There are about 1.13 billion (yes, with a “b”!) websites on the internet. While 80+% are inactive that still leaves over 200 million websites actively maintained and visited. The sheer number of websites makes it extremely difficult for a website to stand out and attract an audience.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to help your website get the attention it deserves, and it all starts by making sure your site is up to date with the latest website design and development trends.
In the Internet landscape, technology is constantly evolving and as a result, so too are user expectations. In this guide, you will learn all about the hottest website design and development trends that you should be factoring into your website build or redesign due to their unique abilities of enhancing user experience and engagement.
#1: Dark Mode and Color Schemes
Dark mode is a feature that exploded in popularity over the last decade, particularly among those users who do a lot of their web surfing on remote devices, like their smartphones or tablets. Dark mode works by inverting the colors of a website or web application, so the background is dark and the text is light.
This design function is popular because it helps reduce eye strain and improves readability in low-light environments. As a side benefit, the dark interface also uses less power, so users who prefer it can conserve battery power on their mobile devices while still enjoying all their usual online activities.
While making your website dark mode ready can improve the user’s experience, implementing creative use of color schemes is essential not only for increasing the visual appeal of your site, but it can also help maximize your branding efforts. If your company logo features distinctive colors, then incorporating those colors throughout your website, apps, and social media channels will create continuity throughout your ecosystem.
#2: Immersive Web Experiences
Two of the more innovative trends to arise in website design and development are tools that allow for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) integration. Augmented reality uses computer-generated content with elements of the real world to create a more engaging experience.
A good example of how this technology works is Amazon’s “See It In Your Room” feature, which superimposes a digital image of a product over the user’s real life living space by using the camera on their smartphone or tablet. Many fashion accessory sites also use the technology, such as those that allow users to try on glasses, shoes, and other apparel virtually without having to place an order. One of the biggest benefits of augmented reality, when used in this way, is a measurable reduction in returned items.
Like augmented reality, virtual reality experiences on websites will also continue to increase over the coming years. This technology is currently a popular feature on many real estate listing sites and Airbnb sites because it enables users to tour a home or rental before scheduling an in-person tour or making a reservation. Incorporating augmented and/or virtual reality technology in your website can help you deliver useful and meaningful content to your audience in an interactive and fun way that can help them make more informed buying decisions.
#3: Minimalist and Micro-Interactions
The minimalist movement has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years, both in the real world and online. In the home it focuses on clean aesthetics and a purposeful lack of clutter, which helps reduce stress and improve peace of mind. Online, minimalist web designs focus on limited color palettes and using only as many design elements as needed. Successful implementation of a minimalistic web design means leaving plenty of white space and ensuring that each element is perfectly balanced in how it is presented, so that nothing appears out of place.
Minimalist web design should also rely heavily on subtle animations and micro-interactions that fit with its overall theme and feel. Micro-interactions can help increase engagement without requiring a lot of input from the user. A common micro-interaction that is used by both minimalistic and standard websites alike is a progress indicator, which is designed to keep the user updated, such as on the status of a download or what stage they’re at when completing an online form.
Like micro-interactions, using subtle animations is a great way to provide feedback in the least intrusive way possible. Subtle animations add life to a minimalistic website and make it more visually appealing without overwhelming the user.
#4: Voice Search Optimization
With the increase in reliance on virtual chatbots, like Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri, voice search technology is fast becoming the norm. And while the technology hasn’t made a huge shift over to the website side of things, that will be changing in 2023 and beyond as we expect to see more and more websites integrating voice search as an option to traditional text search.
Adapting your website content for voice-based queries and implementing voice user interfaces (VUIs) for more intuitive navigation will soon become one of the best ways to future-proof your website and make it as user-friendly as possible.
#5: AI-Powered Personalization
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been used in website development strategies for several years, but like all technology they continue to advance and open up doors for new and exciting opportunities. For example, one of the ways that AI and ML have been changing the way websites are being built has been via their ability to adapt to a user’s habits to deliver a more personalized user experience.
Using AI and ML technology, websites can change how they appear by offering dynamic content recommendations based on a user’s unique behavior. This level of personalization makes a single website capable of providing different experiences to different users. AL and ML can also dramatically improve search functionality, automate tasks, and produce chatbots and virtual assistants that can interact in real-time with users in a more lifelike and responsive way, all of which will help increase user engagement, improve customer support quality, and ultimately drive more conversions.
#6: Responsive and Mobile-First Design
Responsive and mobile-first web design is a trend that allows web pages to automatically adapt to the size and resolution of the user’s device using elements like flexible grid layouts, images, and more. This type of design focus is extremely important for today’s online businesses because it ensures that their websites and web applications are user-friendly and accessible across a wide range of devices. And with 92.3% of Internet users accessing the Internet using a mobile phone or other portable device, taking a mobile-first approach to your website has never been more important.
As if being mobile-friendly isn’t already important enough, providing a responsive and mobile-first website can even improve your search engine result standing. The reason is because Google now utilizes mobile-first indexing on SEO when delivering its search results. It does this by analyzing the mobile version of a site’s content instead of its standardized version for indexing and ranking.
