Like a fine wine, the web industry continues to mature with each passing day, month and year. The next question inevitably becomes: what’s next? The year 2020 will bring with it new growth, new trends, and inevitable change. We’re seeing designers ceaselessly experiment with new techniques and reinvent current styles. Although techniques evolve, many styles, such as white space and minimalism, will remain for the foreseeable future but we’ll also see styles emerge and become futuristic. Here are 10 trends that await us this year!
1. Wide framed white space.
Full bleed layouts have been the go-to when designing for the web in recent years, but this trend is shifting to clean framing around web elements. By allowing more white space, visuals stand out more and give designs a clean canvas to shine. Wide frames also give priority to different sections of the website and create a sense of order. When elements fight for attention, none of them is getting enough. Surrounding the idea with empty space is a way to make the idea stand out.
2. Dark mode.
Despite the continuing trend of white space and minimalism, we are now seeing a new style emerging: dark mode. When designing for the web, UI designers will give users an option to enable dark mode on their browsers. Not only is dark mode modern, but like a clean white canvas, dark mode allows design elements to stand out. It also improves the visibility of accent colors through contrast ratio. It also reduces eye strain and can save power on OLED screens.
3. From 2D to 3D design.
Designers now have many options to include all our senses in user experience. Technology is now in a place where it's possible to design in 3D without heavy equipment. Interactive 3D design isn’t just fascinating for the eye, it draws users in and encourages them to stay longer. Before VR becomes mainstream and affordable, we expect to see more 3D elements taking up screens on websites.
4. Personalized, hand-drawn design.
After seeing users crave hand drawn design on the web in the past year, web-designers will add imperfections purposefully to websites to add emotion and personality. In 2020, we will see hand drawn icons that are unique and stylized, allowing designers to stand out from their competitors. This trend is leaving flat designs behind as it gives more humanity to web elements.
5. Growing importance on accessibility.
Accessibility is growing in importance on websites and apps. Ensuring that everyone has access to your website- regardless of their disabilities or abilities- is vital especially as compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a legal requirement. Soon enough, every website will have to meet all the ADA requirements therefore it is essential that every web professional on your team become familiar with how they can make your site accessible (check out these accessibility guidelines). Despite how helpful it can be to have guidelines and automatic software checks scanning your website, there are still many blind spots that can’t be checked by a plugin. We must always be cognizant that when we design for the web, our published content, videos and images are accessible to those who are impaired.
6. The up and coming visual developer.
With the development of low-code, comes the rise of the visual developer. They are masters of turning designs for the web into functional code. For example, they can automate tasks that used to take tedious hours of manual work, transforming static wireframes into functional web experiences and then translating user data into email campaigns, lead nurturing and eventually ROI for their company. As low-code becomes more mainstream, we may even start seeing job postings for “visual developers” showing up alongside web developers!
7. Soft gradients, shadows and layering.
A trend that is hopping on the less-is-more train is a subtlety and reduction in colors. In 2020 we should see even more dilution in colors that brings on a dreamy feel for the user. Additionally, soft shadows and layering elements add a 3D look to your website. Layering is also trending in the area of text and photos for even more extended depth. As I mentioned earlier, the layering effect is moving the design world away from flat designs.
8. Retro-style art and cyberpunk color schemes.
In addition to the soft gradients, we will see futuristic color schemes giving users a surreal experience. Hot pink, neons, blues and purples will be used against dark backgrounds to make otherwise dark websites more friendly. Additionally, we will see street art making a comeback, giving us a futuristic feel as it pushes the boundaries and elicits feelings of freedom.
9. Thin geometric lines.
In 2020, we will see web designers merging geometric and curvy lines to achieve unique shapes. We will still be able to discern the shape however it will seem more ethereal and otherworldly. This trend speaks to the future in the special way as these shapes and abstract lines are impossible to create with new technology. It begs us to ask the question, “what awaits us in the future?”
We will see animations in logos, graphics and small user interactions. Animated, moving elements are believed to reach the user faster than written content and stay longer in their memory. In 2020, micro-interactions will make a big difference in which website stands out and which one doesn’t.
In 2020, we will see amazing color combinations, retro-style art and designers pushing the line with doodles and adding their own personality into graphic elements. Without a doubt, it will be an amazing year for reaching new heights and defining the era.
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