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Web Design Trends 2019

Staying up to date with the latest web design trends is crucial for the optimal success of your website. Many things can change, in the space of twelve months, when it comes to design popularity, Google algorithm updates and best practices.

A website that seems cutting edge today could look behind-the-times and quite lame in merely a matter of months. Knowing the difference between an industry trend and a transient fad is of such importance when it comes to the design of your site. You’ll want to have a design that endures the test of time and doesn’t end up reminiscent of the Geocities message board of the 90s.

2019 will be about delivering on user experience. Design trends will work in harmony with speed and mobile design, simple & asymmetrical designs and utilise the power of video through engaging media backgrounds.


Speed

How much time do you think it takes to make an impression on a would-be customer? If you are talking in terms of the online space, this period is a mere matter of less than 3 seconds.

With the technology of today permeating into psychological aspects, humans tend to be quite flighty and impatient with their expectations. In studies conducted by Akamai and Gomez.com, a staggering 50% of users expect a site to load within 2 seconds or even less. The study also revealed that a user would abandon a site if it took 3 seconds or more to fully display.

A beautiful site may be a beautiful site but if it is so data heavy, that it delays the page load, then you will possibly lose substantial revenue as no one will be staying on your site. In addition, with the Google Speed Update which came into force during 2018, Google has opted to prioritise rankings for sites that load faster than others.

This simply means that as websites need to load faster and faster, web design needs to take this into account during the design process. Designers can no longer simply rely on the developer to take the visual and code it into something that looks good and will rank effectively. Speed needs to be a factor of the design.

Flat Design

For a number of years, designers and developers began creating clean and simple websites for better mobile performance. Since that time, mobile users have spiked upward and a mobile-first approach is now a necessity rather than an afterthought. Image heavy sites load slowly and end up frustrating a user.

Minimalist, or flat, designs are known by their quickness to load and are currently in vogue and sought after for two prominent reasons. Mobile and desktop browsers can enable quick loading sites. Additionally, they may hold high SEO value. Flat design helps to support the speed requirements that search engines are beginning to demand. This is why flat design has risen in popularity and remains to be trendy during 2019.

Flat design doesn’t mean that all elements are flattened into 2 planes. It is about minimalism and usability. Flat design is an aesthetic that reduces clutter and emphasises the most important parts of your site. With its use of bold colours, clear and crisp edges and open space, flat design is an uplifting change from cluttered and slow-to-load designs.

Even though it is minimalist, this never means boring when it comes to flat design. Contrasting colours, simple images, plain fonts mean a user experience that is appealing and engaging.

Because flat design doesn’t rely on imagery, to overpower design, it doesn’t then have large amounts of extra data to load when a user navigates a page. This has two substantial benefits for site owners. One, that it provides a quick-loading and enjoyable experience on any platform or device. Two, the data-light designs make page speed and optimisation much quicker which is of great advantage when it comes to Google, Bing and all other search engines. The faster a site takes to load, the more inclined it will be to rank well. Flat design encourages users to stay on the site resulting in a higher chance that they will convert.

Mobile First

Speed isn’t the only measurement Google uses to assess a site. The year 2015 saw mobile search overtake desktop. In line with this, Google changed the way that they index – now prioritising mobile sites over sites that are not yet mobile friendly.

Now that mobile is taking priority from desktop sites, it is unsurprising that mobile-first design is becoming a mainstream trend. Mobile first design is all about changing the fundamentals of how a website is designed. Sites used to be designed based on how they looked on a desktop or laptop – mobile site was an optional extra. A mobile first approach turns this process on its head – the site is designed for the mobile user first and then a version is created for desktop users.

Once more, this emphasis on mobile first design isn’t just centred around ranking signals or SEO elements. The visual result is that which will enhance a user’s experience when they are visiting the site from a device. This approach is meeting the demand that mobile users have and will likely be the dominant trend for a while to come.

Broken Grids / Asymmetrical Layouts

2019 web design trends are all about outside of the box (or grid) concepts. Broken grids and angular designs are making their mark on the design industry in a noticeable way. Despite the push from designers toward flat and minimalist design there is also a substantial army of designers who are pushing the fresh and striking appearance of the asymmetrical, broken layout.

When we say grids or asymmetrical layouts this is referencing the well known grid system that has dominated layouts for decades. This extends to layouts of web pages to newspapers, to print media and outdoor ads. A grid allows a designer to maintain a consistency when adding content imagery and design components and it maintains the structure of the grid of the underlying layout. It ultimately maintains symmetry.

Not using a grid system typically results in untidy layouts which distract a user from the key elements of a page. However, the use of asymmetry and broken grids have been gaining popularity as a way of standing out from most websites without losing the visual appeal for a user.

Planned but unusual placements, with layers of different colours and textures, irregular patterns, use of space and typography give a sense of depth not typically featured through grid-based layouts.

Asymmetrical designs are visually appealing and aim to direct users toward the primary parts and CTAs of the website.

Single Page Design

Page load speed and minimal design are repeating trends when it comes to 2019 web design. This is the reason that single page design (aka pageless design) has become a recent trend.

Single page design is a very apt moniker for this layout as it refers to sites that have only one page rather than multiple pages nested under a navigation hierarchy.

The only real downside for the single page design is the hurdles that it poses for SEO. Typically, the more pages that a site has, the more keywords that it is able to rank for. So, although it is more difficult to deploy an optimisation strategy on a single page, this is as far as the disadvantages extend.

Clean and uncluttered site designs are being favoured by the major search engines as they can be quickly accessed on a mobile device. Pageless design does this by having less of anything that would otherwise slow page load. These designs typically look quite appealing on mobile devices and default to having a mobile-first approach.

Single page sites are far easier to update and manage as there is so little clutter. This means it is easier for your business to keep on top of your website.

Conversion rates are typically quite high for one page sites. On standard, paginated websites, the goal is to grab a user through a keyword search and then pull them onto a landing page. Then they are corralled toward a contact form or similar. Single page designs have no distractions and every component of the page drives a user toward a point where they can convert.

Video Backgrounds

Regardless of the minimalists, video backgrounds are still a popular trend that has held its own in 2019. You’d think that (with page speed being so important) videos would slow a site too much. Interestingly, though, sites that have video backgrounds have been shown to have higher conversions.

Videos are quite simply more engaging than words or jpgs will ever be. Users are more likely to hang around and watch the full video. The longer your user stays on the site, the higher the chance that they will convert. This also raises your time on site which supports your SEO strategies.

Video is a quick way of conveying a message. Text, in comparison, would take paragraphs to convey the same thing. Videos are particularly important when a complex message needs to be conveyed in the short amount of time that you have a user’s attention.

Chatbots / Machine Learning

Over the last few years, interacting with bots has become more accepted and mainstream. Bots are more used on websites and it’s likely you even speak to one when you call your local institutions or government agency.

Bots started rolling out about 20 years ago and initially were quite clumsy to interact with. Over time, they have increased in sophistication thanks to improved AI and machine learning. Machine learning is what powers Google’s auto-suggestions when you run a search. It’s also the reason why Facebook asks you if you want to tag yourself in an image when you upload it. It has the capability to learn your facial features.

Chatbots are excellent when it comes to providing customer service and enhancing user interactions on-site. It is a way of initiating your relationship with your customer and it also allows your sales team to gather information before they actually interact with the lead.

2019 will see this technology continue to be perfected and rolled out more on company websites. Customer service is becoming more efficient as a result of these technologies and should certainly not be overlooked when planning your overall web design.

Published on Wednesday, 19 June 2019 under Web Design.