6 Leading Web Design Trends to Dominate 2021 and Beyond…

2021 is just around the corner, so it's important to make sure your website meets the new demands of web design trends.

User expectations are continually changing, and digital developments are forever evolving, so what does this mean for web design? 

It’s no surprise that design trends will change over the years to keep up with user expectations and digital advancements. But, the very fact that the digital landscape is ever-changing means that trends can also quickly become outdated. This can either call for a complete website overhaul or simple tweaks here and there to ensure your website is engaging and current.

To help keep you ahead of the curve we’ve put together a variety of design trends, which we expect to gain momentum over the coming months. Here are the top 8 that we think you should keep your eyes on. 

1. Split-screen design

Split-screen website design is a layout technique used by website designers to showcase two separate elements at once - text and imagery side by side for example. These two elements typically complement each other and work hand in hand. It can also make the website look more appealing and well-organised, aiding the customer journey. We’re expecting to see the use of split screens coming into force more and more throughout 2021. 

This type of design is great to help you segment. In this instance, on ASOS, it’s being used to segment audiences, but It’s also a brilliant way to segment informative content too. The example below uses a split-screen to highlight firstly on the left, an overview of their offering, while the right showcases the key benefits such as reliability. Instead of displaying content vertically where users typically need to scroll down to explore a company's features, products or services, users can view the content horizontally, gaining a quick and instant snapshot of the offerings. 

2. Product Focus

Product photography is an integral aspect of any successful eCommerce website, it’s the main selling point so it makes sense to invest in great quality. The quality and style of the photography work together to entice the visitor into buying the product as well as contributing to the overall visual design of the website. Due to this, we’re seeing more companies using product photography as the key component of their website - let’s take Google Store for example and even Apple Store. They both use images of their products as the key focus of their website, using minimal text, allowing the imagery to tell the story.

3. 3D design

3D design elements have intrigued website users for many years now. Thanks to evolving web technology and web designers constantly upping their game, 3D elements are being used more and more, in innovative and exciting new ways.  

The trend allows web designers to prettify their websites, encouraging potential customers to stay on-site for longer and become more engaged with your brand, increasing the average session time. When done right, the results can be stunning. Let’s take a look at an example:

https://www.awwwards.com/sites/cowboy 

Above is an example of 3D design being used in web design. Upon initial reaction, the website seems high end, established, and authoritative. It’s clear that a lot of time and effort has gone into the creation of their website, and the benefits are huge. 

  1. Floating Elements

Following on from 3D design is the notion of floating elements. Floating elements can make designs more layered and interesting to the eye. The example below demonstrates that interesting designs are the result of innovative and out the box thinking. 

https://www.awwwards.com/inspiration/pyp-informatica

5. Mix and Match Imagery

Another big trend for 2021 will be overlapping graphics onto photography. High-quality photographs already look great on their own but mixing in some cool graphics will showcase your creative flair.  

https://www.awwwards.com/inspiration/slideshow-transition

Whether illustrations are hand or computer drawn, they provide a great opportunity to incorporate simple animation to your otherwise static photography. A key thing to note is not to go overboard with animations - in some cases, icons may be more appropriate - but whichever direction you choose to go in, keep your animations simple and purposeful. The example above has done this effortlessly. They’ve taken imagery and added extra visual elements to tie the photography in nicely with the brand. 

6. Scrolling Movements

We’re seeing more and more websites opting for scrolled animations, this simply means that when you scroll through a page, instead of the page remaining static it moves with you. It’s similar to Parallax design, however, stats are only visible when users continue to scroll to activate the feature. It’s a brilliant way to highlight facts and figures while also increasing engagement. It’s a unique way to tell a story using data visualisations - also known as ‘Scrollytelling’, which combines storytelling and scrolling together allowing a digital multimedia story to unfold as you scroll.

https://www.awwwards.com/inspiration/interactive-animated-infographic

Above is an excellent example of this. They highlight facts and figures in a very engaging way, and what’s more, is that users are in control. To view the information, users are required to scroll on the webpage - this is the only way to view the insights. Do you have interesting facts and figures that would be great to showcase this way? 

Other Things To Consider...

Website design is crucial for first impressions, however, don’t forget the importance of solid functionality and technical performance too. If your website is designed well but takes ages to load, chances are your visitors will bounce over to a competitor site. Here are a couple of things to think about, to ensure that doesn’t happen… 

Website and page load time

One of the most important factors in successful web design is ultra-fast loading time. This isn’t a new trend and has been an essential factor within website development years.  It continues to be a top priority for websites that want to rank high in the search results and convert better results too.   

But why? Because if your site takes longer than two seconds to load, visitors will most likely leave. And they probably won’t be back to your site. Ever. This is something that can be rectified and should be. 

Website loading times are a standard metric that all web designers look at to ensure great user experience. If you want to know how to improve your website performance and increase page load time, we’ve got you covered.

https://www.awwwards.com/inspiration/loading-adventure-time-distant-lands

Loading content the right way

So many websites are guilty of being a little too heavy on graphical and technical elements that slow their website down. And with the surge of savvy web users bouncing straight off these sites in under a second, it’s time these websites changed.

There are now many ways to develop smart websites that only download the content that the user needs to see. We’re referring to Lazy loading here. It’s a web design standard that has already been used in recent years, especially for websites that have very long landing pages. It simply defers the loading of an image that is not needed on the page immediately, loading items as and when the user scrolls down.

Lazy loading ensures that the web browser only downloads the content you need to see on the screen at that moment, without loading content that the user might never see.  

https://web.dev/browser-level-image-lazy-loading/

Are you ready for web design in 2021 and beyond? 

The take-home from this blog is to make sure your website is clean, functional and eye-catching! We’re expecting 2021 to be filled with structured, vibrant, and striking websites that incorporate animation and video to enhance the customer journey and experience. They’ll also be loading smartly - making sure users find the information they want straight away! Got some ideas of your own? If you’re looking for a partner to help you bring them to life, get in touch. Talk to a member of our team or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

 

 

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