Web Design Trends

Businesses working to establish and expand their digital identity and brand see increased competition for consumer attention online. For those who are not web designers, it is virtually impossible to stay current on all the technological advances, trends, and new options emerging almost every day. Here are the most up and coming website design trends to keep your website user-friendly on any device:

Decorative and Responsive Website Design

Responsive design has completely transformed how we browse and build for the web in today’s fast-paced society. Without a responsive website design, users won’t hesitate to look elsewhere for content, answers, products, or viewing experience.  So, in an industry that’s all about rapid development, a massive commitment into keeping up with the trends just isn’t enough. Hence, a new wave of design tools that lessen the amount of repeated work web designers have to do when building layouts. In short, a responsive website is one that is designed so that it is functional and consistent when viewed on any device.


As responsiveness leads to flexibility among devices, creating navigation buttons that are versatile, content that reformats and images that resize, giving an optimization to the content presented. There are many content management systems that allow you to add content and the flexibility is already provided.  You might confuse the responsive design method and mobile optimized content. Mobile-optimized content often requires a strategy in order to balance what your mobile viewers want to see. Consider optimizing your mobile content for a particular device, location or mobile behavior of the consumer, and align directly with your responsive marketing strategy. 

Flat vs Material Design (Realism) – Skeuomorphism

Two similar design styles, but what are the differences? Is one better than another? The answer lies in the amount of skeuomorphism present in each one. Skeuomorphism is design that’s meant to imitate the physical world. Usually, this takes the form of online tools being made to look like their real world variants (like synthesizer programs made to look like keyboards).

Flat design is design stripped down to the basics. Appearance is secondary in flat design: its focus is on raw functionality. It removes any stylistic choices that give it the illusion of three-dimensionality (such as drop shadows, gradients, and textures) and focuses purely on the interplay of icons, typography, and color. The simplicity of its iconography can even remove the need for some of a website’s copy as viewers are intuitively guided through the process of using it based by the colors and pictures alone. In addition, it speeds up load times and looks just as good on high or low resolution screens, resulting in a more reliable user experience. As such, it makes things much easier on both designers and users. However, this design is a distinctively mid-2010s aesthetic, and it’ll date your site if you don’t plan on redesigning it anytime soon.

Material design really isn’t that big a departure from flat design: both use the same clean and minimal aesthetic. Material design is a set of design standards developed by Google, and perhaps the most defining feature is its use of the Z-axis. Basically, it adds a little skeuomorphism back into flat design, creating the impression of two-dimensional planes floating over each other at different elevations. Material design is intended to be universally adaptable, responsive to screens of all sizes and shapes.

Add More and Brighter Design Color

Colors are part of the visual identity of brands; so as movements like minimalism and brutalism came in to play in 2016, designers adjusted and used a variety of colors. It’s not just about bright, enthusiastic color though, gradients are also coming back in a big way; blurring and blending colors into visuals like a bright blue sky or evening sunset. As the spectra widened, it got less popular to create websites made up of solid color, in favor of using gradations of gray, textures, and patterns. Apply color concepts not only to background presence, but also text, images, and buttons, on the page.

As a website is an extension of a brands marketing potential, the use of contrasting color can create attention gathering content, focus the viewer on a specific page action item, or influence your target audience in email or mobile marketing.

Eyestrain in mobile users is becoming more common, utilizing color in your planning and design approach can work to utilize contrast to reduce eyestrain and move the users attention to the focus of the page. 

Parallax Scrolling and Interactivity

Parallax scrolling is a technique where background images move slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth and adding to the immersion of a user. This creates an interactive focus of content and image presentation. However, moving different parts of a website page at different speeds (parallax scrolling) is not a new concept, almost all websites have some sort of parallax scrolling. An example of how this is gaining momentum as a new trend is how web designers are using it innovatively by applying it to interactive storytelling and assessments, engaging users at a deeper level.

The phenomenon of parallax scrolling website design is growing in popularity across the internet, bringing the user experience to a new interactive level of online viewing. Longer sites tend to have a bigger advantage at using this scrolling technique.  With web designers and developers constantly exploring new ways to make their web presence more appealing to their sites’ visitors through engaging visuals and functionality, parallax scrolling has taken hold as the new frontier of user experience. Parallax design gives websites a great opportunity to:

·         Wow viewers with page depth and animation

·         Take a story-telling approach to guide visitors through the site

·         Make page visits last longer by encouraging visitors to scroll through the entire page

·         Provoke curiosity

·         Direct visitors to calls to action

·         Re-enforce website credibility with innovative interactive viewing

More Focus on Animation

Animation plays a key role in digital interfaces, and there’s no sigh that it will decrease now. As designers get more tools to help them build engaging animations, the more important it will become for animations to help businesses brand their voice and reinforce the tone content creators are aiming for. This helps ensure that animations perform meaningful, on-brand functions for users.

