6 Leading Web Design Trends to Dominate 2021 and Beyond…

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 But, the very fact that the digital landscape is ever-changing means that trends can also quickly become outdated.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 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 6 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. 

Demonstration of split screen

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.

Further demonstration of split screen design.

2. Product Focus

Product photography is an integral aspect of any successful eCommerce website. The quality and style entices the visitor into buying the product, as well as contributing to the visual design of the website. Because of this, we’re seeing more companies using product photography as the key component of their website. For example, both Google Store and Apple Store use images of their products as the key focus. They use minimal text, allowing the imagery to tell the story.

Product photography example.
Another example of product photography.

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:

Example of 3D design used within Web Design.

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. 

4. 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. 

Sample floating elements.

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.  

Example of mix and match imagery. web design trends

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.

For instance showing statistics that become visible when users continue to scroll to activate the feature. This is a unique way to tell a story using data visualisations – also known as ‘Scrollytelling’, while also increasing engagement.

This combines storytelling and scrolling together allowing a digital multimedia story to unfold as you scroll.

Example of scrolling movements within Web Design.

The example above highlights how facts and figures can be shown in a very engaging way, and how users are in control. And by scrolling down the page, the insights come into view and do so under the user’s control.

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, your visitors will bounce 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, especially after Google’s Core Web Vitals update in May 2021. 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 a great user experience. Check out our post 10 Ways To Improve Your Site Speed

GIF demonstrating long loading times.

Loading content the right way

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

Example of lazy loading, wed design trends.

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!

The future of websites will be filled with structured, vibrant, and striking images that incorporate animation and video to enhance the customer experience and as expert E-Commerce website developers, we’re looking forward to being at the front of that movement!

Going forwards websites 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.

  • Written by Simon Proctor, November 20 2020
  • Trends,