It’s an odd paradigm that continues to shape the trends for web design: as tech improves, so does our need to be more human-centric.
In context, though, this isn’t impossible. For example, we can make websites more accessible by using voice search, or write copy for humans using NLP for SEO.
Taking all of this into consideration, what are the top 5 web design trends for 2021 and beyond?
Engagement through GIFs and flexible vector graphics
Video content began to rise in prominence in 2015. But with it, so did user experience issues: sites were afflicted by large files which slowed down loading times.
Today, marketers need to improvise. A good compromise is the GIF – giving us that engaging moving frame content in short snippets. Taking this one step further, we have flexible vector graphics. These images can be scaled up and down without compromising design – great for shifting between mobile and desktop. Dribble offers us some great examples here.
Giving data context
There are no two ways about it: data is king when it comes to marketing in 2021. To reinforce trust, we need to present our data in a way that our readers can understand.
Expect to see more use of infographics, graphs, maps and live counters. These may be interactive – for example, a user could hover over a specific region to see their chosen data appear.
Better visibility with dark mode
Way back when, the mark of a ‘clean’ site was white space. Today, we’ve flipped over to the dark side with ‘dark mode’ – black backgrounds to give visuals more contrast and reduce eyestrain. This design move has pleased Apple fans, while it’s also made its way into the mainstream with Instagram.
Even better, it can prolong battery life on mobile devices. Watch Mercedes doing it in style here.
Optimising for voice search
This one’s extremely nascent but it’s predicted to make up 55% of searches by 2022. With so many of us relying on personal assistants such as Cortana and Alexa to answer our questions, it’s important that web designers respond.
Web designers need to consider how to position copy so that the most relevant information appears first, which is most often picked up by voice search. Similar to snippets in search engines, voice assistants pull out the key bits of information that are most appropriate to the user’s question.
We can go even deeper and look at the user’s:
- Intent – these could be ‘high utility’ requests, such as “play X song” or vaguer questions, like “tell me more about Paris”.
- Utterance – these denote the variations of the same command, such as “play X” or “let me hear Y”.
- Slot – these are the optional variables, for example adding a specific time of day to the end of “book a taxi”.
UI designer Frederik Goossens tells us more with some fantastic voice user interface examples.
Make your content accessible
This should be your #1 web design priority in 2021. Your copy needs to be readable in all contexts, so for example, if a reader is visually impaired and needs a smart reader device, then you should mark up your images.
Accessibility also has SEO benefits, showing the search engines what your images are displaying. Moreover, using full words rather than ampersands, adding capitals in hashtags, and using larger fonts, will all make your content more accessible.
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