Top 17 Web Design and UI Trends for 2019

New year, new time to think about web design trends.

The start of the year is a great time to look back on the previous year and your successes and look ahead to things that you want to improve and change.

And that goes for website design trends and techniques as well. Many elements that gained popularity in the later part of 2018 will continue to emerge as trends in 2019. These trending elements include everything to color choices, typography and text usage, voice and VR interfaces and everything UX.

There are so many great things happening in web design right now that it was tough to break it down, but we hope you’ll enjoy our look at the top 17 web design and UI trends for 2019.

The look, feel and user experience of your website is no different.

Vibrant Color Palettes

Top 17 Web Design and UI Trends for 2019
Web Design Trends 2019
Web Design Trends

Bright color is everywhere. From gradient backgrounds to bright image overlays to animations that feature moving colors, vibrant color palettes will continue to gain popularity.

Even Pantone is getting in on the action by naming a bright hue – Living Coral – as color of the year. Although a scan of current designs shows that bright blues, such as Spotify or Secure Invest (above), might be the most popular choice.

Many of these bright colors have evolved from other design trends. Brights first started gaining popularity with flat design, morphed into even more vibrant colors with Material Design, and now some of these hues even have a hint of neon in them.

The nice thing about this design trend is that color – once you have a palette – is pretty simple to deploy. You don’t have to completely redesign your website to add this trending element to the design.

Emotional Design

Emotional Design
Emotional Design Trend

You have to create a connection with users. That’s what emotional design is all about.

In 2019, websites and apps that don’t establish this emotional connection will get lost. According to Design Shack, emotional connections fall into four basic categories — joy and sadness, trust and disgust, fear and anger, and surprise and anticipation. Think about how your content falls into ones of these grouping and use color, imagery and the user interface to further connect on that level with users.

Every visual element in the design provides a cue to users about how they should react. The movement in the bike app, above, for example, shows motion; that makes the user want to ride along. The same is true of the example from Sprout – a smiling face creates a positive first interaction with users. The woman in the image is happy and users can feel and want to emulate that emotion.

Depth and Almost “Real” Design Elements

Depth and Almost “Real” Design Elements
Real Design Elements
3D Models

While virtual reality isn’t truly accessible to everyone yet, its influences are already evident.

More designers are adding more depth and design elements that have a more real or tactical feel to them to projects. This includes everything from illustrations (and even animated illustrations) with a more three-dimensional look to moving shapes or products that users can seemingly reach out and touch.

As more designers use these techniques, they will become more of the norm and much more expected parts of the user experience. They will also start to look more real and less “VR-ish.”

Purposeful Animation

Purposeful Animation
Animation

Web an apps designs are packed with animation. But it has to be there for a reason.

Animation draws users to certain parts of the design, helps drive engagement or interest or tells a story. Use animation in web projects to provide a great depth of understanding to users who engage with the design. (Click through both examples above to see this animation in action … and think about how it engages your senses.)

Surreal Design and Abstract Design

Absurd Design
Surreal Design and Abstract Design
Surreal design and abstract design
Absurd Illustration
Surreal Design Example
Surreal Design
Abstract Design

With the crazy world that we live in, more designers are creating projects that have more surreal and abstract elements in them. Surreal design and abstract design will continue to develop and grow as more users want these experiences that are almost, but not quite real.

The reason this design technique works goes back to the idea of emotional connection: Surreal design and abstract design provide a connection for users that they can relate to on their own terms. (Maybe because more surreal and abstract elements allow users to picture themselves inside the design?)

These projects are often exemplified by elements that have some animation, illustrated people or things and a somewhat playful or cartoonish nature that users want to be a part of. The goal of surreal and abstract design projects is to maintain a fresh style that keeps users engaged. (We think this trend works well and hope to see plenty of it in the coming year.)

Even More Voice

Voice UI
AI Voice UI

“Google, play my favorite song.”

In 2019, you will have to design for conversational interfaces. With a rising number of people using smart devices in their homes, you’ll need to start thinking about ways your designs interact with these devices and how to create user experiences that fit the way people want to use websites.

The big change for designers is understanding how users will interact with voice commands and then prototyping the voice interface with keywords and related actions.

And it makes all the content on your website that much more important. Voice interfaces are rooted in “reading” websites for information and data. So text content matters a great deal. (This is quite a shift from more visual thinking.)

Single Page Design Makes a Comeback

Single Page Design Makes a Comeback
Single Page Design
Web Design Trend

It wasn’t all that long ago that we proclaimed that the scroll was dead. (We missed the boat on that one, obviously.)

