We all need to be on our A-game to keep our websites on par with the latest design features, digital technology, and usability standards. Because if we’re not, we’ll lose people. HubSpot found that 90% of people leave a website if it’s poorly designed, and 93% leave if it doesn’t load fast enough.

Here today, gone tomorrow. Like the ever-changing fashion world, website design trends never stay stagnant for long.

Today, we’re looking ahead to 2021. Ah, we love you, Next Year. All filled with newfound hope and stuff.

We take Edna Mode’s approach when it comes to 2020, “I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.”

Whether you use WordPress or another CMS, we hope these web design trends get you PUMPED for your present and future business.

12 Website Design Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

Some things never change…like the need for quality content, website security, and taxes. But that’s not why we’re all here today. We’re here to discuss the new. The fresh. The WOW. “It will be bold. Dramatic. Heroic.” You’ll see.

Here are our top picks for website design trends that will no doubt take over in 2021.

1. Dark Mode

Ooh, sounds devious.

It’s not really. But it does look pretty chic. Swapping your white background for dark grey or black is easier on the eyes, too. With so many of us staring at computer screens all day long, the tech gods started fearing for our eyesight. And they have a point.

Applying dark mode to your website is an ultramodern technique that helps you focus on what’s most important. That brilliant white text will pop now, baby.

2. White Space

Okay, we know what you’re thinking. “You’re contradicting what you just told us!” But we swear that white space is right up there, too, at the top of the list.

White space gives your content and graphics room to b r e a t h e, which helps you and your website visitors breathe better, too.

Seriously! Have you ever hopped on a website filled with clutter and noise? A disorganized site with pop-ups and media flying across the screen is overwhelming. It can even be scary. I literally start feeling claustrophobic and grab my barf bag. You know, just in case.

If you don’t want to experiment with dark mode, opt for adding more negative space to your website. It’ll feel pristine and make your visitors content and happy.

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3. Website Usability, Accessibility, and Availability

We all know that inclusivity is, well, in. It’s hip. It’s cool. The kind way to live always is.

When it comes to your website’s design, you should focus on making it accessible to everyone – including those with disabilities or impairments. You want anyone interested in your products or services to be able to navigate your site and engage with your content, right?

User Experience Definitions

    • Accessibility: Making your website accessible to anyone
    • Usability: Enabling people to use your website effectively, safely, efficiently, and in a way that’s enjoyable
    • Availability: Allowing users to access your website and use it as intended

If you’ve never prioritized any of these “abilities” in your business, you have your work cut out for you. “Go! Confront the problem! Fight! Win!” Doing so will help you reach more people, boost conversions, and improve SEO.

4. Animation

Animation has been trying to weave its way into our lives for ages. And don’t get me wrong, it has. But this year, it’s like a chubby kid doing a cannonball in the middle of the pool with everyone watching. In other words, it’s going to be a whole lot of fun this time.

Brands are starting to add more visual interest and interactivity to their websites. Moving 3D content, rotating animations, micro-interactions, and creative scrolling techniques are taking the stage.

5. Voice-Activated Search

You’ve probably already heard about this – at least for smartphones. All the kids are talking about it. Come to think of it, so is my visually impaired grandmother.

Did you know that websites are starting to introduce voice search options also? Yeah, no, I’m not kidding. In a 2019 Adobe study, 91% of brands were already investing in voice.

In the coming months, you’ll start seeing little voice chatbots and virtual assistants appear on websites for many forward-thinking brands. Do you want to be counted among them?

6. Gradients

Are back!

Consider creatively incorporating gradients into the background of your hero images. Add them to buttons or as subtle overlays on bold text or graphics.

Gradients have the power to add depth and texture to your website, creating distinct visual interest.

7. Faster Speeds

Speed has been on trend for, well, ever. But in 2021, things are speeding up even more – we’re talking superhero-fast. For page load times, three seconds tops is the new normal. On mobile, your website should load even faster.

Speeding up your website page load time will help you keep more visitors onsite. It will also help your website rank higher in search engine results so more people can find you.

If that means moving to a more minimalist website and cleaning up some extra crap that’s slowing things down, now’s the time.

8. Big, Bad, Bold Colors

Colors this year will be more saturated, vibrant, and intense. You’ll also see some unusual color combos across the web.

It’s the year to try something new and exciting. Maybe it’s time to start that rebrand you’ve been thinking about so you can add some bolder and brighter colors to your company image. If you make your website unique, people will remember you.

Speaking of color, psychology is all the rage these days (what do they expect when we’ve been cooped up in our homes all year?). When choosing a color palette for your website, keep in mind which colors trigger which emotions. Specific colors will encourage visitors to take certain actions.

It’s time to get in your customers’ heads. Hopefully, it’s not too scary in there. And then choose your colors intentionally to:

  • Invite them in (blue),
  • Excite them (red),
  • Make them feel powerful (black),
  • Get them to think creatively (violet), or
  • Make them happy (yellow or orange).

However, you want your visitors to feel, you can – with color.

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9. Smart Content Loading

Smart content takes the user into account. An intelligent website will download content based on a user’s specific needs.

Smart content loading is a strategy that values the visitor and helps speed up page load time. “How” you ask? By only downloading the content someone wants and needs to see.

Smart content helps personalize the buyer’s journey. And personalization enables you to build a relationship with your current and future customers.

10. Minimalism

We already mentioned how white space – AKA breathing room – is super important. Clear space improves readability, looks super sleek, and allows visitors to focus on what’s most important, without distractions. Having less stuff on your website also helps pages load faster.

But we want you to know you can be a minimalist without making everything look sterile and boring. Here are some ideas:

  • Turn your white background into a solid color.
  • Add some bold text, but don’t add too much.
  • Consider switching your serif fonts to sans-serif.
  • Add some 2D illustrations (flat design).
  • Be as straightforward as possible – in every way imaginable.
  • Switch to a hamburger menu (specifically on your mobile site).

11. Organic Shapes

We’re moving from sharp, rigid lines to smooth, fluid shapes. You can use them to break up white space and lead the eye around the page – or even from one page to the next.

You can also mix your shapes with photography, creating depth, unity, and loads of personality. Use asymmetrical shapes to balance your text, buttons, and other design elements throughout your website.

12. Huge Fonts

We’ve gotta keep an eye on those fonts. They’re getting bigger and bolder all the time.

In 2021, typography is also taking center stage. Headlines are huge, telling visitors exactly what’s going on the moment they hit the page.

We humans just don’t have the time or the patience to go poking around your website. We need answers immediately – if not sooner. Did you know that humankind has a shorter attention span these days than goldfish? It’s quite sad actually. The fish beat us out nine seconds to eight.

So capture my attention with big headers, then drive home your message with a smidge of subtext. If I don’t get what’s happening within a couple of seconds, I’m out. Is that too much to ask?

Are You Keeping Up with the Latest Website Design Trends?

We can help you with that.

If you’re ready for a website refresh or WordPress redesign and you live in the Seattle area, we’d love to meet you in person! If you don’t live around here, we still want to partner with you. It’ll just be over the phone or screen, but that’s the new normal these days anyway.

Let us know how we can help, and we’ll start with a whizbang discovery call. Book your free consult with us today!

*We attribute all quotes throughout this article to Miss Edna Mode – a superhero in our eyes who’s fabulously on-trend.