It’s that time of year again — time to assess what’s trending and what will be trending in the new year. 2020 seemed to go by in a flash, between COVID-19 and a heated political climate. What trends did we see this year?
We’ve seen a solid juxtaposition between bold and minimal. Whether that had to do with graphics, typography, or layouts. Websites were either chock-full of whitespace or crammed with 3D elements. Both of these trends are set to continue into 2021, as designers perfect their ideas and execution.
What else can we expect to see in 2021?
In iOS 13.0, Apple presented Dark Mode for its users, system-wide. At this point, you’ve more than likely come in contact with this appearance mode, whether it’s on your phone, computer, or email inbox. With most apps, users can choose to activate the dark theme in order to reduce eye strain. Make sure you’re keeping this trend in mind as the Internet starts to go “dark”.
BACK TO MINIMALISM
Many modern websites are offering a simple, streamlined user experience. That may call for a minimalist layout with bold, 3D graphics, or an overall minimalist experience with limited colors, graphics, and copy.
With VR and AR continuously gaining momentum in the digital age, so comes hyper-realistic 3D visuals. 3D visuals offer website visitors a unique experience as they toe the line between reality and the digital realm.
- Scroll-triggered animations: Scroll-triggered animations encourage users to scroll and click through the page layouts to see various animations along with coinciding content. It creates serious user engagement.
- Non-traditional scrolling: Non-traditional scrolling can engage users with a more unique user experience. This typically means a horizontal scroll rather than a vertical scroll. Paired with animation and creative typography, non-traditional scrolling can be a great way to disrupt the typical UX design.
ENHANCED VIDEO CONFERENCING
First-time installations of Zoom’s mobile app have risen by 728% since March 2nd of this year. Video conferencing was already a staple in many businesses’ routines. Now that most employees are remote, though, it’s crucial that these services can handle the traffic and improve the user experience. Zoom and Microsoft Teams have announced new features and Cisco has debuted Webex Classrooms, which lets teachers set up online classes, schedule virtual office hours, and parent-teacher conferences.
IMPROVED PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY
Gone are the days of the static product photograph. Shopping online is an easier, more convenient, and safer way to buy what you want and need, rather than buying in-store. What happens, though, when you can’t see, touch, and feel these products in real life? It’s harder to decide what to buy without a tangible item in front of you.
3D product images that let you rotate them 360º and get the closest thing to an in-person shopping experience. Apple AirPods offer a perfect example of an improved product experience, with 3D visuals, videos, and scroll animations.
2020 has seen a plethora of new stressors that only piled on to the pre-existing ones we had. What better way to combat this unfortunate trend than with calming, soothing web design? Try this very calming tile puzzle game from Yuko Higuchi x Gucci.
Prior to COVID-19, who would’ve thought there would be such demand for scientific data visualization? Since humans are such visual creatures and there is so much data to absorb, data visualization will be a crucial, continuing trend for the foreseeable future.
Want your heading to be the first thing your visitors see and absorb? Do more than a large font-size and bolded font. Choose a unique font that will stand out amongst the rest of your web design and content.
Most websites are built on a grid layout. It organizes the structure and allows focus on key elements. But why limit yourself and your design? Asymmetric layouts allow designers to ignore traditional design and explore unique, exciting stylizing.
BUILDING UPON 2020 TRENDS
As with most trends in the wide world of web design, a lot of them stick and become the standard for years. They turn into best practices and UX/UI standards rather than fleeting fads.
- Improved page load: Improving your page load should be a constant point of improvement in your web design. Lighter graphics and file sizes will continue to be the trend for web design best practices.
- Chatbots: Chatbots will continue to become the norm on B2B and B2C websites, executing simple customer service requests and personal shopping. Their technology will only become more intelligent and useful as it improves.
- Voice search: Voice search has been a big trend in the last couple of years, with virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa becoming more heavily used in the digital world. More website will integrate voice search in addition to traditional text search.
- VR: As we talked about with the trend of 3D, VR experiences will continue to be a powerful tool. Companies like Airbnb and IKEA allow you to tour rentals and showcase what a sofa would look like in your room. Not to mention the use of VR/AR in social media, like Snapchat and Instagram filters.
- Microinteractions: Microinteractions will continue to be the attention to detail that web designers can appreciate. Subtle feedback from the click or hover of your mouse may seem not worth the effort, but it shows that designers care about the smallest of details in addition to the biggest of details.
TLDR; 2020 trends will continue into 2021, along with tons of new and exciting trends. Design and UX will ebb and flow as COVID-19 does the same. Video conferencing will continue to be the norm as businesses delay the return to the office. We’ll see a lot of data visualization that will probably scare some of us, which is why calming web design will soothe us. We’ll see everything from minimalist design to bold and loud design; Apple executes both of these very well. And as is everything in the digital, virtual world, there will always be something new and exciting to experience. Bring on the dancing AR Kermits, new streaming services, and live streaming experiences.