Web designers face a myriad of challenges, extending beyond the mere creation of visually appealing pages. The focus has shifted towards shaping experiences that not only captivate the audience but also evoke engagement and inspiration.
In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and the growing emphasis on understanding user behaviour, the upcoming trends of 2024 are poised to redefine our perception of digital aesthetics and functionality.
However, it’s crucial not to let these trends overly influence your approach to building and designing.
While staying informed about trends is valuable, it’s equally important not to let them dictate your actions. Trends evolve rapidly, making it nearly impossible to keep pace. Nevertheless, this dynamic nature also means that virtually anything has the potential to become trendy.
Therefore, it’s advisable to approach these trends with a grain of salt. There’s no need to completely alter your course of action based on them. Instead, consider them as valuable insights into what’s currently popular and resonating with today’s audience, who are often influenced by various factors.
The year 2023 witnessed the rise of AI, and in 2024, I anticipate a growing trend of agencies incorporating AI tools into their website projects.
AI exhibits versatility in various digital roles, yet its constructive application is paramount.
Although AI proves to be an invaluable tool, it is not exempt from limitations. Hence, it is crucial to discern when and how to leverage its capabilities most effectively.
Generating Imagery with AI
A noteworthy area where AI excels is in generating custom imagery for websites. This proves particularly beneficial in scenarios where obtaining bespoke imagery is cost-prohibitive or when clients seek something distinctive.
AI image generators can operate based on diverse inputs, including selected styles, word prompts, and examples.
Website and Content Planning with AI
Another valuable application of AI lies in content and website hierarchy planning.
Utilising AI for content planning ensures comprehensive coverage of essential themes and messages. However, prudent caution is necessary in relying too heavily on AI, as it is not omniscient. While highly intuitive, AI can only work with the information provided. Requesting it to devise a website structure for an industry with poorly planned websites may yield results below the desired standard.
2. Y2K designs and aesthetics
Recent studies indicate a surge in people experiencing heightened nostalgia, seeking solace and escapism in the simplicity of the past, particularly amidst the turbulent years marked by COVID-19 spikes, global economic crises, and war conflicts.
Surprisingly, even Generation Z respondents express a nostalgic longing for the 1990s.
This prevalent nostalgic sentiment has not escaped notice. In 2023, we observed the resurgence of Y2K fashion, 90s songs reclaiming top chart positions, and a revival of movies with an 80s aesthetic. The domain of web design was no exception, witnessing the emergence of numerous websites exuding retro vibes. Web designers paid tribute to the 80s and 90s by skill-fully integrating geometric shapes, abstract patterns, pixel art, and other essential elements reminiscent of the early digital era.
As we venture into 2024, this trend is stay persistent, given its global mainstream appeal. Anticipate an influx of Y2K designs and aesthetics, aligning with the moods of the target audience and tapping into the millennial and Gen Z fascination with all things retro.
To ride this wave effectively, understanding the specificity of Y2K is crucial. It represents a distinctive fusion of retro-futurism and digital aesthetics. Experiment with bright neon colours spanning green to pink, unconventional tone combinations, and glossy, reflective surfaces.
3. Headless CMS
In the web design landscape of 2024, a prominent trend is the significant departure from conventional website development platforms in favour of more streamlined and lightweight solutions.
This shift entails a move away from popular website builders such as Squarespace, opting instead for decoupled or headless CMS options like Tina. Another adaptation involves transitioning from a standard WordPress setup to one that employs a static site.
What is a headless CMS?
A headless content management system (CMS) severs the link between the content creation and its display. It provides an uncomplicated way to manage website content without delving into technical intricacies. Unlike a traditional CMS where content and display are closely interwoven, a headless CMS concentrates solely on the content, delivering it to the front-end system through an API.
This decoupling ensures that future website redesigns can exclusively focus on the front end without necessitating redevelopment of backend functionalities.
What is a static site?
Similar to a headless CMS, a static site enables the separation of the front end of the website from the CMS in use. This means that if you prefer using an off-the-shelf platform like WordPress but wish to avoid the performance impact of excess code, a static site offers an excellent alternative.
Content and updates can still be managed through WordPress, but any modifications are then transmitted to the static website via an API. This approach allows you to continue using your preferred platform without burdening your website with additional front-end code, resulting in faster loading times and improved user experience.
4. Parallax scrolling
Parallax scrolling has stood the test of time, consistently making its mark each year by introducing techniques that captivate users and ignite the imagination of designers, providing ample opportunities to make a lasting impression and convey the brand message.
In the previous year, a notable evolution known as multiplanar scrolling emerged. As users scrolled downward, they encountered content moving not only along the x-axis but also the z-axis. Some websites took it a step further by showcasing content in reverse along the z-axis or recreating a compelling zoom effect.
