Web design is an ever-evolving field; technology is constantly changing; and we as designers and developers need to have our fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry. Discerning between a passing fad and an industry trend is what keeps your website from looking stale after three months. As we close the door on 2018, here are several trends emerging that I think will continue to dominate in 2019.
Mobile First Design Continues
Website traffic that originates from mobile devices has finally surpassed desktops, and it’s predicted that by the end of 2018, 2/3 of all website traffic will come from a mobile device. The current standard is to design for a desktop view, and with the ability for sites to be responsive (i.e. scaling down the page to fit whatever browser size the user is using), designing for mobile first wasn’t a priority.
However, earlier this year Google announced that mobile friendly sites would be prioritized over sites that were not mobile friendly. Designing for mobile first will become paramount in the web design process. Understanding why a user is reaching for their mobile device, and designing websites that fulfill “micro-moments”, means your site will be able to win over customers, even if they’re loyal to a different brand.
The “grid” is what designers and developer refer to as the grid system that’s been used for decades to create all kinds of layouts, from newspapers to advertisements and websites. A grid is an invisible skeleton that allows a designer to place various elements on a page and have it result in a thoughtful and organized design. Using grids also helps keep things organized and consistent across multiple devices – which is a must when users view websites on various sized desktops and laptops, phones and tablets. While a grid system can be very beneficial – it can also stifle creativity. Breaking out the grid and aligning things at an angle gives the page much more visual interest and a sense of movement.
As smartphones became more ubiquitous and data plans more expensive, the need for fast-loading websites became a priority. This ushered in a trend in design where everything appeared flat. Gone were the icons that resembled their real-life counterpart in favor of flat outline icons. Flat design is fun to design in – it uses bright colors, simple typefaces, and focuses on minimalism. Many users balked at this trend – elements were too minimal and too simplistic which made it harder for them to know what to do. Over the last couple of years, Flat 2.0 emerged and continues to become more popular. Flat 2.0 is different in that it uses gradients, highlights and shadows to create depth, using any color scheme (rather than just bright colors) and multiple tints and color values. By using shadows around a button or card, it cues the user that an action can be taken. The results are sites that still feel modern but don’t sacrifice usability. Going into 2019, we’ll see more websites with layered elements, shadows and gradients to create a sense of weight and depth.
Videos will continue to dominate over static imagery because they are compelling and immediately grab the user’s attention. The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. The more time a user spends on a web page, the greater the chance they convert and take an action. It also helps a site’s SEO as time spent on a page is one of the metric’s that determines your rank on Google. Toyota’s 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Report uses a video in their hero area incredibly well. It showcases their staff in various departments and highlights the true diversity of their team members. Not to mention it’s eye-catching and draws you in to learn more and read their stories.
2018 has been a great year for web design, and we can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring. Will our predictions be accurate, or will something turn the web design world on its head? Stay tuned to find out!