Trends, Standards, and Predictions
And that very much includes the world of web design.
If that wasn’t enough, web designers and agencies are currently reeling from another seismic change. In May 2021, Google launched its Page Experience update, which puts a much greater emphasis on user experience in ranking websites in its listings.
Website owners and marketers should not underestimate the importance of this. It means that web designers now need to emphasize elements like loading speed, interactivity, safe browsing, and visual stability. Otherwise, they’ll quickly see their sites disappear from the first page of Google.
Technology changes fast, and web design trends are no different. As a result, design elements and website features that were once modern and innovative may have become tired, overdone, and cliched in recent years. As people arrive at your site, the last thing you want is to lose conversion because your website looks outdated or ignores critical web standards.
To help you get the most from your website, we want to share some of the latest standards and web design trends for 2022 and beyond suggested by the best web design agency in Melbourne.
2022 Web Design Trends and Predictions
There will always be aspects of web design that are never going away. These standards include user-friendly navigation, data security, and fast load times should be a given on your website. However, you can keep your site at the forefront of design and search engines by adding these innovative website features and elements.
Mindful Web Design
For most people worldwide, lockdown meant your world got smaller, simpler, and quieter. And while the web remains a wild, busy, stressful place, you can see areas of web design where a sense of restrained calm now has an influence.
We see a move back to clean design with generous white space, allowing our eyes and the content to breathe. We call this “mindful web design” – an approach that understands that people don’t want to be overwhelmed with too much information or busy graphics.
This trend ties in neatly with Google’s recent algorithm update requirements, whereby making your website load faster benefits your search engine rankings. After all, the simpler your design, the less content there is to load, so it’s a win-win situation.
The trend also dovetails with Google’s demand that sites be mobile-friendly. In a world where people are using a bewildering array of devices, making websites work well on each of them is increasingly challenging. Again, the simpler your design is, the easier that task is to achieve in practice.
Fast Loading Websites
One of the most crucial web design standards is ultra-fast load time. Quick loading times have been essential factors in UX and SEO for years. It continues to be a top priority for websites that want to rank well and convert better.
Studies say that more than half of internet browsers expect a website to load fast and no more than two seconds after clicking a link. If it takes more than three seconds to load your site, your visitors most likely will leave, and it’s not likely they’ll be back ever again!
Thumb-Friendly Mobile Navigation
Your site should work well and be easy to use on mobile devices. But in 2022, web design will continue to be focused on creating websites that are thumb-friendly. But what exactly is “thumb-friendly”?
We’re talking about the way we use our phones. If you’re reading this on your phone right now, look at how you’re holding it. Your fingers are probably wrapped around your phone (or around a phone grip), leaving your thumb to do all the work.
That’s how most of us use our smartphones, and that’s why thumb-friendly navigation is essential. Putting the navigation bar, menu, and even contact buttons in the space your thumb can reach (the centre of the screen) makes your site more comfortable to use. And it improves your UX tenfold.
Online Lead Generation
Online lead generation forms are one of the essential elements of a marketing website. We want to get to know a lot about our website visitors, but we can’t ask too many questions at any time. So we place progressive/dynamic contact forms on the landing pages and display fields according to the lead’s journey.
Ideally, we don’t want to display too many fields in a form. Still, we can adjust the form fields according to the data that we already know about our leads. So, for example, we might ask the name, company, and email address at the first conversion. And then ask for the phone number, title, company size, company revenue fields at the next conversion opportunity.
Chatbots are another feature that has been popular for a few years and will continue to be relevant in 2022. As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to get more sophisticated, we expect to see chatbots become the norm for simple customer service requests and “personal shopping.”
For example, suppose a customer visits your website, looking for phone support. In that case, the chatbot knows they have an available free phone upgrade. Therefore, the chatbot can let them know about the upgrade. This feature can lead to a positive experience for the customer and save the customer support cost associated with talking to a live person.
The way we access information is changing – instead of typing into Google, we now ask a question or make a demand. Likewise, voice activation means web design is adjusting to keep up with the prevalence of voice chatbots and virtual assistants.
While a voice-activated interface isn’t commonplace for most websites, this emerging trend isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Instead, we can expect to see more and more websites integrating voice search as an option to traditional text search.
Inclusivity and accessibility are more than a web design trend. Still, there is a growing need for web design to factor in the needs of people with disabilities.