Big, Bold Type

Larger Letter Sizes in Paragraphs

The web design and social media worlds have finally come to agreement that our focus should be on content. As you may have noticed, big and bold doesn’t necessarily refer to the weight of the font anymore. Rather, it’s about dedicating significant screen space to a single, simple yet all-encompassing statement about the product or service. In a world that’s fast-paced overloaded with information, these concise and powerful statements will become the fundamental practices for all companies.

Screen space is an important discussion in the SEO versus design conversation. Websites and mobile apps both frequently cram options into too-small parts of the screen, making items harder to understand. Even on a big desktop monitor, space is at a premium and should be utilized. Mobile screens are so small that it’s a sin to waste space.

Bigger is better in this case. Mobile devices and tablets are inherently small, so designers must optimize the use of screen space and show things as large as possible. There are very few exceptions to this rule. One example is found on sites that insist on opening new windows and maximizing; for example, it’s frustrating to find a blog post that takes up thousands of pixels and obscures other windows the user is working with.

So, designers need to stop cramming large amounts of information into tiny screen spaces. Optimizing the UI for the available screen space is a key strategy for improving usability and consumer satisfaction.

Rich Typography

A lot is going on in typography and how it is- and can be- used in websites .Like page layouts, we are always learning about effective fonts and how to use them in new ways. Texts are becoming animated, broken down into a variety of effects.

One of the latest trends is to blend fonts that work well together in a single page, such as Century Gothic and Calibri (the font used for this article). This works with both different (but compatible) fonts as well as font sizes. Until recently, the internet was monopolized by simple neo-grotesque styles, such as Helvetica. Considered more “decorative,” neo-grotesque fonts were most commonly used for headlines, while simpler styles were used in paragraphs. Serif typefaces, like Times New Roman, were not used very often.

More Design and Content

A Focus on Content Delivery and Personalization

Almost every organization’s goal is to deliver customized content to visitors based on a set of criteria; and it is because of this that design has slowly shifted from a late-in-the-process “optimization” stage to a means of delivering personalized content to the right person at the right time. Essentially, the current goal is to post content based on:

·         Demographics: Who the visitor is (professionally and/or personally) and where they are coming from?

·         Behavior: What is the visitor doing on the site now? What have they done in the past?

·         Context: What device and browser is the visitor using? How did they arrive at the site? Are they logged in?

Web design now revolves around the user. Deliver the right content to the right user and at the right time. Web hosting is inexpensive and most companies are satisfied by simply purchasing a hosting plan and forgetting about that part of consumer interaction. However, when your website grows and starts, consider getting a content delivery network (CDN) service.

Thanks to beacons and machine learning algorithms, we now have enough data to create detailed buyer personas – and designers, in their turn, can leverage the data for micro interactions and timely content delivery.

More Focus on Conversation

Last year, a large number of design teams created blogs as a way to humanize their brand or company, using this type of content to focus mainly on recruitment and/or click bait. This year, we are going to see a lot more bots popping up; this time using the concept of conversation as an interface. This idea is going to shape a lot of design work:

·         Increased capacities for writers and content strategists to act as designers and bot developers

·         More investment in “user-generated content” such as groups and forums

·         More conversational/natural-language in content

The purpose of the website is to reach out to your users, turn your visitors into your customers. Which is why companies now try to make the effort to better communication with site visitors through bots. Making conversation with the visitor or customer will make more integration with the brand you are trying to promote. You can perform this by emails, contact form, comment, live chat or bots. Similarly, experts are taking massive research to make the bot conversation more attractive and user-friendly. Businesses have to spend more focus on the conversation to become more connected with consumers.

DWS Recommendations

With the aim of saving time in day-to-day workflow, these web trends clearly show a real effort to make the process of building a website much easier. Not all of these trends may be useful for your business, but it’s always beneficial to know what’s happening or current within the industry. Current trends offer a lot of exciting prospects, these are just some of the website design trends that users can expect to be prevalent. By keeping user needs in mind with the specific messages that will resonate with your company’s target audience, you can choose the right methods for action and conversion within your business for the best success.

Setting up for powerful results doesn’t just begin with design.  Be sure to have ample ways to track, measure success, and create metrics within design choices in order to implement change when necessary.  Strategic improvements to businesses are made with the correct metric alignment. Create a data collection method for collecting information about your system and performance, and how your business measures this type of outcome. Key metrics for your business might be engagement, calls, products sold, purchases, or page views.  These are the design metrics that can propel your business forward. Read more about analytics, assessments, analysis and conversions in future blogs.

For now, read more about web design trends at the Nielsen Norman Group, HubSpot, and Webflow.com


Divergent Web Solutions creates high-quality websites and is a full service web presence company to support small businesses, creating space and focus on their design, marketing, social and/or development platforms where they do not have to pay the price of hiring a custom developer. Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll develop a customized quote tailored just for your unique needs and budget at info@divergentwebsolutions.com

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