More designers will deploy single page designs with interesting scroll features and immersive storytelling to keep users engaged. Single-page design actually works better on mobile and smaller devices because users can get everything with trying to navigate the menu. And mobile users – likely the highest number of your website visitors – are accustomed to scrolling.

Don’t ignore this growing user pattern.

Flat Design Emulates 3D

Flat Design Emulates 3D
Flat Design 3D

Three-dimensional renderings are providing an update to flat design. The result is a mash-up of 3D realistic and flat interfaces that are complex, visually interesting and showing up everywhere.

It’s like a touch of virtual reality in designs that don’t require anything special to look at.

When you look deeper into the trend, a lot of what make it work are depth in layers plus animation. (See how multiple design trends impact one another?)

Some people are starting to call this concept “deep flat.” But we just think it is a natural evolution of flat design.

Brutalism Goes a Little More Mainstream

Brutalism Goes a Little More Mainstream
Brutalism Design
Brutal Design

In the way that minimal designs have dominated web interfaces, brutalism is taking over. It’s the antithesis of all the bright-color designs. (You could say it is the yin to that yang.)

Brutalism is described like this by the Nielsen Norman Group: “Brutalism in digital design is a style that intentionally attempts to look raw, haphazard, or unadorned. It echoes early 1990s-style websites (think Craigslist and the Drudge Report). Sometimes this aspect of brutalism is expressed as bare-bones, almost naked HTML site with blue links and monochromatic Monospace text.”

And while few people would classify this design style as pretty, it does have a certain charm for some content types. And with a stark and bold style, it definitely makes an impact when you stumble on one of these designs.

More Gradients

More Gradients
Gradients Examples
Gradients Design Trend

Gradients are the multipurpose color trend that work on pretty much any type of design. And that’s evident by how many projects are using them.

Gradients can add a fun burst of color to almost any design pattern, but are most commonly being featured in projects that might be a little “art poor.” Gradient backgrounds can be a fun way to break out text elements or highlight specific content, such as Train Body Brain (above top); for text elements such as Orion; or create an interesting background for a product placement, such as Mel.

The biggest shift in using gradients as a color trend in 2019, is that gradients are a featured technique paired with primarily bright color choices, whereas in 2018 gradients were more of a photo overlay tool. Now, this popular technique has room to stand on its own.

Vintage Typography/More Serifs

Vintage Typography/More Serifs
Vintage Typography
Vintage Typography Serif Font

One of the most refreshing design trends of 2019 is a shift to more vintage typography styles.

More serif typefaces, rounded slabs and text elements that seem to have an older feel. These vintage styles all seem to have bolder, thinker lines than some of the thinner sans serifs that have been popular in the last few years.

Even some well-known brands, such as Mailchimp (above) have shifted to this vintage typography style.

The biggest contributing factor to this design trend is better screen resolutions across all devices. It was once thought that sans serifs were the most readable on screens, but thanks to high def and high-res understanding serifs is not an issue.

Variable Fonts

More designers will use variable fonts in 2019 to make the web that much more readable across devices.

According to Google: “A variable font is a collection of master styles, with one central ‘default’ master (usually the Regular font style) and multiple registered “axes” which tie the central master to the other masters. For example, the Weight axis might connect a Light style master to the default style and through to the Bold style master. The individual styles that can be located along this axis are called instances.”

While the concept behind OpenType variable fonts might still be a little intimidating to some, they are starting to become more mainstream. They are made for responsive design and can help projects look more complete on different screen sizes.

Variable fonts provide all the flexibility you have always wished for.

Three variable fonts to try:

Focus on Data Visualization

Focus on Data Visualization
Data Visualization
Design Infographics

Everywhere you look, someone seems to have an infographic as part of the design.

Data visualizations are a more interesting and understandable way to presenting complex information to users. This visual format for everything from numbers to maps to understanding complex algorithms, is loved by users. It can help people understand content and works in a number of ways – as a still image, in scrolling panels, as an animation or interactive game.

The way to make it work most effectively is to turn your data into a story. Create a beginning, middle and end so that users follow the journey of information to complete understanding that hopefully results in longer time on site and higher conversion rates.

Writing for UX

Writing for UX
Writing for UX
UX Write

All good design has some element of messaging in the form of text. With users demanding authentic web experiences, there’s a growing focus on writing for UX.

All of the copy on websites will be designed to help users better engage and connect with the product or service. The days of the hard sell are gone and content that useful and practical will rule the day.