Having a site that every visitor can navigate and interact with is more than part of good customer service and an excellent experience. It can increase conversion, boost your SEO, and help you reach a bigger audience.
Elements that improve accessibility include:
- Creating strong color contrast between text and backgrounds.
- Adding focus indicators, such as the rectangular outline that shows up around links when using keyboard navigation.
- Using labels and instructions with form fields rather than low-context placeholder text.
- Using available alt tags for images (which also boosts SEO!).
Adding interactive sections to your website is a great way to provide value for visitors, get them to engage with your website, and learn more about them.
Suppose you were a realtor and added a mortgage calculator to your website. You’re offering value to your visitors while also learning more about them based on the data input into your calculator.
Examples of interactive marketing include:
- Assessments like quizzes
- Polls and surveys
VR experiences on websites will continue to increase over the coming years. Think of sites like Airbnb that let you tour a rental before you book a reservation. Or the furniture site IKEA’s ability to showcase what a sofa would look like in your room.
VR can be a powerful tool for a website to serve valuable, meaningful content to site visitors in a way that helps them make buying decisions.
On a website, micro-interactions are small animations that offer subtle feedback to users. For example, we’re all used to seeing a link change colours when a user mouses over it. However, with the focus on micro-interactions, mouse-overs can be enhanced to stand out more. Such as having the mouse course change into a different image depending on the link it is hovering over.
As you might have guessed from the name, micro animations are small animations. But in this case, small doesn’t mean insignificant. On the contrary, micro animations are extremely helpful for guiding users through their interactions with your website.
Micro animations have been popular for a few years, but in 2022, it’ll be about using them organically. As our UI/UI design team explained, we’ll be thinking about how things move, if they’re on a curve or wheel instead of on a flat plane.
One of the latest web design trends for e-commerce sites is using micro animations to enhance user experience and give shoppers a taste of their products.
Communicating data in an engaging way is complex. But the effort is worth it because using data visualization takes advantage of the fact that humans are visual creatures and still conveys the message you need to get across.
Data visualization creates images out of your data that engage your reader and makes them want to learn more about your brand. Infographics and graphs are some of the most popular ways to bring data to life.
When it comes to design, what’s the best experience we can offer a user? Some might argue that it’s letting the user choose the format for themselves. That’s why many websites today are taking the concept of interactivity and making it mean more than just moving up and down the page.
Instead, specific design features are customizable by the user. For example, by scrolling and clicking, they can move entire design features around the page, choose background colours and decide when things transform. These are the trends we’re seeing more of right now, and we expect this to continue in 2022.
Colourful minimalism goes together with one of 2022’s most prominent web design trends: colour! Bold, bright, saturated colours help your brand stand out from the soft neutrals that many companies have chosen over the past few years.
Colors to Evoke Moods
Along with bold colour, we think using colour mindfully to evoke certain moods will be significant in 2022. Colour psychology, the study of colour’s impact on human behaviour, has been around for centuries. Marketers have used it to help sell for nearly as long.
How we interpret colours has a lot to do with our perceptions. Some general feelings are associated with different colours. For example, green typically denotes nature and natural products, while red symbolizes energy and passion.
In 2022, we think web designers will focus on using colour mindfully to evoke the mood(s) and feeling(s) a site wants to elicit.
Geometric shapes were a big website design trend in 2020, but in 2022, it’s all about organic shapes. Organic or fluid shapes are anything that doesn’t involve straight lines. Instead, think of shapes that happen in nature, like hills, the edges of a lake or river, and how they are asymmetrical and winding.
Fluid shapes are a great way to break up sections of a website without harsh lines or angles. They’re also great to use in the background.
Minimalism, also sometimes called “flat design,” isn’t a new trend in web design. Still, it is typically associated with a lot of white space. In 2022, we expect people will be experimenting with colourful minimalism. However, it doesn’t have to be all white to be minimalist. Feel free to be as colourful as you like!
Dark mode web designs serve a couple of different functions. On the practical end, they help reduce eye strain, a concern for many as we spend more and more time looking at screens.
On the aesthetic end, dark mode easily creates an ultra-modern look for your website. In addition, it gives you the ability to highlight other design elements just by darkening the aspects that surround them.
The use of white space is about giving content room to breathe, not trying to cram the most information possible on the screen. As a result, the experience is more relaxing for your website visitors, the content stands out better, and improved readability.
