We are closing in on 2020, and the world of web is getting more complex, interesting and user-focused. Web design has become more at the forefront of the internet, with more focus on how visitors will use the site instead of companies just dictating information to users. Bigger companies have known this and are leading the charge, but now smaller businesses are seeing they have to adapt as well if they want to get the most out of their website. Let’s look at 10 trends in web design for 2020, and how they affect smaller businesses like roofers and gutter companies.
The minimalist design means a hundred things to a hundred different people. A general breakdown of it is a large use of white space, with no single element distracting attention from the visual hierarchy. This can mean stripping out background elements, fewer fonts used, etc. The point is to keep a simple website that tells the viewer what they need to know when they need to know it and if they are needing to know it, it means as fast as possible. A simplistic approach to design has one big advantage, site speed. These sites are lighter and faster which means better for Google and User Optimization.
Shift from just design to user experience.
Some that are reading this are probably saying ”…Um, we have been seeing this for a while.” While at the core that is true, I think we are seeing the shift in a much bigger scale. From niche e-commerce sites to the local roofing business, not just designers and coders are seeing things focus on the user, but business owners and service providers as well. For a while now, many service providers such as plumbers and roofers were saying “well my site is just kind of there.” It has been known that websites used just as brochure sites are dead or dying. Yet now, with the combination of smart design, great copy, and marketing automation, websites can do so much more for your business. This starts with sites designed with UX (user experience) in mind.
Accessibility for visitors with disabilities.
With that shift to focus on users comes the next trend, Accessibility. Many designers and business owners may groan at the fact it might kill some “trendy looks” for websites, but like it or not it is here. The Americans with Disabilities Act is being used, and at times forcibly, to level the website playing field and make it usable to everyone. This is not a particularly sexy topic and companies across multiple areas such as food and retail are getting sued, so it’s best to knuckle down and work on getting compliant.
The era of websites built out of flash, sites were extremely rich in graphics and highly interactive. While websites of today are not exactly capturing the magic of flash, they are focusing on engaging the users in interesting ways. Emerging out of this school of thought is a budding trend called Micro-Transaction. Micro-interactions are the small things a website does when you interact with it. For example, a CTA button could get larger when you hover over it. These are things to get the user engaged with the site. The user gets instant feedback, direction, and emotional validation. No matter what business the site is in, connecting to the viewer on an emotional level is strategic in creating a website conversion.
Split Screen Design
One of the trends that I saw emerge over 2019 that I think will continue into 2020 is split-screen design. Yet these split-screen layouts and designs are smarter and more complex than before. They use off-center / broken symmetry and lines to keep the designs feeling fresh. It’s also a new fresh way to highlight a service, feature, your company or products.
Bold and bright colors are making a statement in 2020. White is not the only main color choice anymore. Personally, I feel that sites using bold color choices were kind of taboo since the death of flash as a web builder. Slowly that has been fading away and in 2020, bold is in. Why? Brands want to stand out among a sea of competitors online. They want to look less “part of the crowd”. With this, more website owners will continue to adopt bold and bright colors to try to stand out instead of blending in.
Animations and Gifs
Back a couple of years ago in 2017, videos were widely popular. It was a way to engage the viewer and tell a story. Trouble is, the file sizes and lag times on a website made sites slow and hard to load. In 2020, we are finding an answer. Remember in the ’90s, gifs were a thing? Well, now they have grown up and helped create rich movement within a website without the weight. Also, remember how flash was used for site animations? Now that has been replaced with rich html5 animation that brings complexity and richness to websites. I think we will see being used more and more in 2020.
One great use of a gif or animation is of a diagram or product in which you want to create a rich and unique way to connect benefits to the visitor. The more ways you can make your benefits stick, the more conversions and sales goes to a business.
Scalable Vector Graphic AKA SVG
Websites with rich content have suffered slower page-load times thanks to traditional file formats such PNG and Jpeg. They also have suffered because sites are now asked to be shown on a number of different screens, from small mobile up to large screens for presentations. Traditional media file formats lose resolution and are not that versatile. This is where SVG comes in. These are vector images that scale with the size of a screen while upholding the quality of the original graphics. SVGs are not pixels, which is a significant contributor to their scalability aspect.
Bold Use of Type
While using bold type is not exactly new, in the race to stand out I think it will become more prominent in 2020. Business owners, as well as designers, are beginning to really see the ROI of standing out instead of fitting in, and fonts, especially headers, are a place where that can happen.
Variable fonts are also making a strong statement. A variable font is fundamentally a single, dynamic font that changes to appear like multiple fonts.
Bold and custom fonts can create elaborate typefaces that make a site stand out. There are now more tools and devices than ever available to support custom fonts, so 2020 is a big year to make type a priority on your site design.
The emergence of Voice Search Technology
We live in the age of Siri, Alexa and Hey Google, so it only reasons to believe that soon, web users will want their website’s voice searchable as well. Though this has not really happened as of yet, it’s on the horizon. I predict that in 2020, those companies that want to stay ahead and have a savvy user base will look for ways to integrate voice search into their websites. Due to my being a WordPress design/developer, I wanted to see what capabilities there are currently. The main plugin I found was https://wordpress.org/plugins/voice-dialog-navigation/.
The world of web design is finally waking up and not wanting to look like a landscape of every site looking the same. A focus on the user is now even more important than before, even down to the small business. Every one of these trends has one of two things in common, they either are focused on getting the information fast and effective to the user or making the company stand apart from the others.