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Web Design Trends for 2021

Read Time 8 mins Published Aug 27, 2020

As the world becomes more and more connected, web design trends in 2021 will be vital for a company trying to reach new audiences – who are more distracted than ever before. Staying on top of these trends will not only benefit your website, but also your brand. Let’s take a look.

The web is constantly evolving and adapting. User expectations are no different.

Designs and technologies are changing at such a fast pace that it seems almost impossible to keep up with the latest trends. But, it’s crucial to recognize the difference between a passing fad and a solid trend that will deliver real results. From algorithm updates to dark colors, how do savvy businesses cope with these changes?

  • They harness the power of their website, constantly refreshing it to meet the needs of their audience.
  • They find new and unique ways to connect, interact and engage with customers online.
  • They plan ahead and are open about new ways to reach their audience.
  • They constantly adapt themselves to stay ahead of their competition.

Innovative Conversion is the Name of the Game in 2021

In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s just way too easy to get lost in the thousands of other websites that may look just like yours. It’s not just enough to have a great-looking website anymore, it must also convert.

No doubt, 2020 has already brought about a lot of change. At CMDS, our web design company recommend that brands keep things simple to not overwhelm users. Some of our favorite web design trends into 2021 include: dark mode, mixed media, Voice User Interface (VUI), and a strong focus on page speed and user experience. Out with the old. In with the new.

Read on and get inspired!

  1. Dark Mode
  2. Mixed Media
  3. Voice User Interface (VUI)
  4. Page Speed
  5. User Experience

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Web Design Trends Throughout 2020 and into 2021: Our Five Favorites

Regardless of your business size and industry, these website design trends into 2021, and beyond can serve as your go-to-guide to refresh and future-proof your website design.

Dark Mode

Colors are the number one influencing factor affecting purchasing decisions. And, it’s one of the most exciting tools for a web designer to communicate a brand’s message. Color not only has the power to draw attention, but also has a direct influence on emotions and actions. Scientists have studied colors and their effects on our mood, feelings and behavior for centuries. For example, red is often a bold, attention-seeking color exuding power, confidence and action.

Research shows that people judge products within 90 seconds of exposure — and the majority (90%) of that judgment is based on color alone. In today’s world where first impressions are formed in a split second, color can help a designer capture a user’s attention and quickly communicate a message.

Colors are great for attracting attention and highlighting call-to-actions. Interestingly, ads in color read up to 40% more often that same ads in black and white. Color combinations can be hot or cold, light or dark, pale or bright. But, too many colors can be distracting to the eye and actually decrease a viewer’s ability to remember information which is why it’s vital to find the right balance.

web design trends that will make you shout

According to the trend forecasting service WGSN, we will be seeing a lot more of A.I. Aqua, an electric shade of blue, over the next year in fashion, tech and interiors. When selecting this “positive” hue with an innovative feel, WGSN factored in the arrival of 5G, which is set to be widely available by 2021. Blue shades are a popular color for internet searches, and also for the branding of tech companies.

Every year, we see different website design trends surrounding colors. Last year, bright, vibrant colors were trending. This year, dark mode web designs have become more popular. For practical purposes, dark mode helps to reduce eye strain and saves device battery power (a bonus for those spending more time on their devices). But, it’s important to note that dark mode doesn’t mean a website without color.

When it comes to website aesthetics, dark mode gives your company website an ultra-modern look and the ability to highlight certain design elements in color. The experience is more relaxing for users and allows content to pop out on the page…almost as if content is pulsing with energy.

2021 is the time of dark mode, but the appropriate website color scheme will always be specific to the brand and the audience that they intend to reach. Whether you need a new website or a facelift on an old website you’ve come to the right place.

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Mixing Media


Hey, what are you looking at? It’s OK, we realize your attention turned to the video above, right? It’s nearly impossible to ignore it since it’s moving…and since there’s food involved.

We all get distracted by things that move. Which is exactly why savvy brands today know that video is a critical component of a successful company website. Once a unique decorative element to a website it is now an expectation. Interactive backgrounds and animations give brands the chance to make a memorable impression by immediately attracting the user’s attention even more so than a static image.

Video is here to stay.

The key is to inspire your audience and showcase your unique vibe they won’t be able to find anywhere else. Whether it’s through branded video content or animation, dynamic tools can be integrated to work seamlessly in the background for scrolling or used as the focal point of the homepage to deliver a very powerful branding opportunity. But don’t just pick a video because you think it looks cool. It must be relevant to your business and audience’s needs without creating chaos.

Another trending UX website design trend in 2021 is mixing media. Whether overlapping graphic elements on images or implementing micro animations, web designers get to unleash their creativity to convey a unique message for brands and keep visitors engaged.

Plus, mixing media is flexible for a wide range of industries. Whether you’re creating a playful graphic for products or adding serious highlights for a pharmaceutical website, it’s a perfect way to customize website designs and add that extra layer of engagement for users.

