We all know that a first impression sticks. Whether you like it or not, the first couple seconds when you meet someone matter—and your brand’s website is no different. The modern consumer already has expectations for how your site should look, feel and operate. As content marketers and digital designers, it’s our job to understand just how we can push web design to meet and surpass consumer needs.
A few months into 2022, we’ve taken a look at some of the top trends driving effective and engaging web experiences. Based on that research and our expertise, here are our top seven future web design trends to keep on your radar:
Trend #1: Smaller, Experience-Focused Websites
The mobile experience has redefined how consumers look at web content. App-based experiences are smaller, concise and focused on quality over quantity when it comes to content. Instead of saying everything to the consumer, you focus on saying the most important thing, in a way that relates to their needs.
There are some learnings that can be applied from this approach, and while we’re not saying you need to make your websites look like an app, we are saying that there’s value in pairing down your site structure. Make your site easy to use, and reduce the amount of structural clutter that gets in the way of a user getting to the main things they need.
Trend #2: Storytelling Through Design
“Narrative visualization” is the concept that our design can enhance the story and content we are trying to share. Web designers are creating interactive pages with long-scrolls or sliding images to better share the content’s story. This approach can not only be engaging, but help the user gather the key ideas quickly at their own pace.
Trend #3: Bring Back Nostalgia
Everyone knows how good it feels when you see something that reminds you of a familiar, past memory. Web designers are tapping into this love of nostalgia, using popular color combinations from the 70s, 80s and 90s or other similar throwback elements. While a younger generation might see a “retro” design, others will feel seen (and maybe have a flashback to their high school prom).
Trend #4: Increased Interactivity
Interactive elements draw in your user’s attention, and we’re going to see a lot more of that in the coming year. Parallaxing images, shifting fonts or creative scrolling experiences can all create moments of micro-interactions that leave an impression on the user. Don’t shy away from infusing a little “delight” into your experience design.
Trend #5: A Shift from Traditional Minimalist Design
Creativity is often impacted by the events of the world around us. Post-Covid, many industries are experiencing a shift in design from traditional minimalistic design to a variation of maximalism. This “more is more” mentality isn’t just impacting the web world. Lilly Berelovich, president and chief creative officer of Fashion Snoops, shared that her industry is shifting from, “emotional maximalism,’ which is different from the peacocking genre of maximalism we have seen in the past, focusing instead around fabrics that feel good on the skin, color that evokes happiness and silhouettes and exaggerated details that allow us to escape from reality.”
Consider how your web designs can move away from the mundane and bring delight to your users. Can a web page be an escape from reality, or a delight to read? Even websites in black and white can be infused with fun, optimistic design that meets the consumer’s emotions.
Trend #6: Inclusive Content and Experience Practices
Inclusivity in design and functionality is an important way for brands to show, not tell, that they care about digital equity. Things like inclusive content, gender-neutral designs or greater accessibility tools are all these practices that can support long-term success.
Trend #7: Customized Content
Our final trend comes at the crossroads of technology and design. Thanks to advances in CMS technology and web design, the most effective websites are getting better at showing the visitor exactly what they want to see. You can tap into your consumer’s needs and link them to the right content faster when you combine web data, third-party data and design.