7 Web Design Trends to Improve Your User Experience in 2020 Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing & New Business by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing & New Business

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Introduction

Web design trends change quicker than the seasons, so it’s hard to predict which trends will come and go and which ones will stick around for years to come. Hoping that you’re more interested in the website design trends that will have a lasting impact on user experience and interface design, we’ve gathered a list of 7 emerging web design trends that will go on to shape the next few years of web design. Complete with examples! Let’s get right into it.  

1. Dark mode

Dark mode web design is an exciting new trend that has been increasing in popularity over recent years. We’re sure that 2020 will blossom more dark themes on the web than ever before as UI designers seek to improve personalised experiences for users. 

Dark themes look great on OLED screens, they save power and can improve the impact that other colours and design elements have on screen. They’re easier on the eye, reducing eye strain and delivering immediate impact when using a higher contrast ratio with other colours.

It’s most likely that the trend will eventually shift to UI designers giving users the option to switch on dark mode so users can flick between regular and dark mode. 

Google currently enables dark mode, but it’s more of a brute-force option, as opposed to an option offered by websites themselves. How to Geek goes into much more detail on how you can forcibly turn on dark mode using Google Chrome’s built-in functionality. 

Here are some of our favourites from the web:

contra-web-design-trends-dark-mode

(Left to right: Ronin, UFO Mammoot, Kettle).

2. The depth effect

Since the dawn of the internet, websites have largely had flat designs which, after a while, leaves them looking a little bit, well, flat. Lifeless in some cases – unless you have a superstar web design agency to spruce things up a bit. A simple way to add extra depth to your website is by adding floating elements and you can achieve this effect by simply adding some soft shadowing to the design element as Fruition Lab did here:

No matter what the industry, you can guarantee every business wants to stand out from their competitors, and a great way to do this in 2020 is to make important elements or messages stand out. You can create a layering/depth effect in many ways, from adding subtle shadows under graphics to creating faux-3D skeuomorphism icons, there are plenty of ways to add depth to your webpages and emphasise certain elements.

3. Minimalism

If it doesn’t matter, get rid of it. This doesn’t mean you should delete stuff for the sake of deleting it, but you should get rid of what’s not important to focus on what is. 

This philosophy is central to the minimalist approach to web design. Admittedly, this is less of a trend and more of a perpetual theme in web design. It’s been around for a long time and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Minimalism strips back the noise and emphasises key messages.  

When it comes to great design, simplicity is often the outcome of relentless work to trim the fat. It can be the ultimate sophistication for brands and a welcomed challenge for experienced designers. To achieve success with a minimalist design you need to use a limited colour palette and giving content lots of room to breathe. 

Here are 3 great examples to check out: 

(Left to right: King & Partners, Huge, Jazz FM, Romania).

Beyond aesthetics, minimalist web design enhances web performance. Sites load quicker, especially on mobile, and people actually spend more time engaging with the content on your site; they take it in and understand it. This will become ever more important as search engines prioritise mobile-first websites.

4. SVG for mobile

In 2018 Google announced they’ll be using mobile-first indexing to rank websites. This announcement was part of the continual push to make the web more mobile-friendly and it didn’t come as big news given the number of people using mobile devices dominates desktop traffic, and has done for over 3 years. This isn’t necessarily true for B2B organisations, but it is worth being aware of. 

If you haven’t already, you need to put mobile at the top of your digital agenda and the heart of your web design process, but how do you do that without sacrificing the rich visual content that engages your visitors? That’s where SVG comes in. 

SVG stands for ‘scalable vector graphics’. In the past websites with rich content and lots of multimedia have suffered from slower page-load times thanks to formats like JPEG, PNG and GIF which are notoriously anti-mobile. SVGs describes vector-based graphics using text-based commands that abide by XML specifications, opposed to JPEG and GIF which are bitmapped and non-scalable. SVG can scale with the size of the window without sacrificing quality or load-time.

Scalable vector graphics ensure the consistent quality of the user experience for all mobile visitors. 

5. Voice user interface 

A technology trend that experienced huge growth in 2019 was voice technology, and 2020 promises an even faster rate of adoption. So naturally, the web will adapt. If you did any shopping on Amazon for Christmas this year you would have noticed Amazon’s Alexa was half-price for most of the festive period. Imagine how many more people are now using voice search than they were prior to the sale for example. Millions of people from the UK either got one for Christmas, gave one as a gift or know someone who has one. 

Cortana and Siri live in our pockets. Alexa and Google Assistant have invaded our homes. They’ve become invaluable to the people who use them. 

Despite the meteoric rise in popularity, most companies have not yet adopted VUI on their websites. As we get further into 2020 voice user interface will disrupt user interface design so people can navigate websites and purchase products using their voice.

6. Microinteractions

Microinteractions are small design features that interact with you as you navigate a website. They’re relatively new to web design but are already shaping the future of user interface and user experience design. They may be small but they have a mighty impact when used appropriately. Check out this example from Nike:

The use of such interactions continued to grow in popularity among creative brands in 2019 and will soar in 2020 as they’re adopted on multiple web features. A microinteraction is anything from a call-to-action button changing colour when you hover over it, to a dragon swooping in and setting the ‘Contact Us’ form on fire when you submit a message. The possibilities seem endless at this point. They let the user feel what they are doing, getting instant feedback on their interaction with the site. 

To realise the full potential of microinteractions you should use them across your site and not just on buttons and menus. This will create an immersive experience and turn the once boring into something truly memorable, helping your brand stand out. 

7. Augmented reality

AR has been around for over 25 years, but it is finally starting to cement itself in the everyday lives of millions of people across the world. It enables people to experience a real-world environment which is enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information across multiple sensors including visual and auditory. AR delivers immediate feedback and removes some of the challenges that typically plague the sales process. 

Specsavers’ Virtual Try-on and IKEA Place are both examples of businesses successfully adopting augmented reality on their websites to delight customers and make their shopping experience immersive and much more enjoyable.

But it’s not just B2C customers enjoying in the benefits of VR. Coca Cola is using the software to enhance the performance of their B2B sales team. After teaming up with Augment, Coca Cola offered B2B prospects the opportunity to see what it would look like to install soft-drink machines in their store. This helped the sales team to overcome a long-term objection; “I just can’t see it in the store – where will it fit?”.

Conclusion

These are just a few web design trends we expect to take off in 2020. Most of them have been around for a little while, but haven’t yet been used to their full potential. 

We’re excited to look back in 12 months and see exactly what took off and what’s still waiting for it’s time to shine.

Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing & New Business by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing & New Business
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