White space is just the term for the spacing we give between elements. It does not have to be white if the area is empty. Therefore, it’s also known as “negative space.”
Sometimes browsing the web feels like seeing the same stock photo used across many websites. It can make a website feel generic and bland. I am sure you recognize a few overused images by now, such as the image of the smiling people in the conference room. (Are people this excited staring at a blank notepad?!)
Custom illustrations can help your website stand out and feel like something fresh to website visitors. In addition, since you will be creating illustrations from scratch, they can more accurately represent your company and branding and enhance the page’s subject matter.
Flaws and Imperfections
Imperfections no longer look unattractive. On the contrary, they are actively used to draw the user’s attention to one or another component of the page. For example, a beautifully asymmetric or strikeout image will create an enticing headline or make your overall design more authentic.
Full-Height Hero Images
Like a giant billboard, making your homepage, hero section full-height can focus your users’ attention and serve as distraction-free messaging.
Think of full-screen hero sections as an opportunity for great storytelling. Just keep in mind that images will crop differently based on browser dimensions. So you should use an image that will resize accordingly.
Text-Only Hero Images
Newspapers always put the most eye-catching, important information “above the fold” to increase sales. A website’s equivalent is at the top of a page called the “hero section.”
A current trend to catch internet users’ attention is removing the typical background image in the hero section and replacing it with eye-catching typography. A bold, unique font could be just the thing to get a user’s attention quickly.
Blending Images and Graphics
You might have noticed overlapping graphics on images in your social media feed. This mixing technique brings a level of creativity and fun to a typical appearance.
The trend is also catching on with websites. Mixing photography with graphics can reinforce your company branding and keep website visitors engaged with your content.
Gradients are a long-time trend that has evolved from subtle color overlays to eye-catching backgrounds. Gradients can add depth, serve as a striking background, or subtly add texture to an illustration. We increasingly see it used in more extensive and bolder typography.
This trend has staying power. We’re excited to see the continual evolution of its use on websites.
Material design is a design language that was introduced by Google back in 2014. Traditional web design looks flat. Material design is about using colour and shadows to mimic the physical world and its textures. The Google interface is a great example.
The shadows on the Gmail envelope and the calendar are perfect examples of material design. It’s very subtle but goes a long way in making the icons look three-dimensional. We expect to see a lot more material design in 2022!
Vintage Colors and Typography
It’s true that the older we get, the more we look to the past as a time that was simpler and better. However, tapping into an audience’s sense of nostalgia doesn’t merely create a throwback on the webpage; it mixes vintage pieces with modern style. For example, try mixing vintage-inspired fonts and colours with contemporary imagery for an ultra-trendy look.
Visiting a lot of websites for leading corporations will show you that bold typography is on-trend. The reader is instantly aware of the message with heavy, bold fonts, not necessarily the imagery. Combining these large fonts with neutral colours further emphasizes the headlines, quickly becoming an “image” of their own.
Fonts can not only convey text but also create a beautiful appearance. Together with graphic designers, Web designers create their unique versions, which they will actively use in the future. With their help, it will be possible to obtain several advantages:
- Creating a particular appearance
- The ability to highlight important information
- Creating an aesthetically pleasing design
- Attracting the user’s attention to content
Today, options with serifs or curls have become popular. They add a nostalgic mood and make the design more authentic. Lettering is also often used for highlighting. It consists of different heights of letters in one word and the presence of additional elements for decoration.
Another thing that has to do with fonts is adaptation. Many users view content not only on a computer but also on a smartphone or tablet. Therefore, the site must adapt its size by adjusting them to the size of the device screen.
Frosted Glass Effects
Recent advances in web technology have allowed the easy implementation of the frosted glass effect on websites. The blurry appearance of elements behind the frosted glass overlay helps add color to an area while also allowing text or objects to appear over the image and remain readable.
The effect has become a popular option in a designer’s tool belt as a background in place of gradients.
Dynamic scrolling (also known as single-page scrolling) means that all of your featured content displays on the same page.
Dynamic scrolling is a great way to tell a story on your website, especially if you add parallax scrolling into the mix (where the background moves slower than the foreground). It also minimizes the friction your users may feel as they browse through your site, no matter what device they’re on. Finally, it’s excellent for “thumb-scrolling!”
