playful list of web design trends for 2020 from the New York agency Red Collar on this website.
The implementation of voice navigation needs to be mentioned here. Even if this technology is unlikely to have its major breakthrough in 2020, we can prepare for it in the long term. And again, with the user in focus. That also means that we should create websites that are more thoughtfully tailored to and accessible by people with disabilities.
2020 is definitely going to be an exciting year in terms of web design and a year 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 developments mentioned above or any other web design trends for 2020? We are looking forward to your comment!
Picture: Elina Krima | Pexels