New year = new trends. When it comes to design, staying at the forefront of new trends doesn’t just make you “cool;” it directly impacts the success of your business – including sales, reach, and engagement. In the ever-evolving world of design, it can be hard to keep up with what’s most important and what’s coming next. As techniques begin to shift away from some of the trends that have become so prevalent in the past few years, here’s what you can expect to be top priority in 2019:
Back in 2015, Google informed the world that mobile accessibility was the next big trend in web design, with mobile searches having officially surpassed desktop queries for the first time. Now, four years later, we’ve seen this shift fully play out as up to 52% of all internet users are now accessing the web through their mobile devices. As a result, mobile accessibility is no longer an afterthought in web design. 2019 marks the year that mobile responsiveness becomes top priority, even over desktop sites. Why? Google’s big announcement last year has something to do with it: new mobile-first indexing means sites will be ranked based on their mobile version instead of their desktop version. As Google explains, “Since the majority of users now access Google via a mobile device, the index will primarily use the mobile version of a page’s content going forward.” Expect to see web designers this year first creating for mobile and then for desktop.
Recent research from Google on the “Need for Speed” revealed that slow page load times can be a huge hurdle for your business. When it comes website speed, every second matters. In an age of instant gratification, patience is lower than ever. The result? You have less than 3 seconds to get a visitor’s attention, or the opportunity may be lost forever. According to Google’s study, half of internet users expect a page to load in less than two seconds, and “53% of visits are likely to be abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.” To top things off, Google announced in July 2018 that mobile page speed now plays a factor in a site’s search ranking, so slow loading sites will start falling off the radar soon if no optimization efforts are made. Better get your site up to speed before it disappears in the dust – literally.
In response to the elaborate, flashy features of the “Web 2.0” style in the early 2000s, design trends in recent years shifted towards a minimalist, flat design approach to help simplify aesthetics. Flat design eliminated any unnecessary graphical features for a cleaner, more adaptable approach, but it ended up causing usability issues when users were unsure how to interact with graphics and CTAs. Now, trends are shifting towards a “reformed” flat design… “Flat Design 2.0” as some call it, where stylistic elements like highlights, multiple color tones, and drop shadows are being reincorporated to add clarity for user behavior. And yes, that’s right – gradients are making a comeback, thanks to Instagram’s logo redesign a few years back that is now normalizing use of depth and color once again.
Bold Fonts & Bright Colors
In 2019, we’ll start to see typefaces move away from the varied line widths of sans-serif humanist fonts and instead shift towards big, bold fonts that make a statement. Text will be more than a way to communicate information. It will be an integrated part of the style, brand voice, and overall visual design of a site. Bigger, bolder fonts will replace large (and less mobile-friendly) images as the main design element. Together with bright, super-saturated colors, these bold typefaces will shape the personality and tone of a brand’s message, leaving a memorable impression for visitors.
With design trending towards eye-catching, stimulating graphics, it only makes sense that video continues to prevail as a primary web design element in 2019. Although video backgrounds are not brand new this year, you can expect to see their continued use as a way to boost conversion rates and secure users’ attention – making the most of those first precious moments to attract a visitor and keep them engaged with your brand. According to Unbounce, using a video on your landing page can increase conversions by up to 80%. More than a just a stunning photograph, video allows the visitor to become part of the experience, adding moving imagery (and occasionally audio) for a more fully-immersive experience. Video provides the opportunity for your brand to more deeply connect with visitors, demonstrate culture, build trust among customers, and elicit specific emotions towards your brand or product – a technique that increases customer loyalty and engagement.
There’s a lot of talk of “micro” in the upcoming year. Micro-moments, micro-interactions, micro-animations… basically lots of different small ways to keep users engaged as they navigate through a site. Hike One defines micro-animations as “small, preferably functional animations that support the user by giving visual feedback and displaying changes more clearly.” For example, hovering over a hamburger-menu icon can trigger an expanded menu with different links a user can click. These small animations signal to a visitor the importance of an object on a page – denoting hierarchy, providing context for what action it triggers, and clarifying the purpose. Micro-animations also help keep attention through activity, giving visitors a sense of influence over their web experience.
In the spirit of minimalism, single page designs will be increasingly found across the web this year. Single page sites, or long-scroll pages, create a simpler experience for the user by eliminating clicks and navigation to other pages. These pages pack lots of content into a compelling form that keeps readers interacting with the page, eager to learn more as they scroll to the end. The best part of these easy-to-design pages? They’re quick to load and keep sites focused on the primary push in 2019 – the need for speed. Here’s an example of a single-page site HMG recently created for nonprofit Texas Disaster Fund.