The appearance of a website is crucial to its business’s success. In fact, when asked in a survey, 50% of consumers suggested that web design should be a priority for any brand. But the design space is ever-changing as creativity knows no bounds.
There are also many other factors that can have an influence on your choice of design. For example, web design has been affected in the past two years by the pandemic because there was a greater shift towards digital and online activity.
So what can we expect to see this year? Let’s take a look.
What influences web design trends?
Trends come and go, but what is it that causes this ebb and flow? There are a number of factors that shape web design choices. Some of these include:
Google algorithm updates
From time to time, Google performs updates to their search algorithms. The purpose of these is to maintain the quality of its search results. The algorithms form the system that conducts the search and displays the relevant web pages when you type something into Google. With these kinds of updates, Google encourages certain practices while discouraging others.
An update to the algorithms can have an impact on how your site ranks in the search. And this in turn affects web design, because nobody wants to be punished by the tech giant, and have their rankings lowered.
For example, back in 2014, Google rolled out an update that discouraged website owners from overloading their sites with static ads and future web design was impacted by this update. The old style of ‘above the fold advertising’ i.e. filling the top of a page with ads, was substituted with more dynamic advertising.
Other Google updates like the spam update they performed last year can also affect web design. This update was set to target and penalise websites that looked like spam or used disingenuous Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics. The length and readability of the content are an important aspect to protect the site’s reputation.
Development in technology and devices
As technology progresses, so does design along with it. Users become accustomed to novel points of interaction online, and so design elements need to accommodate for that.
For example, the introduction of smartphones brought about a new way to access and explore the web. Now, mobile internet traffic is responsible for nearly 57% of all global internet traffic. And because of that, web design has had to adapt to be more mobile-friendly. The notable rise in these design choices is a result of Google rewarding websites that are optimised for mobile users with higher Search rankings.
With the introduction of the Metaverse and Web 3.0, the rise of technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will create a shift in design as well. Designs will have to potentially accommodate for more immersive and interactive online experiences.
Sometimes design trends fade and consumers get bored of seeing the same thing over and over. Or, designs become impracticable. New trends will focus on what worked and didn’t work with the old, and develop from there. It’s essential to know what was driving users away.
For example, users look for good design and functionality when browsing a site. They need accessible designs. 42% of people that took part in a survey conducted by Top Design Firms, said that these factors are very important and would abandon a site if it didn’t have them. They also found that 31% of the survey takers agreed that User Experience (UX) is a priority for web design. Using insights like these to compare old designs can help shape new ones that are more innovative.
Cultural and societal events can have an impact on things designers have to accommodate for. In the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has created shifts in the way people use the internet. Because of the restrictions in the real world, more companies were eager to get their businesses online. As the number of websites increased, so did the competition and pressure for getting websites up and running.
And now, post-pandemic, it’s likely that users will want to see something different to what they’ve been seeing in the last two years. Everyone will be looking for fresh starts and innovative designs that don’t remind them of the pandemic.
Changes in design and coding tools
The tools make the trade. Improvements to the tools developers use to code and design websites allow for major shifts in design thinking. There could be more opportunities available to push the boundaries and try new things. Designers and developers can be more productive and produce better quality products.
Also, these tools are becoming easier to use and more accessible. This means that even amateurs are able to build attractive and highly functional sites.
Think about the capabilities that WordPress and Wix offer. You can simply drag and drop widgets, choose from an array of beautiful templates and make sure your designs are optimised and responsive.
Design trends in other fields
Certain industries can have ripple effects on each other. Patterns, ideas and even events from other fields can shape web design trends. The fashion industry is a good example. When a design is considered fashionable, it’s most likely also popular in the graphic design world. It can impact the visual and experimental side of websites. Like say bold colours are common on the runways, you’ll likely find them while you’re scrolling online.
In a similar way, modern art, photography and interior design can shape web design trends.
Web Design Trends for 2022
It’s important to keep up with what’s relevant in the web design industry as Web FX found that 75% of a website’s credibility comes from its design. Now that we’ve considered how the trends can be shaped, let’s see which routes they’ll likely take this year.
Now that most people are well accustomed with the web and its functionalities, web design can add some quirk and fun to sites. There isn’t a great need to ease users into how to navigate digital services.
