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Jason Frelich

Senior Web Designer & Developer

Jason is an Interactive Web Designer with more than 5 years of Northwoods experience. Jason uses his design instincts to create beautiful, user-friendly websites for clients in a variety of industries, from Milwaukee Irish Fest to Vollrath Manufacturing, while ensuring functionality across all devices.

2020 Website Design Trends

November 25, 2019 | Jason Frelich, Senior Web Designer & Developer

7 Minute Read

2020 Website Design Trends

Following current design trends can be crucial to the success of your website and, in some cases, your business. 2020 is approaching fast, and if you’re redesigning your website you will certainly want to do research on design trends that are here to stay, design trends that are going away and new, emerging design trends.

Design trends change from year to year, and digital design trends usually emerge because of advancements in technology that happen each year, impacting our computers, tablets, phones and other devices that users access to browse the web. Here is a list of design trends that are sure to make your website stand out and catch a few eyes in the year ahead. Note: Not all examples shown were created by Northwoods.

Animation

Animation has existed for a long a time, but with faster mobile processors and better browser support for the HTML, CSS and JavaScript that these animations run on, expect to see this trend in 2020. Animation can be one factor that separates a good website from a great website. Sure, you’ve created an amazing website mockup within Adobe Photoshop using amazing imagery, great fonts, bold colors and killer call-to-action buttons, but now it’s time to bring that flat Photoshop to life. 

You’ve probably been to websites that seem very natural and easy to use; on the other hand, you’ve likely also had the opposite experience. Animation can help create a more functional user experience while your visitor is navigating your website, increasing the length of time a visitor stays on your website and decreasing your bounce rate. Animations can include sliding menus, images that zoom in on hover, loading screens, page transitions, button effects, and more.

Example: snapon.com.
Snap-on uses animation by fading in the header, imagery and text.

 

Page Transitions

Page transitions are what happen between the time you click a link on a website and before the next page loads. It’s a subtle design effect that web designers use to enhance the user experience. A typical experience is when you click a button or link and wait for a half-second for the content on the next page to appear. On faster websites that have a quick response time you may not even notice the delay, but for websites that use rich media like imagery and video it can be noticeable. With page transitions, when the user clicks a link or button you can immediately have the current page content fade out while the next page loads and the content then fades in.

Example: mcePharm
While browsing from page to page, content fades in and fades out creating an excellent and seamless experience for users browsing the website.

 

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

In its very basic format, SVG is simply an image. However, technically speaking, it’s very different from the traditional jpg, png or gif that we have become so accustomed to using. The big difference between the two is that an SVG is a vector-based image while all other types are raster-based. Vectors are based on a mathematical formula to show shapes including logos, maps, diagrams, icons, etc. No matter what size the SVG is or how far you zoom in, the image never becomes pixelated because it’s based on a mathematical formula.

On the other hand, jpgs, pngs and gifs are all pixel based. This means that each image is given a specified size and each pixel within the image is made up of a pixel that contains a certain color value. If the image is too small or the wrong size, your image can appear blurry or pixelated. Screen resolution gets better every year, and to make sure images appear crisp you either need to properly size your image or you can use SVG images to create that same effect. Not only do SVG images provide a superior resolution but they are usually smaller in size, reducing load time.

Example: portmilwaukee.com

 

Accessibility

Although not as exciting as some of the previous design trends, this is just as important - if not more so. Many people have poor eye sight or have trouble using a computer mouse to navigate a website. It’s important to have enough color contrast between the text on the screen and the background on which the text rests. Furthermore, creating focus states on buttons and links ensures that someone who is using a screen reader can follow along on their screen. Learn more about accessibility.

Examples: iCare

 

Video

Who doesn’t love a great background video! They look amazing and can help convey your message better than imagery. Browsers can now support the type of file formats that are accepted in order to play your video, making it cheaper and easier for a web designer to implement this design trend. Note: Be careful when using video on your website. When implemented incorrectly, it can slow down your page speed and may not work on all devices.


Example: Wild Wenfrew

 

Minimalism

This trend is based on the “less is more” approach. The trend incorporates a lot of white space, hidden navigation and simplicity - and it is here to stay. Gone are the days where you would try to design everything “above the fold.” A lot of the best designs have one primary message on initial home screen, knowing that users will scroll or use the hamburger menu to navigate the website.


Example: Wickret

 

Asymmetric Layouts

Symmetry is boring. Okay, not really, but symmetrical grid layouts have been around since the dawn of time. It’s time to spice things a bit and break the mold. An asymmetrical layout can often feel more dynamic to the user.


Example: Mini Bricks

 

3D Models and Rendering

I find using a 3D image vs. a 2D one can be especially helpful while shopping for various products online - whether it’s shoes, earbuds or a new watch. 3D images give the user a unique level of control to view a product as opposed to a 2D image. Take for example the Google Pixel Buds example below.

Example: Google Pixel Buds

 

Conclusion

Technology changes at a rapid pace and so do design trends. Some trends last a long time while others die quickly. Either way, it's important to know what the latest trends are for the future. At Northwoods, we recommend either a new website design or a design refresh every 3-4 years. To learn how we can help you with the best design trends of 2020, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.