What’s the Focus for Web Design in 2019?

WHAT’S THE FOCUS FOR WEB DESIGN IN 2019?

2019 will be all about delivering on user experience.

Prioritising speed and mobile design, eye-catching simple designs with asymmetrical layouts, immersive video backgrounds, and more will be important for website design in 2019.

 

Mobile First

Mobile First

It was back in 2015 when mobile searches overtook desktop, putting mobile search firmly at the top, worldwide. Accordingly, Google has updated its prioritisation on which sites they index first — mobile sites come before anything else. A key fact.

With mobile sites being prioritised above desktop, it’s clear why mobile first has become the way forward. Mobile first web design is about changing the way the websites are fundamentally constructed; the whole user experience from start to finish. The process used to design for desktop and a mobile responsive design would be developed to compliment this.

Mobile first design is the opposite of how we used to do things. It’s about planning the experience and journey and designing the site for mobile users first. Then creating a version that will also work for a desktop user.

The demand and drive towards mobile first design isn’t simply based on ranking factors or SEO. The visual result is something that will first and foremost enhance the user’s experience.  This will be designed for the website on the device that they will most likely be searching from. This design trend is meeting the demand that mobile users want and will be the trend for some time to come.

Speed

Web Design Page Speed

How much time do you think you get to make a good impression with a potential customer? You have less than three seconds

People today tend to be flighty and impatient. We don’t like to be kept waiting. A number of studies have shown 50% of users expect that when they click on a site it should load in 2 seconds or less. Users will abandon a site if it takes three or more seconds to load.

As we know only too well by experience, a beautiful site is a beautiful site. However, if the design/build is so data-heavy that it takes an age to download, you’ll be wasting acquisition investment.  With Google’s Speed Update kicking-off in July 2018, Google has begun prioritising rankings for sites that load faster than others, and other search engines are due to follow.

What all of this means is speed needs to be a key part of the UX/Environment design process. Web designers can no longer depend on developers changing their designs into something that will both look good and rank well.  Speed needs to be a first design principle

Massive images, uncompressed videos, and overweight Javascript are over. While large, gorgeous images and videos aren’t gone from web design, in 2019 they’ll be incorporated in such a way that they don’t slow down loading times.  Particularly as the focus for everyone is mobile.

 

Flat Design

Fitbit Flat Page Design

Over the last 2 years, the trend has been to create clean and simple websites for better mobile performance. The number of mobile searches has massively escalated, and mobile-first design for websites is now a necessity. It is not just an option. Image-heavy websites load slowly and frustrate mobile users.

Fresh, clean or flat designs are characterised by quick load-times.  They will be de rigueur and key for two vital reasons.

  1. Both mobile users and desktop browsers can experience quick-loading websites
  2. They can have higher SEO rankings. Flat and clean site designs help deliver on a lot of the speed requirements search engines are starting to demand for their users. This is why we believe it will be a key trend for 2019.

 

Not one dimensional

It’s not simply a case of a boring one-dimensional environment.  Flat designs are about simplicity and usability for the user. It’s about aesthetics that remove clutter and confusion, focussing on the vital elements. Clean, crisp edges, lots of open space and bright colours.  Flat designs can provide the user with a refreshing change from distracting, often confusing and slow-loading hi-res image-based designs. The culmination of all flat design parts combine to provide great user experience that is eye-catching and engaging.

Also, flat design doesn’t put the emphasis on images to lead.  There’s less extra data to load which means 2 great things for website owners:

  1. No matter if users and customers are browsing on mobile or otherwise, they’ll have an easy, enjoyable, quick-loading experience on the website.
  2. Quick-loading and data-light designs like these can massively improve page speed and optimisation — something that’s very desirable for Google, Bing, and other search engines. Faster load times mean improved rankings.  Engaging flat designs mean users have increased dwell times and are more likely to convert.

 

Asymmetrical Layouts & Broken Grids

Asymmetrical Web Design

2019 will be about web design innovation with a very keen eye on mobile first modelling. It’s going to be about thinking outside the box, or rather, the conventional grid. Broken grid and asymmetrical designs are driving a new approach, innovating user environments and creating memorable web moments. This is in contrast with the flat, minimalist designs. This does not necessarily exclude one from the other.

