5th December 2019

Web design 2019, a year in review. Plus let’s take a look forward to 2020

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Nikki Simpson

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It’s fast becoming an annual trend here at Abstrakt — our web design review and trends article is here, and wow, what a year it’s been! We’ve been super busy launching our own rebrand and website along with a huge number of client projects speeding through the studio. It’s the perfect time to reflect on a massive year and not only for the agency, but for the changing landscape of web design too.

This last year was huge for tailored illustration in web design. The industry saw a massive rise in the demand for established brands to find a fresh illustrative style to inject some life into their digital assets. Gone are the days of leaning on stock image sites as tired and overused photography had lost its impact. Brands wanted to feel unique and offer a strong point of difference to their site visitors. A number of our clients took the leap this year and we leaned on Jamie Robinson, our illustrator extraordinaire, to sprinkle some magic into their digital projects.

2019 also saw us place a huge focus on site speed and performance; a trend that will be sure to stick. Our design and development teams are hot on ensuring all sites that we produce are lean and performing not only in search but for the site visitors too. A number of trends building over 2019 will be hanging around for the foreseeable future, no doubt, so we should stop looking back and focus on the future and where we are headed. Let’s dive in and see what 2020 has instore for web design.

Go big or go home!

Big, bold and beautiful, a trend that will continue throughout 2020 will see brands experimenting even more with typography. Featuring large headlines, bold callouts and strong key messaging. We have very little time to communicate a message to site visitors before they’ve scrolled down or their focus has shifted onto their next action. Capturing a brand message or key statement using enlarged elements such as typography and images can support the site visitor by giving them an immediate understanding of the offering right off the bat. Keeping design clean and minimal around the bold statements will support the message and make for a super stylish design. A great example of this trend sees brands pairing large callout messaging with supporting hero images and in many cases video or animation. That delivers a clear message to site visitors and remain memorable by leaving a lasting impact.

Asymmetric Layouts

We’ve been breaking the rules for years (cue the developer headaches) But that aside. it’s amazing to see that throwing the rulebook out of the window will be embraced by the mainstream throughout the coming years. Breaking grid lines and placing design elements more chaotically is a tried and tested technique that adds a greater level of uniqueness to a website design and makes a brand stand out for sure! Is it right for everyone? No, but if your brand is willing to embrace the chaotic journey then this design trend could set you apart from the crowd.

Web design 2019, a year in review. Plus let’s take a look forward to 2020

Doing the Splits

The split screen-screen aesthetic is a trend that is evolving and growing. This trend is popular amongst designers not only due to its ease and user friendliness, especially when considering mobile layouts, but it looks pretty damn smart too! The true test of a good split-screen design is finding ways to create engaging cross over content that is meaningful and not cluttered or distracting to the user. This trend offers designers more space to convey a clear message giving each item its moment in a shared limelight. Splitting the page in two also opens the door to more playful and imaginative development too. For example, making each side interact, move and scroll at different speeds, will add a whole load of sparkle to the finished design.

Split screen

Design in motion

This trend isn’t a new one by any measure as I mentioned it last year too. Motion and movement is attractive, engaging and enticing to a website visitor. It's the perfect way to focus attention and peak a users interest. That’s why it’s here to stay!

There are a number of different animation styles across web design: from the more subtle micro-animations that offer up feedback as a user interacts or clicks on elements, to smack you clean in the face full screen animated typography or video.

Making this trend work on the web all boils down to what and where a users focus should land. Motion can of course be distracting so finding the right balance and selecting the correct brand and content to feature needs to be considered.

Fullscreen focus

Online forms are an integral part of most, if not all website journeys, whether that be a mailing list sign up, shopping experience or a simple contact form. When users reach this point in their journey offering a clean, simple and easy to use form is a must. Typically brands fall into the trap of offering up even more content around forms, giving the user far more opportunity for their attention to switch and move elsewhere on the site, or even worse, leave the site all together.

This trend sees the designer offering nothing but the key focus on the task in hand, converting, filling out that form and moving on. Full screen forms help focus user attention decluttering the mind to allow for clean, clear ‘doing’ not ‘discovering’ thought processes. Forms are a chore and at times users will avoid the act of filling them in. Expanding on the form making it a feature of the page, or a stand alone page all together can make forms more inviting to fill out. This in turn improves users overall experience on a website.

Full screen forms

3D models and product rendering

Another and one of my favourite trends for 2020 is the use of 3D elements. 3D is a recognised format across gaming and with the rise of VR a trend that any forward thinking web designer should embrace.

When it comes to ecommerce, a consumer is more likely to engage and enhance interest in a product that is visually stimulating; allowing them to imagine the tactile nature of the item, what it might feel like, look like or how it might wear or be used.

Using 3D renders across product displays is a trend we are working on in the studio currently. We can’t wait to explore all the avenues and adventures that are on offer when enhancing web elements with 3D and motion.

Focus on ecommerce

Repeat after me “Usability, Speed, Simplicity!” 2020 will see us building out our ecommerce portfolio even further, this is our mantra for all website projects, but it is of even greater importance when building for ecommerce. With buying goods online becoming the norm for tens of millions of consumers we need to give the shopper what they want and fast! Ecommerce sites should look visually appealing yes, but a huge consideration needs to be focused around experience and usability.

It is of great importance that these sites follow a trend that leans towards a focus on usability, how easy is it for the site visitor to navigate, find what they are looking for and ultimately to buy an item. Also, speed! Is the site performing at speed because consumers won’t sit around for your site to load in hundreds of fancy images and effects. They want a clear site that performs and enables them to complete tasks with ease. Simplicity, too, and how fast a site visitor perform the tasks they set out to, with ease and in a simple and efficient way. Creating clear and simple user journeys that support discovery and lead to a purchase is a must.

Add this to your design and development kit

My end of year gift to you... We’ve recently started using Sizzy across our design and development teams. It’s pretty sweet! Simulating a number of devices it allows designers and developers to snag, test and implement design changes with ease.

Check it out: sizzy

Sizzyx2

We’ve had yet another great year here at Abstrakt. We’re always introducing new ideas and trends across our digital projects and we’ve already started to work on some of the 2020 trends in our projects throughout this past year. Keep an eye out in the months to come as we’ll be showcasing more of our work from the last year and announcing some great new projects we’ll be working on in 2020.

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