Visual optimism is where design is heading. Bold colours, outlandish design and interactivity are going to be prominent features this year.
Codegoda has already adopted the trend with a fantastically fun-looking landing page.
Users are becoming more immersed in their online activities. Experiences have moved from a one-way, consumption-only approach to users being able to also interact and engage with content.
This year, interactivity is going to be taken to the next level. We’ve already been seeing small changes, like how users can customise a web page by changing the background colour to their preference.
But more design features are beginning to become customisable. For instance, users can choose a character to voice-over the content while browsing a site or move features around the page. Or they’ll have to hover over a visual element to reveal information behind it. These not only have the effect of a clean design layout but keep the users entertained.
3D and multimedia
Websites are upgrading from the general text and image layout to more dynamic layouts with 3D integration. This makes animations, images and videos highly engaging and entertaining for users. It also increases the functionality of sites. Imagine taking a virtual walk through a city via an interactive 3D map.
Even though there may be restrictions when it comes to access to technology like VR headsets and the high-speed internet needed to use them, designs can still take on a 3D effect.
This example of a potential landing page design makes the workspace 3D. It’s effective because it looks more lifelike so the user can easily envision their own.
We’re constantly bombarded with visual information on a daily basis. Designers are leaning toward more mindful designs so users aren’t overwhelmed. They can catch a break from all the busy imagery and instead have a more relaxing experience. Streamlined and not-so-content-heavy websites will continue on into 2022. More whitespace and minimal graphics will not only please users but search engines as well.
Google has been putting an emphasis on page experience by encouraging website owners to improve their Core Web Vitals. Fewer images on a page could result in a faster-loading website and with that a better page experience. This will ultimately result in better search rankings.
Allowing users to get immediate feedback when they engage with content is becoming increasingly popular. Features like chatbots will continue to rise this year as users expect sites to have them and other conversational interfaces.
There’ll likely be an increase in the number of Voice Recognition Systems (VRC), which currently include smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Last year, the percentage of smart homes was set to increase to 28% in the US alone. And by 2023, it’s expected to be at 53.9%, showing how much momentum conversational design is gaining.
Machine learning and personalisation
We have moved into an era where the personalisation of products matters. Users want to feel special and not like they’re just part of a generic group of people. Content marketing has started to shift towards this by targeting specific audiences with content that is relevant to them only. And web design should be no different.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has lent its hand to helping website owners offer more personalised content and experiences for users. Going forward, users are likely to be able to engage with more content that relates to them, rather than generic content.
The design space is adopting this trend to provide a better customer experience. The idea is to track a user’s online movements so that they can be better understood as an individual. With that information, they can be offered a web design that suits their needs and preferences.
For instance, as you browse a website, it will learn your preferences and from then on, show you content that relates to them while discarding content that doesn’t. Kind of like what Netflix does with its shows lineup. You get a list of recommended shows based on ones that you previously watched. We’ll see more of this used in a host of different ways and types of websites.
Or imagine if you, as a user, didn’t like video content. The site will collect this data and in future, not display any video content whenever you browse. And it could work vice versa. If someone always clicked on the video content, they would see more of it when browsing.
Facebook and Google are known to do this, but we’re likely to see more platforms trying it out.
Blockchain technology has been making a splash over the web since it was introduced as the backbone of cryptocurrencies. It offers better security and transparency without the need for third parties to oversee any processes. This is because a digital ledger of any transactions is kept and added on to an endless chain of information.
With new technologies such as this, web design is going to be more centred around data security and the safety of user information.
Pageless websites are becoming more popular. Instead of having multiple pages, they mimic the style of social media. That is, a single page that you can endlessly scroll up and down. This is most probably to encourage the high engagement levels that social media sees.
Pageless websites will have to be effortless to use, extremely responsive and load very fast. This fluency will attract users, especially those on mobile devices.
Our Final thoughts
The web design industry is continuously growing and this year is set to bring about some big changes. New trends will give more interactive and immersive online experiences, while relatively older trends will be upgraded and grow.
Whatever the year brings, we’ll still be committed to delivering the right solutions to you, every time. The future of web design is with us.