Design Rules

We’re talking about the design rules that have been used for decades – the grid system. From web pages to newspapers to print and outdoor ads. Grid systems aid designers in maintaining alignment and design consistency easily when they are adding content — images, headlines, copy, calls-to-action — to whatever medium they are working in, maintaining the structure of the grid in the underlying layout while generally maintaining symmetry as well.

Growing Popularity

Broken and asymmetric grids have been and will continue to gain more popularity, in order for brand and user experience differentiation.  Alternative placements and layouts, layering different colours, images and textures, and creative use of typography create a sense of depth not normally found in grid-based layouts.

These environments can create a strikingly different design and memorable moment, while helping to engage users and direct them to the most important parts of the website but not simply by convention. Creative use of visual hierarchies helps direct the user’s attention in a new, engaging manner toward the content or the CTAs that users want to find.

 

Geometry & Shapes

Geometry in Web Design

Somewhere between the minimalism of flat design and the considered chaos of broken grids exists geometric shapes. Simple, geometric or other coloured shapes can create interesting environments, loading quickly while being visually engaging. Shapes with photography, video and type can result in the dynamism and depth present in broken grid or asymmetrical layouts. This flexibility and versatility are why shapes will become a trend in 2019.

Often, geometric shapes easily fit into or next to one another easily, establishing organisation or hierarchy quickly, creating a feeling of balance on a website, even when the visuals might contain asymmetry.

Natural Associations

People naturally associate different thoughts and emotions with different shapes, just like colours. Circles create a sense of unity, triangles and rhombuses are dynamic, while rectangles represent stability. Creative use of particular shapes or combinations of shapes can be used to mould the emotions or feelings that you’d like your website visitors to feel.

They can be used dramatically or sparingly — it simply depends upon your brand aesthetic. Shapes easily help you establish visual hierarchy and draw attention to parts of a page that you want your visitors to notice, even when your site has stepped away from a traditional grid design. That’s why we’ll continue to see geometric shapes in web design in 2019.

 

Single Page Design

Single Page Web Design

Speed and minimalism are consistent trends for 2019. Which is a key reason why single page design, also known as pageless design, has also become a 2019 web design trend.

Single page design is a very descriptive title — it refers to websites that have only one page instead of multiple service pages or blog articles all neatly arranged under a silo hierarchy.

From a traditional SEO digital marketing standpoint, this likely would seem to be a mistake — it’s going to be much harder to rank for particular keywords without the pages and the content that you would normally have, nor would it be easy to accomplish other advanced SEO techniques. Yes, while it can be harder to use particular SEO tactics on pageless design, that’s where the cons of it start to fall away.

Uncluttered and Simple Design

As with Speed and Flat Design, uncluttered, clean, simple websites are being favoured by search engines as they can quickly and easily be downloaded on mobile devices. Pageless design achieves that by having less of everything that can slow a website down.

The HTML, CSS, Javascript, and images aren’t slowing the site down with heavy data to be downloaded, making it a better experience for the user and giving priority in the search engines.

This is great for single page websites as they look good on every device and automatically fall into being a mobile-first-style site. Being so simple means that it’s more easily managed, too. Updates to the site are often quickly achieved since there are so few things to change or update, which means it’s easier for businesses to stay current with website.

Many businesses love pageless websites for more than just ease of use: they also tend to have high conversion rates. On a traditional hierarchical site, it’s all about grabbing a user with a keyword search, getting them to land on your site and then funnelling them towards a contact form, page, or phone number. With single page sites, there’s nowhere for the user to get distracted — every part of the page drives them toward a conversion point, getting them more leads and more business. A useful consideration.

While single page design may not become the future of web design, it will certainly continue to leave its mark through 2019.

 

Video Backgrounds

Video Backgrounds

Despite the minimalist, quick-loading, flat design trends, video backgrounds will continue to be incredibly popular as in 2019. You might think with speed being such a huge factor this year that videos would bog down a site too much. But, interestingly, video backgrounds have been shown to increase conversions. Done well they also make a limited impact on page load times.

