10 Web Design Trends That Will Be Big in 2021Donna Marie Padua
Each year’s web design trends promise to beam us into the sci-fi future of our dreams, given that they are based on technology. But the 2021 predictions we received from our community of web designers worldwide suggest the opposite.
The year 2021’s web design trends appear to share a common theme: rather than aspiring to hi-tech fantasy, web designers seek new heights of realism. They blend the digital and the ordinary like never before, reflecting just how much a part of everyday life websites have become. In this way, the following 10 web design trends for 2021 are literally breathing life into the digital world.
So here are the design trends you shouldn’t miss out on if you want your website to stand out this year.
10 Web Designs To Try This 2021
From micro-interactions to particle backgrounds, we’ve witnessed the rising popularity of web-based animation trends year after year. 2021’s web animations are getting even more complex by separating page elements into foreground and background extremes, creating a parallax effect.
Parallax is the optical illusion that happens when objects near to the viewer appear to move faster than objects farther away. Although we see this in everyday life when viewing passing scenery while driving, the effect on web pages comes across as equal parts real and surreal.
The depth created through foreground and background also has the added benefit of immersion, transforming the computer screen into something closer to a theater stage. As users navigate the web page, they are drawn into its convincing performance as if by magic. And at the end of the day, isn’t magic what the internet is supposed to feel like?
Neumorphism has been gaining incredible traction this past year, and in 2021 it promises to usher us into the paradoxical age of minimalist realism. The style is a successor to skeuomorphism—a design approach that incorporates renderings of familiar, outdated materials into current designs. It had its heyday on app icons everywhere in the early 2010s. Unfortunately, this trend was largely supplanted by flat design, which simplified icons and colors that were less realistic but more uniform and easily identifiable.
Neumorphism represents a merging of both trends, with designs that mimic physicality through selective drop shadows while being overlaid with semi-flat colors. Most commonly, the effect resembles digital embossing or debossing. It allows designers to reclaim the tactile experience that was lost in the flat design era, and this, in turn, heightens the user’s connection to the design he is interacting with. Expect to see this stylized realism on the buttons, search bars, and text boxes all across the digital designs of 2021.
Abstract art compositions
Abstract shapes, especially those consisting of geometric primitives like squares and circles, can come across as simple, minimalist, and restrictive. However, in 2021, web designers are incorporating them into complex, sprawling compositions that exude freedom.
In most cases, these abstract art arrangements are taking the place of stock photography and figure illustrations. While they can include images of people, they still evoke emotion without them. Their bursting, Pollock-Esque compositions feel energetic, and their many vibrant colors are infectiously warm. The result is web pages that feel expressive and alive, even in the absence of familiar human faces.
Given the increasingly digital nature of the job market these days, most people spend most of their time on computers. Because of this, it is not uncommon for users to experience eye strain after staring at screens for long periods of time. As a result, web designers have been taking this into account with color schemes focused on being easier on the eyes.
This somewhat explains the popularity of last year’s dark mode trend, which counteracted the overwhelming whiteness of screen-based media.
In 2021, web designers will be thinking outside the two extremes of dark and light. Instead, they find the middle ground in soft color palettes, like wholesome greens, pastel blues, warm browns, or light pinks. These not only make website colors less jarring than pure black or pure white, they naturally induce calm and relaxation.
Overall, this trend is a hopeful sign that web designers of the future may be more concerned with accessibility and comfort than dramatic innovation.
Web design for causes
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the various shelter-in-place orders that followed, the internet has become a refuge. Not only have virtual conferences become the norm for social gatherings and entertainment, but many brick-and-mortar brands have also turned to websites to keep their businesses afloat. And web designers were up to the task, creating meaningful and impactful designs.
In 2021, we will see web designers continue to value their role in helping the world through troubled times. This means brands focus their web designs around their virtues, such as their sustainability efforts or community involvement. It means brands getting on board with stock photos that reflect real, diverse customers. It means a rise in digital spaces bringing awareness to social causes through interactive means, such as visualizations and simulations. And it means an increase in the resources and methods of DIY web design, making website production accessible to everyone.
Web design has long been focused on delivering great user experiences. And in 2021, the best user experience will stem from shared values and joint causes.
