9 Fresh Website Design Trends and 3 That Are Obsolete for 2021

Website design trends come and go – what was once modern and innovative may now be cliché and boring, so users leave your site as fast as they entered.

This means it’s vital to keep up with the trend of website design and how its affected by technology and usability to create and preserve your edge over the competition.

At Normal Bear, we have our finger on the pulse of upcoming website design trends, and our design team uses the latest tools and tricks to create highly functional, user-friendly website that not only look great, but generates leads and conversions.

Let’s take a look at the website design trends that will shape 2021, and some that were cutting edge in 2020, but will look outdated in 2021.

9 Emerging Website Design Trends

1. Dark mode

This trend began in 2020, but is set to become even more popular in 2021. Dark mode has benefits for both users and designers:

    • It reduces eye strain for users when they use a device in low light
    • It allows other elements to pop
    • It looks ultra-modern, and Facebook, Apple, Instagram and Twitter all offer alternative themes on their platforms

2. Vector graphics

Web pages that have interesting images always rank higher. One way Google ranks is from the results of indexing sites on mobile devices. Unfortunately, GIF and PNG images lose quality when they are resized.

The trend for 2021 is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), which allows scaling while preserving the original graphic.

3. Asymmetrical layout

Most websites you see are built on a grid, an approach that helps streamline structure and put the focus on the key elements. However, this makes many sites look alike, with the same uniformity of design, mainly through the use of templates provided by different hosting platforms.

The use of asymmetry in design is a big trend for 2021. It creates an opportunity to challenge tradition by moving toward individuality, big energy and big fun.

Without a grid, it’s important to remember that the viewers’ eyes are always fixed on the largest elements, so increase the size of whatever element you want to be the focus.

4. Voice user interface

The way users access information is evolving. Instead of typing a search query, they use various voice interfaces to ask questions.

In 2021, website design needs to adjust to accommodate voice chatbots and virtual assistants. This is an emerging trend, and we’ll see more and more websites incorporating voice search as an option.

5. Mixing vector graphics with photography

Overlapping graphics onto a photo will be another big trend in 2021. High quality photographs look great on their own, and adding in cool graphics can showcase your brand’s creative flair.

Combining graphics and photography adds extra personality, and by using the colors and shapes used in a logo, it can reinforce branding and give a unified look.

6. Design for fast load time

Website users expect ultra-fast load time. If your website takes more than two seconds to load, studies have shown that visitors will simply leave, and they likely won’t ever come back.

Loading time is a metric web designers have always paid attention to, but in 2021, it will become increasingly important for ranking and conversions.

7. Smart loading of content

Many websites are too graphics heavy, which slows them down, and third-party integrations make things worse.

In 2021, it will be about developing smart sites that download only the content a user needs to see.  Lazy loading is one web design standard already in use, and it’s popular for long, one-page sites.

Remember, research shows that many website visitors never reach the bottom of the page, so it makes no sense to load content that will increase site load time. The best approach is to load content as the user scrolls, ensuring that the browser downloads only the content the user needs to see,  without wasting valuable time and resources to load offscreen content that they might never see.

8. Artificial Intelligence

In the context of web design, the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) relates more to development, but for the designer, it adds the ability to create targeted and personalized pages focused on a specific context.

AI will help brands collect information about visitors, automate graphic selection, place attention-grabbing elements in the best place on the page, and allow testing.

In 2021, the user expects more and more personalization at a subconscious level. AI can give a visitor to a web page exactly what they are looking for.

9. Increased accessibility 

Website accessibility for any and all users is an important part of the web design process. Many organizations struggle to provide conditions for those who are differently abled.

For 2021, there will be an increased focus on accessibility. For example, if a video is posted, it should be closed captioned, and text placement should take into consideration those who are sight impaired.

While this may pose some challenges for the designer, considering all segments of the population can expand a brand’s target audience.

3 Outgoing Website Design Trends

Trends come and go. Some trends become a permanent part of the design landscape and others fall by the wayside as technology advances and society changes.

For 2021, we’ll say goodbye to:

1. Clear geometry

For the past few years, many designers have used strict angles and balanced shapes. With the 2021 trend toward asymmetry, a site designed this way is just going to look old and tired.

2. Bright, saturated colors

With people online more and more, eye strain is a real problem, and bright color create more visual fatigue. As you’ll read in our blog about graphic design trends, muted tones and minimalism are on-trend for 2021.

3. Video and animation as part of the design

This ties back to loading speed. A popular trend in 2020 was to use video rather than images as a background. This significantly increases page loading time, which causes visitors to just leave the site.

Website design will continue to evolve and change as technology advances and preferences shift. It’s imperative for businesses and marketing professionals to stay abreast on emerging trends and outgoing design practices. At Normal Bear Media, we follow these trends constantly to keep ourselves and our clients updated on the latest and greatest web design features and functions.