We want to dispel two myths right away. The first is that you have to be a design school graduate or programming whiz to produce a website with a high-quality design and powerful features. It’s simply not true – and we’ll show you how to do it in this article. The second myth is that building a website is necessary, but not fun. Just like one of those chores you try to get out of, such as raking the leaves or caulking the bathtub. We’re here to let you know how creating your own site can be a blast, allowing you to tap into your inner creative side and letting your imagination run free. Below, you’ll find our ten picks for the most influential trends out there for this coming year.
Of course, we’ll give the caveat that it doesn’t mean you need to use every item on this list on your own page. As UX design expert Aarron Walter has written in his book, Design for Emotion, “If everything yells for your viewer’s attention, nothing is heard.” To summarize: Overwhelming your visitors with too many choices or in-your-face elements is “Out.” Instead, make sure your “In” list is full of intriguing design choices that mesmerize your audience and do their part to amplify your brand. So, keep reading for the top website design trends to follow in 2019, complete with concrete ways you can incorporate them into your own website.
There’s no need to transform your entire website into a full-on technical project rivaling the latest Disney movie. Animation has been a growing trend over the last few years, with features like parallax scrolling (utilizing motion and depth perception to bekon your web audience into your page’s story) becoming established players in this family. Yet, in 2019, animation is now appearing in a different dimension. A smaller one, really, known as micro-animations.
These are minor movements that show up when your website’s browsers do a specific action. They still fill your pages with energy, yet have a lighter impact on page loading time, and don’t distract your visitors from the path your drew for them. You can think about them as road signs that help signal a visitor about where to go, and provide positive feedback as they wander through your site. For example, changing your button’s design – the text or the fill color – on hover, signals to users that they’re on the right track.
In addition to functioning as guides to your pages, these lively interactions can be used simply to add sparkle to your page and draw some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ out of your web traffic. That could include using the subtle, yet captivating, cinemagraphs as backgrounds or within a larger collection of mostly stills beautifully showcased in a refined image gallery. Or jumping into the delightful world of adding effects to your videos, easily accomplished with VideoBox. This tool lets you enhance your footage with a variety of different play modes and behaviors to take the quality of your dynamic visuals a step beyond a GIF. Whatever direction you go, these scaled-down motions are sure to have a dramatic effect on your website’s design.
With Google’s rollout of the mobile-first index in March 2018 and mobile speed update a few months later, there are officially new rules to the SEO (search engine optimization) game. Now, bots will check out your website’s mobile version before the desktop one when deciding how to rank your site in the search results. Furthermore, loading speed is a factor in how they calculate the ranking of mobile sites. The translation: A lightning fast, fully optimized mobile site is your key to improving your rank on search engine displays and getting found on Google by more potential customers and followers.
Luckily, taking the desktop version of your site mobile is checked off for Wix users, as any website you create automatically generates a mobile-friendly version, fully optimized for Google’s requirements. Once you have the structure, make sure you get rid of all the unnecessary content – as small screens can get crowded pretty quickly. Here is how Ryan Warrender, who worked as a Mobile UX Manager at Google, defines mobile success: “A user should know what to do and why they should stay on your mobile site in a moment’s glance.”
A good way to figure out what should stay and what should go is to put yourself in your visitor’s shoes: Someone has just landed on your page. Is this element really needed for them to take your desired action? If the answer is “no,” you might as well remove it from your mobile-version (don’t worry – it won’t affect the desktop one). This is one of the many mobile website best practices you’ll find on this precious checklist.
Pop quiz! How many degrees is the sum of the angles of a triangle? Just kidding, we won’t make you relive grade school math class (psst… It’s 180 degrees, by the way). In 2019, it’s your time to have fun arranging geometric figures across your website, taking advantages of simply placing basic shapes in the background of your page or cropping images into geometric frames. The clean lines of classic triangles, circles – even a rhombus or hexagon if you’re feeling funky – lend an aesthetically-pleasing even distribution to your page, letting you fulfill the design principle of balance easily.
There are three routes to this state of equilibrium: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial balance. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each entail:
Symmetrical balance: In this classic approach, the elements on one half of a composition are perfectly mirrored on the second half.
Asymmetrical balance: While the two halves of the page aren’t matchy-matchy, they do each carry an equal visual ‘weight.’ This is achieved by playing with the colors, textures, shapes, and positions of the items on display.
Radial balance: This style equally positions all of the elements of a design around a central point, so that they are radiating outwards. You can picture a color wheel.