Smart Content Loading
Many of us might be guilty of having resource-heavy websites with many graphical elements and third-party integrations that can slow our sites down. Fortunately, there are many ways to develop intelligent websites that download only the content you see and need.
Lazy loading and infinite scroll are not brand-new technologies. The top social networks have been using this for years, especially when it comes to infinity scroll. The approach is also popular with long (one) page websites.
All websites should consider how implementing one or two technological approaches might help them outrank or outperform their competition. These features can help improve the user experience for all website visitors, improving your conversion rate and ranking.
Lazy load ensures the web browser will download only the content you see on the screen. This process saves valuable server resources and time to load offscreen content until it is required.
Many website visitors never reach the bottom of a webpage. So why load that content and increase site load times. A better approach is loading the content as they scroll down the page and get closer to it.
Perhaps you have visited a website and then come back to it a few hours or days later to see that the content has changed. Then, when you pull it up on your phone for the first time or on another browser, you see the original content you saw the first time you visited the website.
Cutting-edge web agencies will advise their customers to display dynamic content based on past user behaviour or what we know about a user. For example, custom content created for users returning to your website for a second or third time can increase conversion.
Personalized content is more important for e-commerce website owners. Displaying recently viewed, saved, or liked products for online shoppers leads to increased conversions. Highlighting abandoned cart contents for returning customers is also crucial to maintaining a higher conversion rate.
Video is considered a must-have for websites. It is one of the most effective online marketing tools!
While videos are great, they require planning. That’s what smart video is about: video with a purpose and meaning. Gone are the days of embedding a YouTube video on your site just to have one. One well-thought-out, high-quality video is better than a dozen haphazardly assembled ones.
Interactive 3D content
Thanks to maturing web technology and web designers wanting to stand out from the digital noise, 3D elements that users can interact with are common design elements in 2022.
Ongoing Web Design Trends and Development Standards
A few popular trends from the past few years will continue to be significant in the upcoming years.
1. Mobile-First Design
We mentioned that responsive/mobile-friendly web design isn’t optional anymore. Your site should be designed with mobile in mind first. Mobile searches overtook desktop searches way back in 2015.
Since the beginning of 2017, mobile traffic has accounted for nearly half of all web traffic worldwide. More than good UX, Google has ranked mobile-friendly sites more favourably since 2018. This ranking factor means that mobile-first design is another drop in your SEO bucket.
2. SSL Certificates
SSL certificates are not a trend but rather a standard security measure for websites. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and the certificate is installed on your web server. It serves two purposes: it authenticates the website’s identity, guarantees visitors that they’re not on a bogus site, and encrypts the data transmitted.
SSL Certificates ensure a private “conversation” between your website and your visitors. In 2022, having an SSL Certificate is a must! If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, getting one should be a priority in 2022, especially if you own an e-commerce site!
3. Local SEO
Expect the trend toward local SEO to stay strong among web designers in 2022. Local content is already critical for many businesses. Its importance will only increase as consumers use the Internet to search for all kinds of local information.
Web content with SEO keywords and modifiers like “near me” or “close by” has seen an explosion over the past several years. According to HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are location-based.
Emerging Web Design Trends for 2022 in Three Words: Fast, Clean, and Eye-Catching
In this article, we’ve introduced you to some of the biggest web design trends affecting the industry right now. We fully expect to extend their influence in years to come. These stem in part from two significant events.
The first is the lockdown and how it’s changed society in ways that are likely to continue long after the pandemic has abated. And the second is Google’s significant algorithm change. Google’s direction is pointing the profession towards making websites load more quickly and adapt better to the range of mobile devices available today.
Of course, that’s not the whole story by any means. There’s the ongoing mission to ensure web design is inclusive, so the web is accessible to everyone. There’s the constant launch of new platforms and concepts by the ‘big five tech giants, such as Facebook’s renewed focus on VR and its dubbing ‘the metaverse.’ And, of course, there’s always the possibility of another significant Google algorithm change.
Boldly Stepping into the Future
No one can predict the future with any certainty. We can only be aware of current trends and what’s behind them and make some educated guesses about what’s to come next. No one ever said web design was predictable, which makes it an exciting sphere to work in!
In 2022, we expect to see a slew of clean, bright, eye-catching websites that use animation and video to enhance the user experience. And our thumbs should get a break with a thumb-friendly design!