If there’s one aspect of web design you can expect to stick around for the next ten years or so, it’s imitation. Web design thrives off trends that can be copied and spread around until they reach virtually every website on the worldwide web.
It’s good to have such trends to follow, since consumers thrive on familiarity in web design. They like having certain website conventions to follow instead of filtering through a new design standard every time they visit a website. For that reason, there are several web design trends that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
1. Rich Illustrations
In the past, stock photos, charts, and infographics have been the illustration of choice for traditional websites. However, today’s web design standards, and very likely the future’s, are using hand-drawn art and unique graphics.
This style of art provides a certain level of originality, depth, and warmth that can’t be replicated through stock photos and graphics. It’s being used much more regularly and is something that distinctly sets their brand apart from others.
Compare the illustrations used on the website Alkopedia and Babbit, for example. Both use an element of hand-drawn illustrations to decorate their websites, but both are designed in such a different way. It’s easy to associate the brand with the style of drawings, which is a metric that will likely be used in brand associations for years to come.
Another relatively new design trend that’s gaining steam is known as microinteractions. This refers to the concept of developing smaller actions within a website’s design for the visitor to engage with. It’s all part of an effort to make user experiences feel more smooth and seamless, adding up to an event that performs an ultimate action goal of your choosing.
Microinteractions are everywhere. Every time you change a setting on your web browser, rate a song, share a Facebook post, retweet something, search in a website’s search bar, or leave a comment on a blog post, you’re engaging with a microinteraction, and more and more websites are using them to accomplish their purposes. The more a user engages with microinteractions, the more likely they are to return to your website and accomplish your ultimate calls to action.
3. Responsive Design
It shouldn’t be any surprise by now that this design element made the list. You know what responsive design is and why it’s important. Now it’s time to recognize that it’s here to stay. In just a few years, virtually no websites will be using mobile website versions in favor of responsive design. It’s the best way to translate your graphics and content into a screen of a different size.
From here on out, users can expect to see simple design interfaces on the websites they visit that are perfectly optimized for the small screen as well. With 80 percent of smartphone users browsing the internet on their phones on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that responsive design has taken over.
4. Large Background Images and Videos
Conceptual design has always been popular, and now it’s coming to the web in full force. Instead of filling up the background of a website with a plain, one-color background or a series of smaller images, designers are choosing to use a single, large background image or video. Marketers and designers alike recognize that the brain can process an image 60,000 times faster than it can process text, and it’s turned into a web design trend that’s strong enough to last for years.
A particularly popular way to incorporate this trend is through cinemagraphs. This is a visual concept first used in advertising that shows a still image with a single motion within put on repeat. To see this in action, take a look at the website Calm. The background is a breathtaking mountain lake in which everything is completely still in the picture except for the water, which is gently rippling. You can also hear the sounds of running water and birds chirping in the background. It’s a catchy way to entice users to stay, and it accomplishes work at the same time.
5. Template Diversity
Unfortunately, not all website trends are great. The trend of imitating less than original, uniform templates in your web design is one of them. Thankfully, the standards of good design are beginning to mandate the use of diversity in the templates they choose to use. There are so many different styles and designs available now that designers have no excuse not to stretch their creative horizons a little to create a design that doesn’t fit into the same mold as many of the other designs on the web.
As a word of warning, diversifying your use of templates does not mean that you should create a brand new design for the sake of creating something different alone. That practice can go horribly wrong, as there are certain design conventions put in place for a reason. It simply means that you should push the boundaries a little in your efforts to create a smooth user experience that also matches the function and purpose.