[Updated for 2021]
As technology advances and styles change, this is invariably reflected in website design trends. Web page designs and configurations are continually influenced by current, fashion, news items, product releases, cultural events and consumer demand.
Today’s website design trends are still reflective of the massive push toward the use of mobile devices of recent years. Since 2015, technology users have been favouring smartphones and tablets over traditional computers, and the number of mobile users has grown significantly. There are now an estimated 1.2 billion mobile users worldwide, with an estimated 25 percent of users in the Western world using mobile-only. Nearly 11 billion apps have been downloaded, and 85 percent of all devices that are currently manufactured can access the web.
Responsive design has continued to evolve and become even more intuitive to help meet consumer demand for mobile functionality. However, it’s also sparked some interesting and somewhat unexpected design developments.
The following are eight of the top trends in business website designs.
1. Simple and Straightforward
The mobile era means smaller screens and a shorter viewer attention span than ever before. This has sparked the trend towards minimalist content and elements. While the full message of the site or web page remains robust designs have become far more streamlined, elegant and efficient. Designers are saying more with less, and users are rewarded with a more fluid browsing experience.
Source: WWF Website
2. More Images, Faster Loading
While simplicity and elegance are examples of good website design trends for 2021, image quality and graphics have also taken a giant leap. Mobile device screens including Retina displays in Apple products are more crisp and bright than ever before, so it’s no surprise that more vivid custom graphics are being created in order to take advantage of these advances.
Lazy load technology instructs a system to load essential components only, and has been assisting web pages in loading faster for quite some time. This year, parallax scrolling, whereby the background moves at a slower rate to the foreground to create the illusion of depth has grown in popularity; allowing for better, fresher effects for smaller sites as well. The result is an even more seamless user experience on the web.
3. Going Flat
The past five years or so saw complexity and flash in GIF files and animations reach a critical mass. Today, in light of the prevalence of mobile use, less is more. Simpler flat designs are replacing jazzy GIFS to enhance the user experience. Flat, basic graphics can be seen on the sites of Internet juggernauts like Google and Facebook, and the rest of the ‘net is following suit with one of the top trends in business website designs. You’ll definitely still see animations in 2021 and beyond, but these creations will also reflect the flat design trend.
Source: The Australian Trade and Investment Commission
4. Video Backgrounds
Complementing the flat design trend is a move toward videos and animations used as web page backgrounds. The net result of this trend is causing the web browsing experience to feel more interactive, dynamic and immersive. The faster Internet and easier loading times are helping to make this possible, and it’s pushing the envelope in terms of what’s possible in web design.
Source: St Margaret's Anglican Girls School
5. The Evolution of Typography
Just as images and graphics have evolved to complement mobile device screens and technology, the rules of typography are morphing to make the most of these new layouts. Look out for extra-crisp styles and more serif fonts to take advantage of those high resolution Retina displays.
Other typography trends include type getting edgier and more artsy, custom text and mixing fonts for more impact is becoming more popular than ever before. Use custom and dramatic fonts sparingly, though; it’s best to master playing by the rules in typography before you break them.
6. Customised Google Maps
Embedding a Google Map on your site is a prime example of recent trends in business website designs. This year, these additions have come to have a homogeneous, generic feel; the yellowish map with blue and grey lines with a red pin in it seems to be everywhere. For 2021, savvy web designers have realised the value in customising the old style Google Map to integrate it with each website design in a more attractive, seamless and attention-grabbing way.
7. Going 3D
3D design is also bringing geometric shapes to life. This trend is replacing a previous trend toward “skeuomorphism,” or realistic page elements such as lined notepaper or lifelike, to-scale textures. While this realism was cool, for some reason it just never felt very cutting-edge. For 2021's web designs, sleek, flat geometric shapes are now being elegantly shaded in web design layouts to give them depth, perspective and in some cases motion and mood.
8. Artistically Edgy Website Designs
The counterpoint to the trend toward simple and flat is an opposing trend toward eye-catching and edgy. A flair for creative use of unexpected elements is key to this trend, but when used effectively, websites can become very sticky – users are mesmerised and can’t get enough of them. Bold pops of colour, splashes of text and innovative graphics can help to take any website to the next level. Just be sure it’s the right time and place for these sorts of design decisions.
Just as with all digital innovation, web designs are continually changing and evolving. They are influenced by elements within technology and our culture as well as user preferences and demands.
Does your company’s website reflect the current trends or is time for an upgrade to a new website CMS? Consider these eight website design trends for your business website when you’re ready to undertake a redesign, and make sure to always keep an eye on great website design examples to inspire you.
For insights on how to successfully redesign a website, get the free Website Redesign Best Practices Guide.