web design trends for 2019
As we head into 2019, having a well-built website is more important than ever before. In the social media age where you can set up a Facebook page for your business in just a couple of minutes, it can be tempting to treat your website as somewhat of an afterthought, or even skip over it entirely.
While social media profiles can give you real-time access to your target market and open conversation, it’s still necessary to have your own website. But having a website is one thing, you want a website that will not only look and work seamlessly, you want it to engage with your audience and convert traffic into sales. Online brochures don’t cut it anymore – your site should act as an information gateway, brand ambassador, and a major part of your marketing funnel.
So what can we expect in 2019 for those who want to kick-it with the best? There are a few trends that are set to continue in 2019 and some that we would consider absolutely crucial. Fail at these and you can expect poor results.
Mobile First Design
Mobile-friendly responsive design has been critical for several years, but we’re now seeing a shift towards mobile-first design, i.e. designing primarily for mobile users and considering desktop design as the second priority.
This is due to the growing numbers of people using their phone as a primary tool for web browsing. Searches from mobile devices have surpassed 50% worldwide, and this percentage is expected to grow even more in the coming years.
This trend for mobile-first design impacts on many of the other design trends in this list, as designing for a small screen calls for different processes than traditional web design. Because of this, websites are becoming faster, simpler, and easier to use overall.
Functionality is a vital part of mobile-first design so that sites are easy to use one-handed and on the go. Phone numbers should be clickable so calls can be made directly from the website, and forms must be designed to be easy for users to fill in quickly while they’re commuting to work or out and about.
You will also see menu structures that are flatter so that you can navigate to where you want to go quickly and easily, usually via big easy to press menu buttons.
And lastly, clickable phone numbers. When browsing on a mobile device, if you need to read off a number to then call, you will lose inquiries. Why, well because it's frustrating and to be blunt, stupid... Your phone numbers should be clickable so that your prospect can click your number and call quickly and easily from a mobile device while on a train commuting home from work
An obvious influence of the mobile-first design trend is the increase in minimal, uncomplicated websites with a “flat” design.
Flat design is not a new trend – it’s been popular since around 2012 when interfaces started to move away from 3d-style and “skeuomorphic” design in favour of a simplified look.
Rounded glossy buttons and gradient backgrounds look incredibly dated in 2018, and we’re not expecting them to make a reappearance any time soon – in fact, 68% of web professionals say that flat web design is here to stay. However, there has been a slight emergence of “semi-flat” designs using ultra-subtle shadow to add dimension and improve usability, as seen in the android.com homepage above.
With these clear, unadorned designs, visitors are able to gather information quickly – and the CTA stands out for maximum conversion.
Focus on Site Speed
As users switch to mobile, they’re also becoming more impatient – 40% of users will leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load.
A speedy site not only provides a better user experience but is also rewarded by Google with a higher position in the search engine result pages; so it’s worth doing whatever you can to tweak your site and squeeze its load time a few more fractions of a second.
Technology such as image compression and CDNs are making it easy to optimise site speed, and this will continue to be just as important as visual design when it comes to building your site.
Video backgrounds have proven their worth as a popular design trend that will continue into 2019 for a few reasons.
Using video in the background of your site helps to create an immersive experience that draws the user in, and can help to keep them on your site for longer. They’ve also been shown to boost conversions when used carefully.
Videos are also a great way to show your business in action or showcase client results, and having them auto-playing in the background results in a seamless experience for the user without needing to persuade them to click a play button.
There is one caveat – video can increase loading time significantly. Sites must be coded carefully so that information loads swiftly, and is accessible and readable while the background video is loading
Broken Grid Layout
The grid layout has been a fundamental of web design since the web first came into being. Grid layout design basically divides each webpage into equal rows and columns so that boxes, buttons, and other design elements are all spaced evenly and balanced.
Broken grid layouts break the rules by introducing asymmetry into web design, using unusual shapes, placements, and layering to create an exciting look that’s anything but square.
The resulting designs will grab your customers’ attention due to their uniqueness, and can help boost brand visibility.
Asymmetrical layouts work particularly well in the fashion industry, for design agencies, and basically, any business that wants to demonstrate its creativity and out-of-the-box thinking – literally.
Chat Bots & On-Page Interaction
Technology is becoming more advanced and automating tasks for increased efficiency. However, consumers still crave real human interaction and a personal touch.
Artificial intelligence can be used to bridge this gap with the addition of chatbots that web visitors can “talk to” in real-time. This gives the impression of enhanced customer service, without actually requiring your website to be staffed 24/7. Modern AI algorithms are incredibly advanced and can certainly deal with simple enquiries in a convincing way. If the chatbot encounters a question that requires a more detailed response, it can be directed automatically to a human agent.
Chatbots are not only great for customer service, but can also increase your conversion rate as consumers are more likely to buy when they feel welcomed and their queries are answered quickly.
Design Trends – Simple but Powerful
You’ve probably spotted the trend within the trends at this point – websites are becoming more straightforward on the surface to meet the consumer need to access information quickly without visual distraction, but underneath the surface, they are powered by increasingly sophisticated software.
In summary, you can’t go wrong by focusing on the customer experience and what you can do to create a simple, clear website that focuses on your primary business goals.