The Internet is now home to over 1.83 billion websites as of January 2021. And though there are a lot of inactive sites that are still scattered, there are still an estimated 400 million active websites. And in around three to four minutes after you actually finish reading this article, there are probably a new thousand new sites born.
And did you know that web designs are very critical in building a good, online presence so that you can engage users and customers. In a 2020 statistics, 94% of a site’s first impression is directed to its web design that’s why it’s important to create a website that has visually aesthetic design.
Not only that, 75% of the credibility of a website is also attributed to a site’s web design. With many scams running around, having a well-designed website can make your website more trustworthy. Otherwise, you could also lose sales.
So in order to create a high-quality website, it’s good to also take notes from the different UI and UX trends. This way you get the pulse of most users when it comes to interacting websites which can help you curate a website that your users will love.
What is the difference between UI and UX?
Before we hop into the list of trends, let’s first define UI and UX and their differences. These two terms are the most commonly confused, misused, and interchanged terms in the field. But the important thing to note about this is that they go hand in hand.
UI means user interface design and this basically tackles the site’s interface – how it looks and how it functions. And this is strictly a digital term. It focuses on visual touchpoints which allow users to engage and interact with the site like when you order coffee from an online app.
On the other hand, UX means user experience and is focused on the overall feel and experience. It creates structural design solutions for a product’s or site’s pain points and ensures an effective and smooth journey through the site.
Dain Miller, a web developer, put it into an analogy that is easier to understand. He said, “UI is the saddle, the stirrups, and the reins. UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse.”
Top 10 UI and UX Trends for 2021
This year, the 2021 predictions for web design share a common theme. As opposed to hi-tech fantasy themes, web designers are now looking to take realism into new heights by blending the digital and the ordinary. But of course, there are still the 2020 trends that made their way this year.
Minimalism originally emerged in the late 1950s with artists like Frank Stella. His Black Paintings which were exhibited in 1959 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York turned away from the art of the previous generation. By the ‘60s through the ‘70s, this aesthetic design flourished.
In the last few years, minimalism came back with a hype. It became one of the most followed styles from celebrities to influencers. And in terms of UI trends, it remains to be a favorite. With minimalism, users are not overloaded with so many things all at once. Graphic elements are simpler from colors to compositions and also proportions. And with everything that is happening around, a minimalist design is like a refreshing and clean patch of green to the eyes.
If you want to do minimalistic right, then check out the Japanese brand Syan.
2. Simplified UX
This is like the counterpart of minimalism in UX. And in 2021 with still a lot going on, complicated interfaces that force users to do extra steps are a no-go. With the simplified UX, the elements and fields that customers or users fill out are minimized.
For example in many marketplace sites, there are now options of simplified registration and signing in. You no longer have to enter your email again and again, you can simply click “Continue with Google, Facebook, or Apple.” As long as your account is logged in to your browser, then you can easily create an account.
3. Comfortable Colors
The concept of comfortable colors is to deliver a website that is focused on making it easier for the eyes. Especially with the highly increasing digital nature of many work, a lot of people spend hours on the computer. If they look at your site with so many bright colors then they might click that “X” button and proceed to another one.
This 2021, web design is all about stripping back to “one job at a time” as noted by Claire Taylor, Senior Product Designer at 99designs. And so with colors, web designers found a middle ground of color palettes with greens, pastel blues, warm browns, and light pinks. These colors are less distracting and more comfortable which induce calm and relaxation.
Subtle and cool colors help improve user’s length of engagement on your site. One good example of a site employing this technique is cozzzy.
4. Gradient Background
We’ve seen it with icons first like the newest color of Instagram and Messenger. Gradients was one of the most popular trends back then and it still remains one of the many favorite web designs but with a twist.
Today, gradients are lighter but more complex. That is, earlier designers used around 2-3 colors in linear gradients but now there can be as much as 10. In addition, you can also use an overlay. It’s like a temperamental outburst that is fun and colorful but not too much that it becomes straining to the eyes.
If you want to use a gradient background, take inspiration from Stripe, a financial services and software company.
5. Unique Illustrations
This year, illustrations on websites are taking a less generic approach. This has been quite a staple in the UI trends and its innovations are making sure it stays. Before, web designers go for minimalistic illustrations to keep users focused and make the site more comprehensible.
But this year, web designers are experimenting more with styles using unusual angles, proportions, and storylines. Illustrations have become fancier and more attention-grabbing. Just a tip, it’s best to use an SVG format to ensure that illustrations will stay high-quality even when screen resolution is increased.
One of the best examples of websites that perfectly use unique illustrations is Magnet Co. It’s so distinct that you will surely remember it.
6. Parallax Animation
From images, we’ve moved on to interactive ones and we have witnessed the rise of these web based animations. Year after year, web animations have evolved and innovated. This 2021, web designers are taking the complexity a notch higher through separating page elements into the extremes of foreground and background which creates the parallax effect.
The parallax effect creates an illusion of depth in a 2D scene like a website. The technique was first used in the 1930s in traditional animation and now it’s setting a whole new trend in web design. With the parallax effect, users become more immersed in the site.
You can check out sites like The New York Times which uses this technique.
Last year, neomorphism was all the hype with its minimalist realism. Its style is a combination of skeuomophism which incorporates outdated materials into current designs and the flat design.
But for 2021, a new trend called glassmorphism is taking its spot on the trendlist. This technique employs the blur effect so that when users look at an element on the screen, it looks like they’re looking through glass.
One stylish glassmorphism that you should definitely aspire to is Yacht Booking Service Application.
8. Onboarding Questionnaires
The onboarding process which is the time a user visits the website’s landing page is one of the most critical parts in their interaction with the website. And so many brands are now taking it more innovatively. That is, instead of having users read product descriptions, they use quizzes and personable multiple choice questions to foster engagement and interactivity.
One brand that uses this type of design is the vitamin brand care/of used by many influencers. They let you take a quiz to know what vitamins you want and need based on daily activities and preferences.
9. Mobile First
These days, more and more individuals surf the net through mobile browsers (70% of Internet time of most users). That’s why it’s very important that your site is well-fitted for mobile interface. In a 2020 statistics, 74% of users are more likely to visit mobile-friendly websites again.
To make a mobile first approach, ensure that you have a responsive design so that it will look and feel good in any device. Additionally, thumb-friendly call-to-action buttons are also very helpful in creating a better mobile experience.
10. Web Design for a Cause
This is a design trend that followed the COVID-19 pandemic wherein the internet has become a refuge for many. So this 2021, there will be more designs that resonate with the many social and environmental movements. This is the year that digital spaces become spaces that bring awareness to many societal issues through interactive means.