Good UX writing is useful and respectful of the user. (Seems pretty simple, right?)

UX writing is so important because you don’t have a lot of space, time or words to tell your story. So, every sentence has to lead to a goal and user outcome that people want to read. (Seems a little more complicated, huh?)

Split Screen Design Keeps Growing

Split Screen Design Keeps Growing
Split Screen Design
Split Screen Web

You might be catching on to a theme here – website designs need to fit mobile users. That’s why split screen patterns keep emerging.

The split screen aesthetic – where a desktop screen is broken into two panels of content that collapses into vertical content blocks on smaller devices – is an approachable way to design content that works across devices with a fairly seamless UX.

While many of these designs started featuring side-by-side “screens” that looked similar, more designs are shifting to asymmetrical splits for content. This can create more hierarchy in the design for desktop users, with the larger item having greater importance. (It is assumed for mobile users because the item on top is perceived as being more important.)

Mobile Animation

Mobile Animation
Mobile Animation Design
Mobile Web Animation

While designers have shied away from animation on mobile versions of websites, there’s a movement to include animations.

Video is still a concern – particularly for iPhone users, which doesn’t render video on websites well – but timed animations are growing steadily in popularity. You might even start to see more scroll animations on mobile as a shift back to mobile-first thinking starts to take hold.

Remembering that most of your website visits are coming from mobile devices, why wouldn’t you design for these users first?

More Text (Seriously!)

More Text
Good More Text
Text for AI

Would you be surprised if 2019 went down as the year of text?

From stacked headlines with plenty of words to designs with all and few images, there’s a shift to text as a featured element. With the right typography, this trend can look amazing and provide a great deal of information to users quickly. Without good typography, it can fall flat and be disastrous.

The easiest way to get started with more text-heavy designs is to use a double- or triple-stacked headline on the homepage. You get more room for messaging. The adjustment here is that text sizes are often much smaller than some of the oversized fonts that have been popular. Keep in mind that multiple lines of text at a smaller size can actually have the same weight as fewer words in a larger font.

The trick to making more text work for design projects is that it needs to be valuable text. Users need to want to read the words. So, plan the design carefully. (Don’t just write a lot for the sake of writing; make every word count.)

Article by Carrie Cousins from DesignModo.com

Top Web Design Trends To Watch In 2017

Users and businesses who are looking for the top web design trends for 2017 are not only looking for looks but speed and efficiency. Why built from scratch when you can get an available plugin or framework to make some modifications and start using it?

Every year, the web design industry goes through some sort of evolution cycle to stay relevant and inspiring.

Last year, I wrote about the top web design trends to watch in 2016, many of which have taken root and changed the way we understand design forever.

This year, like a number of UX experts, I’m betting on AI-powered chatbots, VR, and immersive storytelling trends to leave a permanent mark on the industry. Undoubtedly, we will also see a lot of last year’s trends continue to shape and influence the web design space.

Without further ado, let’s explore what design innovations can give your website a serious facelift in 2017.

VR and 360º video

Although the gadget world was abuzz last year with the exciting virtual reality (VR) announcements, the trend hasn’t made a huge impact on web design trends so far. One great example of how VR and 360º video can be incorporated into web design to create a breathtaking, interactive experience is Peugeot 208’s promo campaign that utilizes both technologies to showcase a new product.

Peugeot 208 promo video takes advantage of the immersive VR and 360º video experience. Image credit: Peugeot.

Google’s Daydream VR headset is at the forefront of this movement, expanding our imagination of how the technology could be adapted for everyday use, but many other brands are jumping on the wagon too, including PlaystationHTC, and Microsoft. With so many possible practical uses of the gadget, we’re bound to see VR and 360º video finally bleeding into the web design space too.

Card design and grid layouts

First popularized by Pinterest, card design layouts continue to shape and influence web design trends and we will be seeing more of this dynamic grid style in 2017. What makes cards so appealing is the simplicity, organization, flexibility and responsiveness that they create. Grid layouts are particularly suitable for pages with an abundance of data, as they make the information more accessible and enticing. A web development agency htmlBoutique utilizes the grid layout to create unique compositions of case studies and give their portfolio an extra oomph that sets it apart from typical showcase pages.

htmlBoutique use the card layout to minimize clutter and neatly organize their case studies into grids. Image credit: htmlBoutique.

ViceTumblr, and Dribbble are some of the most notable examples of card layouts used to create an enjoyable browsing experience and showcase content in a neat and digestible way. With the card layout trend here to stay in 2017, we can expect new takes and spin-offs of this concept.

