Website Design Trends

By in Web Design & Usability,

After building thousands of websites, Webolutions’ 27+ years of custom web design and development allows us to identify cutting-edge trends that will take your organization’s website to the next level.

Website Design and Development Trends

1. AI (Artificial Intelligence): AI is analyzing user behavior. It’s always a good rule to have “human employees” check what AI is telling you to see if it’s the right data and extrapolate the larger story from the data that integrates your entire marketing strategy.

2. Flexible Design Elements: Today’s websites are designed with fewer static elements and more dynamic design elements. Segmenting based on individual audiences is another trend on the rise. By segmenting content based on audience, you will create a better experience for your audience, which will result in more subscriptions, leads and engagement.

3. Motion: Video has been important for awhile now and will continue to be in 2020 and beyond. This includes animation, motion graphics, and 3D rendering. This dynamic content is different than rotating header images which continue their downward trend thanks to increased mobile usage — in fact, mobile traffic accounts for 50%-80% of total web traffic. To improve the use of motion on your website, we recommend 1-2 parallax windows, a popular design element where background images move more slowly than foreground images to an illusion of depth, on your home page.

4. UX (User Experience): People will decide whether to like your website in 0.05 seconds, and 60% will continue to interact with your website based on color alone. To make an impact with your audience, be sure to post compelling images and content that convey transformation and adhere to your brand standards. Need help crafting your brand strategy? Contact Webolutions today!

5. Integrations: Third-party integrations such as a contact relationship system and e-commerce platform will continue to grow as the barriers to integration drop, which means more plugins for you and your website. When installing integrations on your website, be sure to check with IT department to make sure that these plugins are documented within your website scope.

6. Predictive Analytics: The ability to track searching trends and the intent behind them, combined with programs that identify website visitors on a more granular level make it easier than ever to know who your target audience REALLY is, and what exactly they’re looking for so you can provide it. Be sure to see this increasingly popular digital marketing trend in the next two to three years.

7. ADA Compliance: More than 14% of website visitors are classified as being protected by the American Disability Act. And since websites are listed as a public entity, it’s the law that all public utilities must be accessible to everyone, regardless of limitation. Every time you add a piece of content, it must comply with the American Disabilities Act. Accessibility is a conversation that you will see continue to grow and inch toward center stage.

8. More Responsive Web Design: Responsive websites made a monster splash in 2012. What started out as a seemingly simple idea revered only by nerds has quickly grown to a methodology used by giants such as Google, Microsoft, Disney, and TIME. And why would the momentum stop? Mobile and tablet use is increasing a percent or two by the month and while responsive web design has made great strides to effectively target these users in 2012, the concept is still in it’s infancy. In 2013, look for a greater amount of planning to be done earlier in the process rather than building a desktop site and merely making it responsive. As Luke Wroblewski writes in his acclaimed book titled “Mobile First,” the idea of designing for the desktop first is quickly becoming obsolete. Instead, designing with mobile in mind first can lead to cleaner content and a better overall user experience.

9. Flat Design Over Gradients, Drop Shadows, and Leather-Look Textures: Skeuomorphism design took a brutal punch to the gut toward the end of 2012. With minimalist thinker Jony Ive taking the lead on all user interface design at Apple in November, skeuomorphism has already been phased out of several of Apple’s user interfaces. And on the other side of the fence, Microsoft abandoned Aero Glass, it’s glossy and semi-transparent design style that dates back to Windows Vista. Both megacompanies have shifted to a flatter design style, an emerging trend in the industry. No more leather-look textures (with the obligatory stitching). No glossy gradients or drop shadows. Instead, look for solid blocks of color, more white space, deliberate typography, and an overall back-to-basics approach to design. For an example of flat web design, check out Microsoft’s beautiful new website (also responsive) or Rdio’s website. Google is also onboard, both with their suite of apps and their Android interface.

10. Huge Buttons, Type, and Other Elements: One thing responsive web design has taught us is that there’s a lot more tapping and swiping happening on websites nowadays. And because of the touch interfaces found on mobile devices, it should come as no surprise that an upcoming trend for 2013 is for user interface design to be as finger-friendly as possible. Initially, big buttons were used for beautification, but in 2013 they’ll become a necessity. And it doesn’t stop there. Rather than pinch zoom to read the tiny 12px type that was for so long the standard in web design, designers are opting for larger type. 16px body font size and 48px wide buttons are the new black in 2013.

11. Better Typography: The year 2012 saw a rapid rise of web font services. Adobe purchased Typekit, The Font Bureau released Webtype, and Hoefler & Frere-Jones announced a web font service of their own. Overall, the design industry is on the verge of a typographical renaissance as more designers use these services in their repertoire. Furthermore, clever use of CSS and JavaScript are allowing us to mimic a range of typesetting techniques, including letterpress. In 2013, look for less Arial and Georgia and more Avenir and Bodoni.

12. Continued Popularity of Vertical Scrolling and Fixed Navigation: One of the applauded trends of 2012 was the beginning of the end to the above-the-fold myth. Numerous studies, along with the advent of one-page websites and parallax scrolling have helped people see past this myth and recognize that users actually expect to scroll a website. A natural step forward for this web design and usability trend in 2013 is the popularity of a fixed navigation. As users continue to scroll, drag, and swipe, it’s incredibly useful to have the navigation fixed to the page and easily accessibly regardless of their position on the page. According to a study done by Smashing Magazine, fixed navigation increases user interaction by 22%. This is especially useful on mobile too–at Webolutions we’ve actually adopted a fixed navigation solution on many of our mobile websites. For an excellent example of this, check out Mashable or any of Nike’s microsites.


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Webolutions has been providing custom website design, web development, and digital marketing services since 1994. For 18 consecutive years, we have been selected as Denver's largest web developer by the Denver Business Journal.

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