In 2019, we’re particularly loving the chance to play around with some asymmetry. The pattern-breaking style is an emblem of modernism and vitality, two fresh qualities that are worth bringing to your web design. As we mentioned above, shapes are one way you can achieve an asymmetrical look on your pages. Let’s say the right hand side of your page is heavy with text. A solution for stabilizing the weight is fashioning an alluring design out of triangles on the left. When it’s geometric shapes you elect for this purpose, it means the sleekness of your page still remains strong. You can have edgy (get it?) design and still keep visitors focused on the respective mission at hand, too.
Splashes of color
There’s a reason bold colors keep making the trend list year after year. In an Internet swimming with content, color is one reliable way to make a statement with your online presence. Of course, that doesn’t mean get rid of color psychology and spring for the brightest color you can find. Your choice of a color palette for your brand should still be guided by the emotions you want to convey, the standards of your industry, as well as the message you hope to communicate via your business’ visual identity. Yet, once you understand a rough ballpark of the colors that make sense for your business, explore how you can make their show-stopping properties work. Specifically, how can color help focus visitors to the most important sections of your page?
There are a few ways to go. Bold color blocks are all the rage in the web design scene right now. You can paint the above-the-fold area on your home page (the part that is immediately visible on a visitor’s screen before they have to scroll down anywhere) one solid, stop-in-your-tracks color (dare we suggest the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral?). If that doesn’t jive with your business’ vibe, there are more subtle ways to accent your page with that same brightness, like incorporating that color for the fill text of your call-to-action (CTA) buttons, or to use it while creating your logo.
Complementary color schemes are also making waves. This approach refers to taking two colors that are positioned exactly opposite from each other on the color wheel, like red with green, or yellow and purple. The resulting contrast makes each one pop off the page even more than it would on its own. To create a full scheme, add a neutral color to the complementary duo. Neutral colors are the ones that you don’t see on your standard color wheel, like beige, light browns, light grays, black and white. Once you have your colors, you can apply them in the same places mentioned above, either across accent areas like CTAs or as a series of adjacent color blocks that help the viewer differentiate between content on your page.
We know it’s easy to live in the comfortable trifecta of Arial, Times New Roman, and Calibri. In 2019, however, it’s time to step outside the (text) box. Fonts can be intentional statements on their own, with the more artistic and detailed versions capable of sending a message of seriousness, or whimsical fun. Elsewhere in Design for Emotion, Aarron Walter states: “Great design that uses cognitive and visual contrast not only makes you stand out, it can also influence the way people use your interface.” Really, it all goes back to your brand identity again. What do you hope to communicate to visitors? Using that answer as your compass, you can then choose the best font for your website.
One popping trend in typography is unique fonts, ranging from the vintage charm of custom hand lettering to the exposed messiness of bold strokes and the graceful arc of the alphabet in script. These styles alone act as artistic feats, spinning your words into attention-grabbing centerpieces. If you want go for bold, we recommend pulling off the striking effect by springing for one elaborate font, and then balancing it with a more traditional one. For some proven duos that work well together, here’s a guide to some of the best font pairing examples and pointers.
The synchronized dance of several fonts (although never more than three!) on your page lets you assign each one to a specific aspect of your page, using a more artsy one for your bold header and a cleaner line for the more text-heavy explanations about your business, for example. It’s just another way font can help create a visual hierarchy on your website, to make it all that much more easier for a user to sift through and organize the information in front of them.
Ok, let’s start with the baseline necessity of having a video on your website. This is one of those former trends that has graduated to become an industry standard. If you’re confused why it makes any sense at all to add this heavy element to your website, that’s good – it means you’ve paying attention to the whole idea that too many data-rich items, as dazzling as they may be, can have the unfortunate effect of slowing down your website. But here’s the thing. Making up for the video’s heavier data presence is its ability to immediately engage viewers. And more time spent on the page means a higher chance of completing your goals, plus sending some great feedback signals for your SEO.
Specifically, the world of video is falling hard for video headers, which are either full-screen or strip video displays that act as a dynamic background. You can overlay them with text, your logo, menu options, and more. Let’s say you own a cafe and want to display some good action shots of the bustling atmosphere that customers can find inside. You simply upload the video through the Wix Media Manager, and customize from there. To minimize the video’s impact on your loading speed, opt for a short clip with a file size of no more than 6 MB, that loops in spurts of five to ten seconds. This repetition makes it appear as a longer presentation than it actually is, yet spares you the additional file space of lengthier footage. It’s also good form to keep it on mute. You’ll save a lot of your users that awkward moment of blasting a video in a quiet office.