Videos are simply more compelling than text or images ever will be. Fact! We live in a time where we want to consume living/moving images. We get drawn into video like nothing else.

This is something we’ve all become aware of across platforms like Facebook over the last couple of years.  Video posts are prioritised over other kinds of posts. It’s been made even easier to watch videos by auto-playing on mute while you scroll through your feed. That’s how important video has become!

Video increases engagement

When a user lands on your site and a video plays in the background, they’re likely to stick around to watch it because videos are attention-getting. The more that a user stays on your site, the more likely they are to convert. This, in turn, raises your time on site metric, and the higher your average time on site is, the better your SEO is.

The power of video literally can’t quite be stated in words. They convey your message quickly and effectively, something that it could take paragraphs of text to accomplish. The video does it in a matter of seconds. This is especially useful when you have a complex message to explain to your users in the short amount of time that you have their attention.

Finally, there’s just something sleek and modern about a video background on a website. As long as the video is short, is muted, and has a nice, high-quality look to it, a video background can do a lot for your branding.

 

Micro-Animations

A subtle but noticeable 2019 trend in web design is micro-animations. Micro-animations are a powerful way to provide an intuitive and satisfying experience to your user as they browse your website. This is achieved through small animations that help the user understand the site and validate them when they mouse over or click on an element.  This can include changing the colour of a button when the cursor moves over it, or a menu expanding when they click on the hamburger. None of this is rocket science but, it’s growing in popularity.

Expectations now there

Users expect these subtle elements during their onsite experiences.  So much so that it’s become more surprising to not experience them. These animations help the user know that they’re doing the right actions as they progress through a site. Did you press the submit button on the form? It changed colour when you clicked it. How do you quickly refresh the page? Swiping down creates a pulling motion to let you know you triggered the refresh action properly.

Remember how moving objects like videos help with user retention and attention? Even though they’re small animations they help to catch the eye of the user.  They create an enriched experience for them as they navigate a site. In turn, proper use of micro-animations creates visual hierarchy on a webpage. It drives visitors toward your conversion points and then rewards them for filling them out.

Rewarding users

It might seem too simplistic to think that a micro-animation can “reward” a user for clicking submit on a form.  But think of that tiresome Captcha that so many forms use. If you’re lucky, all you have to do is click the checkbox, but if you have to go through the process of selecting pictures or typing out a number and letter string sequence, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching the circle swirl into a checkmark. As 2019 approaches, micro-animations are here to stay in the web design industry.

 

Chatbots/Machine Learning

Chatbots

Interacting and communicating with bots has become more and more normal over the last few years. Bots, or chatbots, are becoming increasingly common on websites and micro-interactions across digital media.

Over the last few years bots have got smarter thanks to improved artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These are what help Google create autosuggestions when you start typing in the search bar.

Getting to know us better

This is also why Facebook knows us so well.  Facebook learns what we look like and asks if we want to tag ourselves in a photo. It also uses location data and has learned our reading habits.  So it knows exactly which ads and information to show in order to get us to hit a “like” button.

Chatbots and machine learning will continue to enhance user interactions with websites. Especially as auto-responder functionality inherent in most chatbots can seamlessly interact with users for you. They can provide an efficient customer service solution upfront. This kicks off your relationship with customers off on the right foot.  Also allowing you to gather all important data for sales and marketing teams.  Even before the team begins actually interacting with the prospect.

We think that in 2019, this technology will continue to be enhanced, improved and incorporated into websites. One day, very soon, web interactions will become seamless.  Technology will know exactly what your customer is looking for by simply past interactions with your company, (GDPR willing!)

It’s something not overlook as part of any web design consideration in 2019.

 

In Conclusion for Website Design in 2019

It’s about engaging minimalism or attention-grabbing visuals.

2019 feels like it could be the schizophrenic year for web design. On one side are the tempting visual delights of broken grid layouts and video backgrounds. On the other side are the beautiful but practical principles of flat design and single page layouts. Staying ahead of these trends will help keep your online brand and experience fresh. Allowing you to create stimulating, beautiful experiences, and driving all important user engagement and ultimately conversion.

If you’d like to find out more about how Mobylise can help you develop your website design in 2019 then get in touch today