AI-powered bots and conversational interfaces

In terms of visuals, bots are unlikely to have a big impact on web design, but they will significantly influence how designers think about creating websites. AI-powered bots are going to get even more realistic and complex this year, empowering businesses to automate communication and sales. Using tools like Letsclap, online businesses will be able to connect with their customers via messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or WeChat, providing customized customer support and commerce. Conversational interfaces will be a huge shift, helping big brands express different sides of their personality and making them more human and approachable.

By integrating with Chatfuel, brands can build a Facebook bot in less than 10 minutes. Image credit: Chatfuel.

More than 900 million people around the world use Facebook Messenger every month, so the introduction of Bots for Messenger last year was a welcome addition to the toolkit of communication channels for businesses of all sizes. Any brand can build a Facebook bot now without any coding knowledge. Integrations with tools like Botsify or Chatfuel make the setup process so simple that it’s becoming unusual not to use a customized bot. This year, we’ll see the conversational interfaces reach a higher level of personalization and inventiveness.

High-quality authentic photography

Stock photography reduces trust and is often completely ignored. It’s bad for design and even worse for business. With so many authentic photography sites popping up online, finding beautiful high-quality images is easier than ever, hence, we will continue to see the decline of cheesy stock photography in web design.

Depositphotos’s guide to visual trends in 2017 predicts the comeback of 90s-style photography. Image credit: Depositphotos.

Studies have shown that images featuring real people have a better chance at converting visitors too. In fact, Depositphotos’ research into visual trends that will define our visual culture in 2017 indicates a growing demand for original, candid images that are easily relatable and capture moments of real life rather than a polished, posed look. To attract and engage customers, brands will be embracing well composed but real-life looking images that contribute to the visual story of their site.

Pre-built websites

Be WordPress Theme by MuffinGroup is leading the pre-built websites trend. Image credit: MuffinGroup.

In a fast-moving design world, pre-built websites and themes are making a name for themselves and earning creatives’ respect. We will certainly see more of this trend in 2017, as it packs a whole bunch of benefits that enable designers to work faster and more efficiently. Not only do they save a ton of time by providing a robust base for building working prototypes fast, they also serve as an excellent conceptual design tool and eliminate the coding hassle. With 240+ ready-to-use pre-built layouts, Be WordPress theme is at the forefront of this exciting web design trend and continues to wow the creative community.

Intuitive forms and natural language interfaces

Forms are used everywhere – for registration, bookings, checkout, customer feedback, subscriptions, and so on. They are an integral part of any website that aims to interact with visitors and should be given special attention in the design phase. User-friendly, intuitive forms enable businesses to streamline their processes, gather customer data more effectively and ultimately, make more money. Clunky forms, on the other hand, can ruin the entire user experience.

CaptainForm is a WordPress plugin that lets businesses build intuitive web forms in minutes. Image credit: CaptainForm.

This year, we will see a continuous adoption of pre-built plugins like CaptainForm that allow businesses to build all types of conditional, intuitive web forms using customizable templates. Companies in all sectors will be embracing this trend to save time, better connect with their users and provide a more fluid user experience.

In 2017, we will also see more natural language UIs and, specifically, natural language forms that utilize everyday language and aim to obtain information from a user in a more engaging and fun way. The beauty of these forms is that they reflect the mental model of a user much better than a traditional form and can be used in various contexts. Typeform is probably one of the best-known examples of this trend.

Search engines, particularly Google, have worked tirelessly to improve their search capabilities so that people can look for information phrasing the questions in the same way that they would if they were speaking to a friend. You can say we’ve been trained to expect to get what we’re looking for from the first try as well as using everyday language. This newly developed expectation is spilling over into user experience and how we interact with web design. We anticipate the “human factor” even when we’re interacting with code and machines and brands will need to deliver on this expectation.

Robust web app functionality

One trend that will continue to grow in 2017 is progressive web applications. Progressive web apps combine the best features of the web and mobile apps and take advantage of the vast web ecosystem, plugins, and community. They are also significantly easier to develop, deploy and maintain than native apps. For instance, if you want to start selling event tickets on your WordPress website, you don’t need to develop a fully functional web application to be able to do that.

Tickera plugin can turn any website into a web application by adding ticketing functionality. Image credit: Tickera.

Your website can execute such app-like functions simply by making use of a plugin like Tickera that can turn any static site into a full-fledged ticketing solution. Developing from scratch requires a lot of time, skill and budget and is not always a better solution than starting from an existing code base. WooCommerce is another wildly popular plugin that can turn any WordPress site into an eCommerce app.

