10 Web Design Predictions for 2020

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2020 Vision… there I said it. Cheesy I know, but I wanted to get in first with my predictions for the new year.

As tech trends continue evolving, so too do web design options and there’s no sign of them slowing down either. Designers constantly push the limits and explore new ideas, offering solutions to help brands stand out from the crowd.

So let’s take a look at where 2019 has taken us so far and where we see the trends emerging in 2020. Below are 10 website design trends (with examples) that we predict will expand in the year ahead.

1. Bright Colours

Bose Website

(Example: Bose)

A number of years ago, monotones and softer shades had become popular in web design. While these may begin to trend again in 2020, we also see greater use of vibrant colours.

Bright colours with high contrasts can be a simple yet effective design style that works well on multiple devices (PC, phone, tablet, etc.). We see similar trends in fashion – the runways are filled with bold colours, angular shapes, metallics, and neons.

More companies will choose bold colours to represent their brand in 2020. If you decide to go with this trend, choose a colour palette that sits well with your brand colours. Design trends come and go but your brand colours probably won’t. Don’t lose your brand to a temporary design trend.

2. Copy Design

Movida Website

(Example: MoVida)

You don’t have to be a pro designer to figure out that a page of bland text is the fastest way to kill user engagement.

Designers have been using typographic techniques like contrasting fonts, line spacing, and whitespace for many years in print-based media. Historically, there were many technical limitations in font use for websites; however, those limitations have decreased significantly in recent years and will continue to do so in 2020.  Expect to see web designs have some fun with typography but more importantly, use good design strategies to help make the message displayed on a website easily digestible for users.

In 2020, the role of web designers will become more significant as they collaborate closely with clients, marketers, and copywriters. Designers will aim to decrease the amount of text necessary by using visual aids to enhance the message.

3. Page Transitions

MiniBricks Website

(Example: Minibricks)

When I say transitions you’re probably thinking about those terrible effects we’ve all sat through while watching someone’s PowerPoint presentation. That’s not what I’m talking about here. Page transitions, when done well, allow for a seamless motion between the elements of your site and make browsing continuous (which, in turn, makes people want to stay longer and browse more).

In 2020, the number of websites taking up the transition approach will continue to rise. Designers will also continue to explore different section-based transitions that can create a sense of sophistication and help maintain user engagement. No matter what transition technique you plan to use, make sure it doesn’t distract the user from the core message.

4. Unusual Navigation

SBS Website

(Example: Missing)

Most of the time I recommend making your website navigation as common and as simple as possible. We’ve all learnt where a menu should be and how to use it, so unless there is a good reason to do so, don’t move too far from the formula.

Having said that, there has been a trend emerging over the last few years that allows for more playful website navigation. This is probably due to the fact that we are all becoming far more tech-savvy and engage with the online world through our mobile phones daily. It’s become our second nature. That’s why we see more ‘hamburger’ menus on our PC browsers now and will continue to see them in 2020.

In 2020, experimentation with navigation will continue as a web design trend, particularly for brands that want to be seen to be at the cutting-edge of technology and fashion. For suitable clients, designers are likely to push the boundaries and make the navigation experience a larger part of the website design process.

5. Microinteractions

Nowy Teatr Website

(Example: Nowy Teatr)

Understanding and fine-tuning microinteractions can make your site feel alive, improve usability, and boost engagement. Microinteractions are typically used on clickable elements (like navigation and buttons) but more experienced web designers can take microinteractions to a whole new level.

Like with any new design technology that is becoming available, be careful not to overdesign. Oftentimes, less is more in design. Keep it classy so it improves your user experience and doesn’t become a distraction

6. Minimalism

Shift Website

(Example: Shift)

Ask any designer and they’ll tell you they are often asked to add more elements to a design than they’d like. In these cases, to avoid the design appearing cluttered, they’ll tend to use symmetrical grids. However, in 2020, we’ll see more clients being persuaded that less is more.

From a designer’s point of view, minimalistic asymmetrical sites can be challenging. They require a thorough understanding of whitespace, proportion, and layering. The key is the removal of all unnecessary elements, which results in a cleaner design. Minimalistic layouts are perfect for landing pages or sites that have less than 10 pages.

7. Video

Head Wine Website

(Example: Head Vines)

Create a good video and it will immediately draw the users’ attention. Video is without a doubt the best performing digital content type in the world, even here in Australia where many of us still have terrible Internet speeds. Slowly but surely, more of us are connected with suitable Internet speeds to appreciate video, so we expect to see its use expanding in 2020. 

When it comes to function, videos make it easier for your website visitors to understand how your products or services work and explain their benefits. In 2020 we expect to see more marketers use video to make products look like they’re easy to use by using sequencing techniques or time-lapse videos.

 8. Illustration

Carbon Eight Website

(examples: Carbon8)

You’ve probably heard the expression ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’; well, a great illustration can be even more effective than other forms of imagery.

Here are some of the benefits of using illustrations in web design:

  • They can depict powerful emotions.
  • They can be used to reduce the prominence of race or gender when illustrating humans
  • They make it easier for users to understand abstract concepts
  • They allow you to avoid showcasing unrelated brands (like computers or cars)

9. Retro

Sea Harvest Website

(Example: Sea Harvest)

Retro vibes are making a huge comeback in design and will continue to grow in popularity in 2020. The use of retro style has been a common website design trend for some time now, and next year it is expected to become increasingly popular. A retro design can add a functional, dynamic, fun, and even modern feel to a website. But take caution picking up a trend like this; it’s likely to become unpopular just as fast as it became popular. Consider how long you plan to keep the website you are creating and maybe avoid this trend if you plan to keep it for more than a few years.

10. Geometric Shapes

Citicon Website

(Example: Citicon)

Constant improvements in website technology have made it easier for designers to think out of the box and express their creativity more freely. Many designers are using geometric lines and shapes like triangles, squares, and circles to attract users’ attention.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider using geometrical web design:

  • Geometric lines and shapes help establish a sense of balance, making websites easy to follow.
  • Geometry also helps establish repetition and consistency, which trains the users’ minds to make certain associations with those elements quickly.
  • Geometric shapes can be used individually or in conjunction with one another. They can also be colored, filled, or outlined in many different ways.
  • Sometimes a few strong geometric elements may be just enough to emphasize your message while keeping everything else simple.
  • Geometric shapes work very well with minimalism, especially if used subtly.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a layout for your website, remember that consumers always look for authenticity in a business. In fact, 86% of consumers consider authenticity to be an important factor when deciding which brand they like.

Trends come and go; some of them may stick around for a couple of decades, whereas others will be gone in a matter of months. Just because something is a trend, doesn’t mean you need to adopt it. At the end of the day, you need to stay true to your brand and select the trends that align with your company’s values.