Rounded corners and soft lines
2019 is going to see a rise in rounded corners and more natural lines gracing websites everywhere on elements like text boxes, image frames, buttons, and even abstract shapes in the background. This is a move away from the sharp edges of the past. It’s like the difference between an extra firm mattress, and the body-molded indents of a memory foam one. The latter communicates easy comfort, while the former can feel distant or austere. This is a great example of how a subtle shift in design can actually alter how web visitors perceive your brand.
How to achieve this? You can crop the shapes of your images into rounded frames, add in an array of brightly colored amorphic shapes, switch out your rectangle button shapes for ones with curves. And if you’re springing for the delightful micro-animations made possible with VideoBox we talked about back in our first suggestion, you can check out the soft lines available on some of the video frames. Want to take the formatting of these animated snippets into your own hands? You can use the contour tool to shape the exact kind of organic look and feel you’re hoping for.
A new trend emerging on the scene is split-screen websites, meaning that their content is vertically divided between the two sides of the page. It’s yet another way of inserting visual hierarchy, as well as ‘calming things down’ visually for those who come across your website. This can be a great look if you’re a fashion photographer, or a culinary artist, for instance, searching for a way to separate out your text from your images.
The division has the effect of letting each element of your page breathe, instead of layering everything on top of each other. From a viewer’s perspective, it helps them process each component on its own, rather than attempting to process a variety of types of content at once. One way to still keep some harmony between the two sections, though, is taking advantage of the the point where the two columns merge as an ideal focal point. Place your logo, CTA, or whatever else you hope to steal the show when a visitor lands on your page right here, front and center. The result is a unified look even when a visitor’s gaze is zoomed out. Getting creative with the your layout doesn’t have to mean throwing cohesion out the window.
Departure from the classic grid
You don’t have to take a long look around the Internet to see that we as humans tend to be lovers of all things random. Think of the countless memes you’ve chuckled at, or the BuzzFeed quizzes you’ve skimmed that somehow link your go-to ice cream flavor to your taste in music. A pattern that’s been capturing our attention is unexpected web design components. We’ve seen this reflected in some of the other trends, like geometric shapes, bold background colors, and micro-animations. Now, we want to emphasize how this element of surprise can make an appearance on your website on a bigger scale.
To a visitor’s unfocused eye, being greeted with an asymmetrical layout is unusual enough to break through their Internet daze and convince them to lean in for a closer read. The slightly off-balance appearance, when done right, can hit exactly that right note of riveting, without tipping over into ‘messy.’ Organized chaos, if you will. It could be turning a geometric shape or a video micro-animation into an accent piece that sits slightly to the right or left of where all symmetrical logic seems to indicate it should be, or overlapping slightly with another element. Another possibility is counteracting a large image with white space. Give the photo 40% of the space and preserve the other 60% as a visual pause, to fill only with a CTA or a short headline written in a strong font.
The one vestige of the grid layout that is holding out is – ironically – the grid itself. Yes, the very lines which normally guide you as the designer, yet are invisible to your web audience, are now vying for their time in the spotlight. We’re seeing more grid video overlays and graph paper-esque backgrounds. For the adventurous out there, you can play up the grid effect to really get your retro on with an artistic nod to the early days of the World Wide Web. For those looking to just get their toes wet instead of taking the full plunge, you can try out some staggered and exposed lines across your page. They break up the weight of what’s on the page, and expose the differentiated sizes of your columns or text boxes, while still maintaining a sense of control due to their simplicity and firm structure. We guess it’s a messy break up with the grid, what can we say?
If you’re like us, you’re just itching to jump over to your website to start bringing each one of these trends to life. Yet, we also will put in a word for the wise that clean navigability is a web design principle that never goes out of style. Because ultimately, if your visitors aren’t sure what your website is asking of them, or can’t find what they’re looking for, the coolest animation feature won’t be able to help. In fact, underlying the previous nine trends is a commitment to UX (user experience), so we might as well state it out loud for our final conclusion of what will be big in the coming year.
UX is about identifying the trends that effectively transmit your brand identity messaging and your desired call-to-action right away. Explore how each one might be able to emphasize your pages’ central message. Plus, if you’re able to engage your web audience with enthralling design, there’s a higher chance they’ll stick around on your page. Longer browsing time is a recipe for boosting your SEO. Once you have your website design trends of choice, stick with them, and focus the rest of your energy on keeping your organizational structure airtight and inserting plenty of room for each design element to breathe – because those 2019 trends will be taking your visitors’ breath right away.