5 Hottest Website Design Trends Right Now

5 Hottest Website Design Trends Right Now

By Karen TaylorMay 14 /2019

 The first internet browser launched on December 25, 1990. The first website launched about three months later on April 6, 1991. It contained only text with hyperlinks. Its job was to explain what the web was, how to use it, and basic set-up instructions. Other websites followed suit, because, with no web design tools, there were no other options. (Learn more web design history in the Web Design Museum.)

After the early ’90s text-only pages, the next iteration of web design in the mid-90s featured tables (think: columns), which allowed designers to incorporate images and graphical icons into websites. By the end of the ’90s, the hot web design element was Flash. It didn’t last, but it did change the way websites were designed and used. (Side note: Adobe is officially ending support for Flash in 2020.)

Today you’ll find that what is considered great web design is still in flux. Every year hot new design trends arrive, replacing the old with the new. While jumping on every new trend is not a smart strategy, staying current with the best design elements is important for gaining the maximum impact and results from your website — the workhorse of any marketing strategy.

What’s popular now and predicted for 2020? We’ll review some of the trends anticipated to shape the next-generation of great web design.

Web Design Trends on the Way Out

First, let’s look at a short list of what’s definitely out for modern web design.

  • Parallax scrolling. Popular around 10 years ago, this design element is becoming outdated. Two fails were a lower customer experience and slow loading speed.
  • Too many fonts. Cluttered web pages, including those with too many fonts, drive away customers, while clean pages pull them in.
  • Complicated designs. Over-complicated web layouts repel today’s oversaturated consumers. We’re back to simplicity and minimizing distracting details.

Web Design Trends in the Spotlight

Here are five of the biggest trends in web design that many companies are already deploying.

1. Mobile-First — Simple and Compelling

Technically, mobile isn’t a new idea. However, it has proven its dominance in the digital universe and the design of mobile is becoming more sophisticated. As a result, it’s more important now than ever. According to Statistica, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. As the mobile user base increases, good visual effects and search experience are factors that need to be considered in website design in 2020. This image of a mobile page from Evernote is a perfect example of the sleek, simple, yet compelling mobile design everyone should be aiming for. hottest-website-design-trends-simple

Mobile design tips:

  • Clarity. Can users understand your message in a fraction of a second? Remove anything unnecessary until you can say yes to this question on your mobile pages.
  • Consistency. Maintaining consistency reduces friction and keeps visitors focused on their goals.
  • Familiarity. Familiar breeds comfort. Don’t send users through a maze of puzzles. Make the road to conversion a comfortable journey.
  • Breathing room. White space around elements is important to draw a user’s attention to the content, thereby, improving readability.
  • Legibility. Because of limited space, it’s imperative that the text be readable at a typical viewing distance without zooming. A rule of thumb for ideal text size is 16 pixels.


2. Unique Illustrations — Optimize Branding

Slack made waves when it launched, not just with its simple communication functionality and sleek mobile design, but also by using an illustration (of a rooster crowing) versus a photograph. At a time when tips on taking great photos dominate the headlines, illustrations are making a powerful comeback from their historic heyday in the 1940s and ’50s. Today, Slack’s web designers continue to use illustrations in their content marketing efforts. hottest-website-design-trends-illustration

While photographs are still power visuals, illustrations offer several design advantages including:

  • Uniqueness. Stand out from the crowd with unique illustrations versus risking a been-there-seen-that photograph.
  • Flexibility. If you want to telegraph a specific visual image, it’s often easier to do it through the flexibility that illustrations allow versus trying to find the perfect photo.
  • Creativity. Modify illustrations to suit preferences and needs, such as backgrounds and colors.
  • Consistency. Create a series of illustrations with the same style, colors, and design elements to build a brand image.


3. Minimalism — Less IS More

Synonymous with simplicity, minimalism removes the clutter that distracts visitors and keeps them focused on the steps you want them to take next. For example, on the Buffer for Business webpage, it’s easy to grasp the essential message and find the button to click for a free trial in this design.

Minimalism design tips:

  • Use fewer elements. Good design enables users to digest information in as short a time as possible. The fewer the interface design elements, the better.
  • Use fewer fonts. A minimal style needs to feature clean and readable typography. Develop a font palette with one or two type families.
  • Simplify the color palate. Along with black and white (or other neutrals), pick one color to drive the design. It can be bright or light and serve as anything from a background texture to accent.
  • Make navigation easy. A well-designed website provides the essential content required and makes navigation easy, contributing to positive user experience and higher page conversions.


4. Gradient Design — Color Optimization

In the past few years, more designers have adopted color gradation. Even if only one color is used, it can create a rich, layered structure with the help of gradients and different images, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing experience. This Saving Animals illustration by Zahidul is a beautiful example of using gradient colors. hottest-website-design-trends-gradient-design

Color gradient tips:

  • Use gradients in the appropriate place. Color transitions can be used in the background or on web elements such as icons, buttons, etc.
  • Use color pairs that work effectively. A gradient will fade in between two colors that normally go well together. For example, fading purple into blue is natural, while fading green into red is strange.
  • Use colors of different values. Using two or more colors of the same hue and equal saturation could ruin the illusion of distance and depth.
  • Place darker colors lower. Typically, place dark colors at the bottom and bright colors at the top to improve contrast and look natural.


5. Typographic Design

Research shows more than 95 percent of the information on a webpage is text. In terms of influence on users, typesetting is second only to web color matching and images. Adventurous, bold typography impresses the audience. Carefully selected fonts can convey the emotions you need and build a powerful visual hierarchy. In fact, more big names like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samung and Netflix are starting to use their own branded fonts to enhance their brand's recognition (learn typographic terminology at Supremo).


Font usage tips:

  • Choose a font that works well in multiple sizes. This helps maintain readability and usability.
  • Ensure legibility on smaller screens. For example, try to avoid fonts that use a cursive script, because they are difficult to read.
  • Use fonts with distinguishable letters. Some typefaces tend to confuse similar letterforms due to poor letter spacing, such as I’s and L’s, or n’s and r’s that look more like m’s.
  • Avoid all caps. When your message involves reading, don’t force your users to read all caps text because it slows down scanning and readability.

If website design trends had to be summed up in a few words, they would be simple, direct and sophisticated. If you stay focused on those goals, you’ll be right in step with website design best practices for 2019, 2020 and beyond — ensuring your website remains your ideal marketing workhorse.

Discover How to Get The Results You Want With a Website Redesign

Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at karentaylorwrites.com.