This evolution signals that parallax scrolling has become an indispensable tool, granting designers the freedom to unleash their creativity. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, parallax scrolling seamlessly integrates with various animations, forms the bedrock for the beloved storytelling trend, and effortlessly breathes life into even the most mundane structures.
Expect parallax scrolling to remain a dominant force this year, promising more scrolling extravaganzas. To stay on trend, blend it with cutting-edge solutions, incorporate motion effects, and infuse interactivity to align with prevailing styles. For those not inclined towards digital maximalism, an embrace of minimalism can reveal the elegance of navigating along the unconventional axis, abandoning unnecessary visuals.
However, building a website with parallax scrolling presents its challenges. Excessive use of parallax effects may induce discomfort for some users and compromise readability and marketing strategies. Striking a balance between creativity and functionality is crucial for an optimal user experience.
An issue with this trend is compatibility issue on mobile devices which cannot be overlooked. While desktop scrolling may be enjoyable, it can feel cumbersome on smaller screens. Striking a compromise becomes essential, necessitating the elimination of some content and graphics to maintain user engagement. Consider popular solutions such as image-scroll-animation combinations for easier digestion or opt for conveying key messages using different dynamic effects to keep the experience engaging and diverse.
Microinteractions encompass small, responsive elements within a website that react to user actions, such as hovering over a button or clicking on an icon. While subtle, these interactions contribute significantly to enhancing engagement and intuitiveness in the user experience.
Anticipate the evolution of microinteractions beyond mere visual feedback. The future holds the promise of these interactions becoming more personalised and context-aware, adapting to user behaviour and preferences to deliver a heightened and immersive experience.
In recent times, websites have tended to be excessively animated and interactive, reaching a point where it detrimentally affects user experience, making it bad and inaccessible. Microinteractions serve as a remedy by introducing enjoyable and meaningful user interactions that complement, rather than overshadow, the website’s content and design.
6. Kinetic Typography
Kinetic typography involves animating text to captivate attention and dynamically convey messages. This trend transforms text from a mere conduit of information into an engaging visual element. With the widespread accessibility of user-friendly design tools and a cultural shift towards more vibrant and dynamic content, kinetic typography is set to redefine the aesthetics of web design, turning pages into experiential journeys rather than just informational platforms.
Looking into 2024, kinetic typography is expected to evolve into a more interactive form, responding to user actions and seamlessly integrating with other design elements to create a cohesive and immersive experience. It will play a pivotal role in narrative-driven designs, particularly on landing pages and in campaigns.
The enduring appeal of kinetic typography lies in its ability to enhance accessibility and inclusivity. By introducing simplicity, readability, and comprehension, kinetic typography contributes to a sense of balance in web designs, ensuring its continued relevance in the evolving landscape.
7. Evolution of Typography
Typography is undergoing comprehensive evolution, with designers exploring various dimensions such as layout, size, colour, and the integration of dynamic, interactive elements.
No longer confined to merely conveying a message, typography has transformed into a character on the screen, serving as an active design element that elevates the overall aesthetic and appeal of a website. Anticipate a fusion of classic and modern fonts, the incorporation of large and bold statement typefaces, and experimentation with overlapping text and mixed media in the typography landscape of 2024.
8. Bento Grid
You might not be familiar with the term, but most likely you have seen them. Apple has it in both their website and mobile operating system, it’s a type of grid with borders reminiscent of Japanese lunch “bento” boxes. In the end, they are simply rounded corners, however, they are an exciting design trend that a lot of people are jumping on.
Visible grids and borders in general are a trend you can see more of in web design in 2024. They provide clarity and structure, making websites easier to navigate. Plus, they help with responsive design as they help visualise how elements will rearrange.
While not a novel concept, there will be an intensified focus on accessibility in 2024. As the global community strives for greater inclusivity and accommodation of individuals with disabilities, this emphasis will significantly influence the way we design websites.
Anticipate designs that incorporate colour palettes and fonts explicitly tailored to cater to this demographic. These designs may adopt a more streamlined and straightforward aesthetic, featuring a clear and logical flow of content.
The ultimate objective is to ensure that ALL users, regardless of their abilities, can seamlessly navigate a website and access its content. In 2024, accessibility transcends being merely a trend; it becomes a fundamental principle of web design.
10. Dark Mode
Dark mode remains a prominent website design trend that will continue to be prevalent this year. This design approach, characterised by a colour scheme centred around a dark background, empowers users to personalise their website experience by choosing between “light” or “dark” modes.
In essence, dark mode design involves creating a website or app with a dark background, offering users a visual alternative. Many individuals find dark mode styles more readable and user-friendly, and providing the option to switch enhances the overall user experience.
Moreover, dark mode has the added benefit of minimising eye strain, especially in low-light conditions, and it can contribute to reduced battery usage. Consequently, it has become a favoured style, particularly for mobile apps.