2019 Web Design Trends

Working day in day out on website design can become stale very easily, so I try hard to keep on top of recent styles and trends that keep sites looking sharp for as long as possible. Although this is not a definitive list, here are the top #05 trends I’ve noticed becoming more frequent in the early part of 2019.

1 – ILLUSTRATION has always been popular in website design to easily explain complex concepts. Although in the past few years more structured infographics have been the style of choice, over the past 6 months more and more sites are emerging with a more traditional, less formal drawing style of illustration. Whether it be flat or 3D, the less structured and more relaxed visuals are on the rise. It may be the fact they look less serious, or it may be that it aids recognition for a lot of people with a scenario. Either way the more human element seems to be en fleek right now.

2 – Chatbots… DUMB CHATBOTS. The rise of the Chatbots is in full swing and has been since the beginning of 2018. Anyone who has a well kept site is feeling the need to add one. Although they can be a useful tool on the right site, there are many applications where it just won’t help. The benefit of a bot is to respond to a series of pre-determined words and questions. This helps users access popular information easily and shows an eagerness to please. The downside can be the cold pre-determined responses and the limitations of these. Frequently confused with actual customer support chat windows, the chatbot can appear to be a less than enthusiastic member of staff – often resulting in frustrating users. We tend to consider chatbots on a case by case basis, really focusing on whether it will help the user journey/experience or hinder it. So if your site doesn’t have one, it may not need one, but it’s good to understand this possibility.

3 – Hamburger menus on desktop sites. We LOVE these.These are the 3 lines which usually resemble a burger (typically visible on mobile sites). In short it cleans up the whole navigation area for focusing the user on the real important information. When I look at a website these days, I never see “contact us” or “about”, however they are usually there… and they should be for SEO purposes, but I don’t see them. The burger navigation lets you put the functional elements out of the way in a drop in / slide in or full screen navigation bar. This gives the designer more space to highlight the real focus areas of the site. Though still quite uncommon, it is sneaking into more and more mainstream sites – and why not? Apart from the traditionalists who say the nav should be in a line along the top, everyone else will benefit from the extra site real estate. Whether it’s used or not is not important, the mechanism helps promote cleaner lines and less mess, which can only help the user journey. So does your site have one? If not it may help to lift the whole design and encourage use. Enough said.

4 – Microinteractions. That’s a BIG word. Simply put, it’s the small things websites do based on your input. For example, if you hover over a button does it change colour? Recently these type of effects have become more common and elaborate in their execution. The jury is still out as to whether or not it takes emphasis away from key aspects or add’s value and depth by showing the detail of consideration. I think this is another case where every site is different… when dealing with lots of information these aspects can appear “gimmicky”, but not in every occasion. Its a “horses for courses” scenario that can make a website seem powerfully considered with the simple animated press of a button. Be it right or wrong for your site, its trending in 2019.

5 – Big typography, no REALLY BIG. Type is considered on all websites, but recently the type has been emerging as the main focal point on its own. Though popular in lots of niche design concepts, the size and orientation are being adjusted to make the wording the feature that traditionally would have demanded an image or at least an icon. This bold statement says plenty when it’s used to highlight a feature or service and creates a level of consideration which type usually doesn’t get. A great SEO benefit is that (when placed as text on the site as opposed to graphics) it is searchable and helps improve rankings. The concept of non symmetrical text elements being used as if they were symbols/images may drive some people mad, but it’s a style that seems here to stay.

There you have it, my design review of 2019 so far. Some trends I’m thrilled with others I’m unsure of: but worthy of note they have all been. It will be interesting to see how the year progresses and whether or not the chatbots take over while their colour changes with every pointer flick and mouse movement.  Thanks for reading. {ED}