11 Web Design Trends That Will Dominate the Digital World
Many people think that trends in digital marketing come and go too soon. So, why bother keeping up? Monitoring trends in the digital world is imperative for creating immersive user experiences. When it comes to web design, building a functional and attractive website is an all-time classic winning strategy. But succeeding in it is no excuse for being left behind and not following evolving web design trends that will help your business conquer the target market.
Web design is a field fuelled by innovation and creativity. So, rising trends can spark every designer’s inspiration to create digital products that are relevant and engaging for current audiences. During 2022, there was a shift toward interactive 3D elements, minimalism, or behavioural design.
Most of these design trends have established their presence and are expected to stay relevant in 2023. But if we have to talk about an overall direction about how 2023 is shaping in terms of design trends, it would have to be user immersion and engagement. Creating such an experience for visitors forms the future of every design facet.
Whether you are experimenting with how to design an engaging “About Us” section on your website or how to create a landing page for an upcoming seminar, you should never ignore essential web design standards. This is where current design trends come into play to help you create compelling web pages that perform well. This guide will discuss emerging design trends and how to stay on top of everything – including your competitors.
1 – Personalised Experiences
Personalisation is here to stay regardless of the ever-evolving audience’s needs and preferences. Going into 2023, users demand online experiences tailored to their interests. We are straying away from generic content that doesn’t respond to criteria such as browsing history, behavioural data, location, past interactions, or even permanent and circumstantial limitations. But more on the last one later.
Check out the experience Google brings to you. The results Google displays on search intent for nearby coffee shops differ from those shown to a visitor from another city. Or, if in the past you searched for a branded coffee shop, it appears high in search results. Users appreciate this customised experience and the brands that care enough to offer them.
Users respond better to web pages that personalise their experience. You have various resources to create them, from behavioural data to geographic information. Especially for eCommerce sites, customisation elements like product recommendations or abandoned cart contents are crucial to driving conversions and turning one-time visitors into returning customers.
2 – Nostalgia Aesthetics
For the past year or so, the 90s and early 00s aesthetics have become increasingly popular in almost every aspect of our daily lives. From art to advertising, nostalgia aesthetics are all around us, responding to the collective desire to return to those innocent years of the early internet. Naturally, designers are far from immune to this trend and have incorporated nostalgia elements into their creative process.
But don’t think that just because the 90s and early 00s are back in style, this translates into crude or old-fashioned digital products. It’s about reimagining the era and creatively interpreting the nostalgia it causes. To do that, designers need to balance nostalgia and modern components for everything to feel natural and well-placed. Here are some of the elements to incorporate into your design and offer visitors this old-school feeling:
- Pixelated fonts and desktop icons
- Raw materials
- Bright menu colour blocks
- Flashy cursors
- Vintage-style typography
- Vibrant colour patterns
When incorporating such elements into your designs, you should ensure that it matches your overall objectives and that you don’t overdo them. Adding one or two of these components and integrating them with modern and dynamic effects is enough for your creations to call back to that era without being over the top.
And if you think you only reach specific audiences – like Millennials – with this approach, you couldn’t be more wrong. This trend is prevalent among younger audiences curious about the good old times and a world they weren’t a part of. Applying nostalgia to your designs is a bulletproof way to make relatable web pages and create the warm feeling of coming home.
3 – Interactive Elements
Interactivity has been around for quite some time now. Still, it has yet to become out of fashion. Interactive design elements won’t just attract visitors but also showcase the value of your website. Visitors have grown weary of boring web pages that need to catch their attention when they land on them. Your target audience expects interactive web experiences with engaging content they can enjoy. After all, who doesn’t love on-page experiences that feel like an adventure?
Besides your target audience, it’s also what Google expects you to do. Interactive design components like tooltips, videos, progress bars, or 3D animations create an intuitive interface and lead to increased engagement. Some other examples of interactive features include:
- Polls, surveys, or quizzes
- Hover effects
With such interactive components, visitors spend more time on web pages, clicking and scrolling through your content. And the more time they spend on your website, the higher it ranks in search engine results. Seeing that interactive components increase the time spent on your site, it makes sense that it reduces your bounce rates too.
4 – Inclusivity Is Much More Than a Trend
The pandemic brought a sudden shift toward accessibility and inclusivity in digital products. Digital became the new norm on how to access business and leisure. So, brands couldn’t help but ensure that the online experience they create is equal for everyone.