#7: Accessibility and Inclusivity
Accessibility and inclusivity are not just trends, but they are now standard elements (as stated by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)) that need to be incorporated into any website’s design to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. Providing your audience with a site that every visitor can navigate and interact with is essential for not just delivering good customer service and an excellent user experience, doing so can also increase conversion, boost your SEO, and help you reach the widest audience possible.
Some of the ways you can improve accessibility and inclusivity in your website design can include:
- Using strong color contrasts between text and backgrounds to make it easier to read
- Using voice search technology
- Incorporating focus indicators for easier keyboard navigation
- Using labels and instructions with form fields instead of low-context placeholder text
- Using functional alt tags for images
#8: Blockchain and Web Security
Despite global efforts to reduce it, cybercrime is at an all-time high. This is partly due to the tenacity and techno-savviness of today’s hackers, but it is also due in part to the growing number of opportunities for hackers to exploit. For example, websites that aren’t upgraded regularly to incorporate the latest web security measures or those that ask their users to log in via their Facebook account or other social media credentials are only waiting to become victims.
But modern consumers are fast becoming more concerned about who they share their information with, so you don’t want your website to ask for data that you don’t need. You also want to provide your audience with a secure browsing experience by keeping your HTTPS and SSL certificates up to date. And if you store a large database of user information on your servers, then you need to employ next-gen security measures like blockchain and multi-factor identification. Failing in any one of these areas will leave your website exposed and your customer data at risk.
#9: Creative Scrolling and Navigation
Today’s web developers can incorporate innovative scrolling techniques that can help create a more interesting and satisfying user experience, especially in the realms of storytelling and engagement. For example, parallax scrolling is a popular web effect that adds a dynamic touch to certain sections of a webpage. When parallax scrolling is used, it creates an illusion of the media being positioned behind adjacent sections, making the content more engaging. Creative scrolling effects marry usability and intuitive navigation, and when it is done right it can stimulate your audience to keep scrolling.
#10: Sustainability and Green Web Hosting
Record breaking summer temperatures. Increasingly devastating tropical storms. Continually rising sea levels. These are just a few of the very real effects that climate change is having on our planet and if something isn’t done (and quickly), then who knows what type of world we’ll be living in over the coming years. Because of this, consumers have become increasingly aware of how businesses impact the environment, and this includes those in the web hosting field.
Traditional web hosting companies rely on massive server warehouses, which consume tons of energy just to keep their websites up and running. But today, there’s a new trend emerging where more and more web hosting providers are utilizing renewable energy sources to help make the websites they host more eco-friendly. If environmental responsibility is a big part of your company culture, or important to your audience, then in addition to partnering with a green web hosting company, you can go one step further by having your website optimized for energy efficiency.
#11: Typography and Custom Fonts
Incorporating creative use of typography and custom fonts can not only help you establish your brand’s identity, but it can allow you to give your website a unique look and feel that are representative of your company’s culture. For instance, if you want to keep things lighthearted and fun, then choosing a certain font, like a quirky sans serif font, will do the trick.
Using creative typography also allows you to take advantage of nostalgia, if that’s something you want to go for in your website. For many users, nostalgia can be extremely powerful due to the positive feelings it produces, and this can help result in increased conversions. Typography can also be used to help ensure your site’s readability across different devices and screen sizes. The key to success, of course, is choosing the right typography and custom fonts that best reflect your brand.
#12: Data Privacy and GDPR Compliance
One of the biggest things, if not THE biggest thing, that website owners need to be concerned about is keeping up to date with ever-evolving data privacy regulations and user concerns regarding it. In the EU, data security practices need to adhere to the UK’s GDPR, which outlines seven key principles:
- Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency
- Purpose limitation
- Data minimization
- Storage limitations
- Integrity and confidentiality
And while the United States has its own set of data privacy standards, practicing GDPR compliance in your website’s design and development will help ensure that you meet and/or exceed them all.
So, to recap, there are no fewer than 12 website design and development trends that you should be factoring into your site in 2023 and beyond, and these include:
- Using dark mode and color schemes
- Creating immersive web experiences
- Utilizing minimalist designs with micro-interactions
- Incorporating voice search optimization
- Using AI and ML to increase personalization
- Focusing on responsive, mobile-first design
- Increasing accessibility and inclusivity
- Maximizing web security via blockchain and other tactics
- Using creative scrolling to make navigation more engaging
- Designing with energy efficiency in mind
- Using creative typography and custom fonts
- Maximizing data privacy through GDPR compliance
It’s also important to remember that the Internet is a constantly changing thing. New trends and technologies will continue to emerge, so maintaining adaptability and staying informed is important for ensuring that your site never falls victim to being dated.
For designers and developers, this means it’s also important to experiment without losing sight of the end-user experience. Every trend that is put into action needs to enhance the user experience. If it doesn’t, then it’s not a trend worth pursuing.
It’s remarkable to think about how far web design and development has come. This is truly an exciting time to be in the industry. With the above trends shaping the current nature of web design and development, it makes it all the more exciting to think about what we can expect next and what the future of the industry holds.