Web design typically evolves at a gradual, almost imperceptible pace. But the times we live in are anything but typical. The lockdowns that sprung up due to the global pandemic have brought massive societal and cultural shifts, and it is no surprise that the world of web design was also affected.
Pandemic aside, web designers and digital marketing companies are currently getting to grips with a seismic change within the industry. Namely, in May 2021, Google launched a massive Page Experience update, putting an even greater emphasis on user experience when ranking websites.
Juxtaposed against a global pandemic, the Google update seems irrelevant, and it is for most people. But its importance cannot be underestimated in the world of online marketing.
Because of it, web designers are now forced to put much more work into elements like visual stability, safe browsing, interactivity, and loading speed. If they fail to do so, they can witness their websites plummet into obscurity.
Thankfully, our associates at a leading New York web design company are at the forefront of these developments. We got their take on the recent changes and the new trends that we can expect to dominate web design in 2022.
Keep reading to learn about their forecasts, and put yourself in the position to capitalize on cutting-edge web design practices.
1. Visual Optimism and Lighthearted Design
Throughout the last decade, app and web design have been dominated by purely functional, minimalist interfaces. This has been the prevalent approach in terms of “cool” aesthetics. It could be argued that this style first gained traction for practical reasons.
When the iPhone appeared in 2007, the general public wasn’t necessarily well-versed in the ways of the internet, and making digital services easy to navigate and understand was critical. As you may imagine, the most straightforward way to achieve this was to dampen down the experimental, more vibrant side of web design.
However, now that most people can find their way around digital platforms, there may be room for designers to bring some flair back. After all, we’ve had a couple of difficult years, so you could say that we’re long overdue for a bit of fun.
Modern designers certainly seem to think so, and we’re seeing more and more visual optimism in web design. This means more enjoyable interactivity, optimistic messaging, out-of-the-box typography, joyful features, and bold colors.
This lighthearted trend in website design has caught many by surprise, but it is difficult to argue against it as a way to take our minds off the issues we’re currently facing globally.
For most people, lockdown resulted in a smaller personal world, seemingly making everything quieter and simpler. However, it also meant we all turned to the internet for social encounters and entertainment in general. And the internet, for all its virtues, is a stressful, busy, and shouty place.
Thankfully, web designers have caught on, and there’s an increasing sense of restrained calm in modern websites. We’re seeing a resurgence of clean design with negative space used generously, allowing the content to “breathe” and our eyes and minds to relax from the constant noise.
This is what we call “mindfulness in web design” — an approach that lets people take time out from the endless stream of information.
Coincidentally or not, this trend neatly ties in with Google’s current requirements, whereby websites with faster loading speeds are gaining preferential treatment from the algorithm. The less content there is to load, the quicker it loads; it’s a pretty simple concept.
The trend also works well with Google’s mobile-friendliness demands. We know that nowadays, you can access the internet on a bewildering range of devices, and making your website work equally well on each one is a challenge, to say the least. That said, the simpler your design, the easier it is to overcome this seemingly insurmountable hurdle.
3. Earthy Tones
While the lockdown has restricted our social lives, it has also reintroduced us to the great outdoors. As socializing in closed spaces became impossible, many of us strode out into the open, gaining an increasing appreciation of the natural world.
Whether walking around the local park or hiking up the nearest mountain, people are spending more time in nature than before. This renewed relationship with the environment is imposing its influence on contemporary web design.
We’re seeing designers choose more muted, earthy tones all over the web. Obviously, these are used for background colors and images, allowing us to rest our eyes. This change is more than welcome, considering how much we all stare at our screens each day.
If you’re interested in increasing the time visitors spend on your site, you could do far worse than employing some more relaxed, muted tones. In some cases, the approach may also help with Google’s indexing algorithm, again relying on the less-is-more concept.
4. Multimedia and 3D Design
New web design trends have always cropped up as a result of new technologies, and the current digital era is no exception. Today, we see a significant influence of the advancements in screen technology, with phone screens and computer monitors producing far higher resolutions and broader color spectrums than ever before.
Full HD is slowly being replaced by 4K as the standard in picture quality. In the years to come, we’re likely to see an increasing number of 4K screens and the emergence of 6K and 8K models.
With increased mobile data speeds and higher broadband, all this visual detail will no longer be an obstacle in loading times.
Consequently, many websites are beginning to move beyond the standard text-based model. More and more web designers are embracing not only animation and 3D design but also interactive features, such as VR and AR, to make their websites more entertaining and more engaging for the visitor.
All that being said, any responsible web designer knows that billions of people don’t have access to the latest technologies in connectivity or screen production. Therefore, all such designs need to be implemented gradually, delivering the best possible experience to each user, depending on their chosen device.
This article has introduced you to four of what we consider the most prominent web design trends in the industry right now. We fully expect these trends to become even more pronounced in 2022 and the subsequent years.
All of the trends outlined here stem from two major events — the lockdown and Google’s big algorithm change.
We don’t need to explain how the coronavirus has affected our society and why it is likely to continue to change even after the pandemic subsides. Similarly, the direction in which Google chooses to point the industry will almost certainly be where it ends up going due to the search engine giant’s immense power and authority over websites.
That said, there’s more to this story, including the ongoing mission to make web design more inclusive, as well as the never-ending emergence of new platforms. Finally, there’s always the possibility of another huge algorithm update from Google.
In short, it is impossible to predict the future with certainty. All we can do is explore the current trends and make educated guesses based on what’s behind them. However, web design’s unpredictability is one of the many reasons it is an exciting industry to work in.