Inclusive web design considers the specific needs of visitors who experience exclusion. This doesn’t just mean individuals with permanent disabilities but extends to people facing language or demographic barriers, technical constraints like slow internet speeds, temporary disabilities like an injured arm, or situational limitations like commuting. Inclusivity in web design is about addressing any limitation while making all users feel appreciated. So, how can you do that?
Regardless of the web design trends, accessibility is spread among every aspect of daily and business life and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Here are some of the best practices you can follow as a designer to favour every user and make fully accessible designs:
- Use alternative text for images so that screen readers can accurately describe your pictures to people with visual disabilities.
- Optimise for keyboard navigation since keyboards are the only tools people with motor or visual disabilities can access and navigate through web pages.
- Keep a clear and user-friendly layout for visitors to detect the most relevant and helpful information without facing complicated navigation and information overload.
- Include voice-assistant technology to benefit individuals with different limitations, such as vision or speech-impaired populations or non-native users
- Colour psychology is an integral part of web design. So, consider people with colour blindness or low vision and multicultural audiences that may perceive colours differently.
5 – 3D Elements Are Back
Until quite recently, flat illustrations were a dominant web design trend. In 2023, 3D design elements will gain popularity. But rather than discussing 3D illustrations from years back, it’s more about including dimensional illustrations and building completely immersive websites. What does that mean? Bringing visitors to your website with interactive elements, multi-layered illustrations, and dynamic effects. You can even go as far as integrating video or audio components.
3D technology has advanced enough to allow designers to create complex designs on a large scale. Various 3D design tools like Blender turn the process into a walk in the park. As a result, all users notice more 3D components on websites, helping them reimagine the physical world.
And that’s the main reason behind the increased popularity of 3D design. When you design websites with immersive 3D worlds, visitors get a chance to escape their daily routines, entering unrealistic and exciting sceneries. 3D elements help them reimagine the real world, creating a powerful impact they will remember after browsing your site.
6 – Image Hover Effects
To talk about user engagement, we must include using the hover effect in your images. Image hover effects are the effects you apply to images on your website, and users activate them when hovering their mouse over them. This animation feature is limited to computer users, so regarding responsive web design, you must keep that in mind.
You can use image hover effects differently, from adding or fading colours to including informative text. And since we already talked about accessibility, adding hover-triggered helper text over images eliminates obstacles for users and boosts their confidence.
Why is that? Well, you frequently use images that are easy to interpret since they are commonplace, and most internet users know what purpose they serve. But users from diverse backgrounds could interpret less common images differently, so you need to optimise their experience by including corresponding informative texts.
Besides, image hover effects trigger movement, drawing attention to the image and the corresponding text. It’s also a surefire way to increase eCommerce conversions and improve prospective customers’ browsing experience. For instance, hover effects draw attention to various products. Visitors can check them out by enlarging or zooming in without leaving the page they are currently viewing. Therefore, you increase the chances of them crossing the purchase finish line.
7 – Make it Light and Quick
If there is one thing everyone involved in digital marketing knows, visitors hate waiting for sites to load. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, most visitors will abandon it and probably never return. Users nowadays tend to access your website on mobile devices or use slow connections. For all those reasons, fast website load time is a crucial web design prerequisite. Because what good will creating an attractive website do if most users never visit it in the first place?
Quick loading time is much more than a web design trend – it’s a top priority for any business that wants to perform excellent search engine optimisation. Also, it is a crucial metric for monitoring if you provide users with a memorable experience. Lightweight and quick websites go hand in hand with giving visitors what they need and helping them enjoy themselves while browsing your site.
In the past, designers cut off graphic components to increase loading speed. Though that’s not an absolute necessity anymore, there is still the need to keep track of how heavy the files on your web pages are to avoid giving visitors a hard time accessing them.
8 – Social Proof Is a Must
Building trust is of utmost importance for brands in a faceless digital world where everyone is hidden behind a screen. Potential customers demand credible and trustworthy brands that deliver their promises and offer meaningful and outstanding online experiences. And there is no better way to prove your brand is among those businesses than social proof.
Your unique selling proposition may address their pain points, but let’s face it, they won’t take your word for it. Website visitors are likelier to interact with a brand they know and trust. Even better, when they see other customers trusting in it and reading about their success stories, it removes potential doubts and urges them to take action on your website.