Modern brands need to take advantage of modern technology. But, similar to colors trends, more is not better. Brands must tread lightly with this web trend, too. If your web design is too busy, visitors might find your site chaotic and bounce before taking action. Keep in mind that if mixed media doesn’t fit your brand identity, leave it out.

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Voice User Interface (VUI)

The way we access information is always changing. Back in 2010, Google announced at the Mobile World Congress that web designers should be putting mobile first going forward. More than ten years later, we hope you’ve taken note that mobile-friendly website designs aren’t optional anymore. Ever since mobile users started outnumbering desktop users, Google has been factoring in mobile-first indexing into algorithms. The goal is to encourage businesses to update to a responsive web design and enhance their online experience for mobile users.

According to Google:
“Every day, people are becoming more reliant on their smartphones to help make last-minute purchases or spur-of-the-moment decisions. In fact, smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago.”

Key elements, including a clean homepage design, simple navigation, seamless contact forms and usability, will enhance your customer’s experience and reduce bounce rates. At the same time, it will help fill your SEO bucket and outrank the competition in Google’s search results as well.

But, building for mobile first is so much more than ensuring it has a responsive design that adapts to whatever screen your audience is using (although that is a huge part of it). It also involves creating designs that are based on understanding micro-moments. Micro-moments are the key reasons why a consumer would reach for their mobile device:

  • “I want to know.”
  • “I want to go.”
  • “I want to do.”
  • “I want to buy.”

According to Google:
“People are searching at the exact moment they need something and are looking for places that can meet their immediate needs. In other words, when making these on-the-spot decisions, they are more loyal to their need than to any particular place.”

But instead of typing into Google, more and more users are choosing voice-activated search over text. Siri has been around for about ten years now and there’s no looking back. What does this mean for websites? Implementing a voice user interface (VUI) via voice chatbots and virtual assistants can allow the user to interact with a system through voice or speech commands.

Over the next year, we expect this technology to be a game-changer for website design trends. The primary advantage of a VUI is to allow bands to offer users the best experience so they can interact with the brand with ease. From healthcare to hospitality, top brands are racing to release their own VUI to win over customers.

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Page Speed

mobile first in web design trends
For years, fast loading times have been an essential part of web design standards. Studies show that more than half of users expect a website to load quickly – no more than two seconds after clicking on a link. And if it takes just one more second, visitors will most likely leave.
There’s no question that website performance has a direct impact on an organization’s bottom line.

Page speed, how fast content on a page loads, is a standard metric we analyze to maximize a good user experience and improve SEO. At CMDS, we optimize speed with fast web hosting, clean coding practices, image optimization, caching, and much more.

77% of smartphone shoppers are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly.
Think with Google, Google/Ipsos, U.S., Playbook Omnibus 2019.

Not sure if your website is fast enough in Google’s eyes? Check out Google’s testing tool, Test My Site, to find out what’s slowing your website down! Chances are, it may have something to do with your website design. All you need to do is enter your domain name and the report will tell you how to speed up loading times.

User Experience

Does your website experience cause unnecessary stress for users? Are they fumbling around to find what they need, or worse, leaving immediately and never coming back? Stressful website experiences can lead to high bounce rates and low conversions. Whether it’s due to slow page speed, overwhelming colors, or a clunky interface, the last thing you want is to damage the user experience with unnecessary stress.

Instead, we want to welcome them to your website with a meaningful and memorable experience. When it comes to a good user experience (UX), the goal is to help users do what they want to do when interacting with your business. In fact, in 2021, user experience will be an important Google ranking factor. The new update, Google Page Experience, means that if Google thinks that your users will have a subpar experience navigating your website, it may not be ranked as high as it is now. This will include UX factors such as HTTPS ranking, safe browsing, page speed, and mobile-friendliness.

Less is more. And when it comes to websites, minimalistic website designs with fewer elements can make a massive impact. It makes sense. Perhaps one of the most classic and timeless website design trends, minimalism is often the “go-to” design of choice. Apple is a prime example of using white space (although now with dark colors) to achieve a minimalistic design.

The less fluff on a website, the less your target audience will have to think about. But that doesn’t give free reign to go in and delete most of the elements on a website without holding back. When designed correctly, a simple website will deliver what the audience needs, exactly how they need it for a better user experience.

Whether through white space, contrast or clear typography, minimalistic designs allow users to naturally focus on the right message without getting distracted by other things. The key is to understand what those important elements are first and then hone in on the details.

With consumer expectations higher than ever, brands must focus on clearly communicating their message to make the right connections. Because when the UX of your site makes a connection, those people are more likely to stick around and become customers.

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Web Design Trends to Inspire Your 2021 Strategy

Remember, these website design trends should be used as an inspiration to create your own hand-crafted piece of art website that delivers the most powerful message. You don’t (and shouldn’t) add everything at once, so as not to create chaos. But, you also need to monitor current trends so your site doesn’t look outdated.

Whether you are starting from scratch or refreshing an old website design, contact CMDS and put our talented website designers to work for you!

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