When users scroll, they are doing more than navigating the page: they’re interacting. The physical actions they perform in real life—flicking their fingers over the mouse—cause a response on the screen. Interaction is a form of participation, and when users are involved in things that are happening, they are more likely to be interested and engaged.
Scrolling is one of the most subtle forms of interaction, and as such, 2021’s web designers are ramping up the visual feedback users get when they scroll. This can range from full-color scheme changes to complex animated transitions to wholesale shifts in the layout. All in all, web designers are taking the time to make each scroll feel like a new page—sometimes even a new website.
Digital interpretations of physical products
Products are often at the heart of websites, and 2021’s web pages have their hearts on their sleeves. Specifically, products are inspiring literal design elements through creative, digital interpretations of physical media.
This might come in the form of color smeared across a page like a nail polish or images that are cropped in rounded rectangles like smartphones. Not only does this approach create visual synergy between the product and its website, but it also makes web pages feel more organic and unexpected.
With websites becoming an increasingly common part of everyday life, this trend of blending the real world and the digital feels like it was made for our moment in time.
The onboarding process—the window of time in which a user visits a landing page—is perhaps the most critical moment of a user’s journey. They stand on a knife’s edge between intrigue and apathy, and the quality of his experience here will send them toppling firmly to one side.
Rather than having the user read product descriptions and make decisions independently, more and more brands are using questionnaires to foster an interactive experience. These quizzes ask personable multiple-choice questions focused on the visitors’ likes and dislike to cater products to them subtly.
From a design standpoint, this means landing pages more like a series of cards with animated transitions between them than standard web pages. This also makes them much more interactive than the survey fields commonly included in the headers of landing pages.
Given how effectively these get-to-know-you quizzes make the prospective buyer feel like they are already a part of the service before they’ve even signed up, we expect to see onboarding questionnaires become a standard web design feature in 2021.
Color schemes in web design have been trending towards gradients for a while now, and this year’s trend feels like the next evolution, with color transitions becoming more lifelike than ever. Taking their cue from Apple’s Big Sur OS, we expect colors that are saturated and three-dimensional, almost like fruit you can pluck right out of the screen.
This trend is accomplished through fine shading that gives a rounded feel to the flat icons of yesteryear. While we anticipate it to appear most commonly on app icons, web designers are also abandoning the neat transitions of gradients for background blended colors that come across as more imperfect and natural. Two colors side by side might abruptly smear together, or they may retain the shadows and depth of painted objects. All in all, this trend suggests that the web design colors of 2021 are aspiring to higher realms of realism.
Flexible vector graphics
The main source of aesthetics on any site is multimedia. A web page that contains interesting illustrations or photos gets higher rating.
Websites saturated with content have been loading much longer, especially on mobile devices. But Google made it clear that it cares about the user. So one of the ranking criteria is the results of indexing sites on mobile devices.
This made adaptability more in demand than even a year ago. The problem with GIFs and PNG images are that they lose quality when resized. Refusing them means killing saturation—way out of the situation and a new trend – vector illustration.
SVG format allows you to scale the image to fit the screen while maintaining the quality of the original graphics. Now, this format will be a critical trend of both adaptability and web design in general.
For creating better vector graphics, use Adobe Photoshop products. This software brand serves as the industry leader in creating and manipulating vector images. In addition, with its advanced design features, web designers can make web templates and backgrounds that meet the design trends coming out each year.
BONUS TIP: Emphasize Data
The user began to trust analytics and its results more and more. Therefore, IT leaders strive to increase the role of informative design structures. Thus, they increasingly focus on design that concentrates on project data.
First of all, such a design will help you personally compare the data of your company. So you can make important decisions faster. Likewise, this approach is a great opportunity to hold the reader on the page. Search engines want the user to spend as much time as possible on the site. After all, this way, the indexing rating increases.
To develop this design, your team should focus on the following areas:
- intelligent management and data placement;
- setting up the data source.
Designing a data-driven design requires consideration of various business factors. So you can sustain analytics with specific events.
Data as part of web design is communication with your users. Accordingly, this approach can revitalize your project.
Ready to Change Your Web Design?
At the end of the day, the top 2021 web design trends look less like design out of a sci-fi movie and more like the actual design we would encounter in everyday life. It shows how increasingly common websites are a part of our life, and the designers of 2021 are bringing them down to earth.
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