That’s the reason why all the more companies invest in introducing social proof signs on their sites. Think of your website as your first touchpoint with potential customers. It’s easy to understand that this should also be your starting point for building trust.
One of the most effective ways to display social proof elements is to create a review section on your home page – or even build a dedicated page – and fill it up with customer reviews and testimonials. Especially if they are in the form of testimonial videos, you have better chances of hitting most visitors’ soft spot for visual content.
To create this web page or section, many designers think they must cut off their creativity. That’s far from true, however. Social proof signs don’t have to be plain or boring. You can turn them into compelling features by adding dynamic effects or animations to the areas dedicated to customer testimonials and feedback. That way, not only do you build trust, but you catch their attention and make them spend more time on your site.
9 – Reinventing the 404-Page
In turbulent times, taking a positive way out is inherent in human nature. The same goes for marketers and business owners that want to offer their prospective customers a good laugh or at least put a smile on their faces. What does that have to do with the terrifying scenario of your website displaying a 404 page? Well, it might not right all wrongs in the world, but it can easily convert a crucial error into a fun and unexpected experience for visitors.
Therefore, you must perceive your 404-page design as a blessing in disguise. Think of it as your chance to show your brand’s authenticity and turn an undesirable destination on your website into an amusing moment. Creating humorous 404 error pages with a fun twist is familiar to designers since they are accustomed to adding entertaining graphic elements or fun copy. But in 2023, this web design trend will reach its full potential and become a must-have for website development.
This year’s 404-page design will go all the way to give users entertaining and joyous moments. A great design could make users forget about the frustration of an error page and direct them to a helpful web page on your site. As a designer, you must include engaging animations, product displays, or other interactive elements to ensure visitors stick around – or, even better, are redirected to a specific action you want them to take. After all, you need all the visibility you can get, right?
10 – Dark Mode On
Dark mode in web design serves several purposes, the main one being building a darker interface for visitors to minimise frustration. Websites built with dark mode and minimalistic approach appear less saturated and let users focus on the immediate action they need to take on your website.
From a practical perspective, dark mode reduces eye strain and offers a more soothing experience. Let’s remember that most internet users are afraid of spending too much time on their screens and the effects that this habit might have on their health. But let’s move into what’s in it for you and your business. Using dark mode on your site goes hand in hand with modern aesthetics. Apart from that, it increases user engagement and turns the user’s focus on the elements that interest them the most.
That being said, there are certain things that you need to consider while implementing dark mode in your design. There must be enough contrast to make every website element visible and usable. Remember that there is no point in building a visually appealing and modern website if it’s not functional and accessible to every visitor. Also, text can be harder to read on darker UI, so make sure your interface isn’t destined for heavy reading.
11 – Invest in SEO Optimised Content
Whether you own an online store or want to get your blog noticed, you should always consider search engine optimisation. It will get your website closer to ranking higher in search engine results, thus increasing its visibility. And while many guides highlight the rising trend of AI-generated content or adjusting your website content to enhance its ranking in search results, let us reassure you that it takes more than that.
Google and other search engines have shifted toward people-first content, offering visitors valuable and relevant content that addresses their needs and interests. Including original and informative content on your website will interest search engines the most in the upcoming years.
To succeed in it, you first must deeply understand your audience’s challenges and opt for unique content ideas based on user intent. That way, you offer visitors precisely what they have been searching for and help your brand stay top of mind by making search intent as easy as can be. And always bear in mind that the longer visitors stick around, the more Google rewards your website.
We might not be able to foresee the future of marketing. Still, we are sure that 2023 will be the year that user engagement will be a top priority for most digital marketing professionals. Designers will focus on delivering accessible and user-friendly websites that visitors can engage with in a meaningful way. Users are looking for credible brands that offer authentic and valuable online experiences that address their daily pain points.
In 2023, the web design trends shared above will help you create memorable user interactions and build long-lasting relationships. However, as with everything in life, blindly following trends won’t get you anywhere. So, remember to analyse your user personas to understand what best resonates with them. Then, you will know which trends they will respond better to and take it one step at a time when implementing them.
Author Bio: Maria Fintanidou works as a Content Writer for email marketing automation software Moosend, creating the Help Articles (FAQs) and overseeing the platform’s translations in Greek and Spanish. She loves exploring new cultures and ways of thinking through travelling, reading, and language learning.