The growing number of high-quality plugins and sophisticated APIs suggests that this year we will see more websites adopting web application features and interactive UI elements.

Unique brand-themed illustrations

Bespoke illustrations that match and elevate the tone of a brand and communicate its personality is an exceptionally powerful communication technique. When done right, illustrations can boost a brand’s recognition and add an element of fun to its site. Companies like Slack and Dropbox are already successfully capitalizing on the effectiveness of tailored illustrations.

The unique style of Slack’s illustrations has helped the brand to create a very distinct identity. Image credit: Slack.

Within an increasingly crowded marketplace, a strong visual brand will be one of the main drivers of business success. Aimed at helping businesses to stand out and be more memorable, brand-themed illustrations will play a central role in website design this year.

Microinteractions

As it was famously said by Charles Eames, “The details are not details. They make the product.” Well-designed microinteractions are extremely powerful and can define the entire product. They can get us pinning inspirational quotes, liking status updates and retweeting powerful messages as if it’s a completely natural thing to do. When done right, instead of mimicking the human behavior, microinteractions can actually create new habit loops – just think about Tinder’s highly addictive swiping actions. With the help of tools like Proto.io, which enables designers to quickly test and iterate their web and mobile application designs, anyone can create new and utilize existing microinteractions that already work well without actual coding.

Proto.io is a fully-interactive, non-code-based rapid prototyping tool that allows UI designers to quickly build and test new interfaces. Image credit: Proto.

Once established in the brain, microinteractions become incredibly powerful UI weapons because they help designers create intuitive experiences and streamline the web interactions.

This year, we will see this trend continue to evolve and grow in influence.

Extreme fluidity from mobile, desktop to TV

Fluid design is not hot news. The incredible variety of screen sizes available to people has pushed designers and businesses to move responsiveness issue to the top of their priorities list, and so we’re seeing more and more designs that provide a unified experience across multiple devices. This trend will only grow in popularity in 2017 and mobile-first and fluid designs will become the new standard.

Material Kit Pro is a fully-responsive Bootstrap UI Kit inspired by Material Design that enjoys a fluid grid system and features a huge number of components built to fit together seamlessly and create a striking visual impact. Image credit: Creative Tim.

At the same time, foreseeing problems that could crop up at every possible width makes the fluid design an incredibly challenging and time intensive process. As a result, we will also see a growing trend of the adoption of smart solutions like Material Kit Pro that will be utilized to alleviate the optimization and fluidity headaches, instead of allowing designers to focus on building functional and aesthetically sound websites.

GIFs and cinematography

The alluring nature of cinemagraphs and their unexpected but significant impact on garnering higher user engagement and conversion has contributed to the growth and wider adoption of this trend. An innovative Wi-Fi marketing platform, Turnstyle, has undertaken an A/B testing experiment comparing the effectiveness of a cinemagraph vs. a still image on their homepage. It has resulted in a 20% uplift in new visitor conversions, demonstrating the potential of this design element.

Turnstyle achieved a 20% increase in conversions by placing a cinemagraph on their homepage. Image credit: Turnstyle.

The human brain loves visual information and cinemagraphs have all the right attributes to capture visitors’ attention. Not quite a photograph but not a video either, a cinemagraph benefits from the novelty (and surprise) factor and doesn’t weigh down the website load speed. We can expect to see visually-driven brands experimenting with this trend over the next 12 months.

Immersive storytelling

What’s the story with immersive storytelling? Well, there’s no going back with this trend, it’s here for the long haul. Combined with bold, visually stimulating design and a whole array of interactive UI elements, immersive storytelling is helping brands to connect with their customers on a more personal, engaging level.

Airbnb uses immersive storytelling to make customers part of the story and create unique experiences. Image credit: Airbnb.

Web design that focuses on creating rich user experiences is going to be big this year. Immersive storytelling that calls on different design elements, such as high-quality images, videos, sounds, social media, maps and other components to create a unique context and draw users into a brand’s world will continue pushing the boundaries of our imagination.

Conclusion

It’s going to be an incredibly exciting year for the web design industry. We will continue on the path of personalization, customization, and unique user experiences, making the online world ever more intuitive and human-like.

Meeting user expectations and delivering tailored experiences will be of paramount importance in 2017. Let’s make it happen!

Have I missed something that will make shake up the web design industry this year? Share your ideas in the comments or tweet me at @tomaslau.

This article first appeared in Forbes on 25th January 2017 written by Tomas Laurinavicius