Web Design Innovation - What to Expect in 2021

2020 was the year where conducting business online became essential, thanks to Covid. 


Consumers were either in lockdown or practising social distancing, and company websites became a vital link for e-commerce and conveying important safety information. We saw many companies pivot to online sales and focus their efforts on improving web design functionality. The pandemic has influenced the messaging behind website design too, with many organisations adopting a kinder, more empathetic tone. 


So what does 2021 have in store?  We expect web design in NZ this year to capitalise on the learnings of 2020, and more small businesses will look to start or improve their website design in NZ.


Visual Trends


Clean minimal designs are making a comeback in 2021, often with a focus on bold and creative typography.  Blur is another feature showing up in many new websites, allowing developers to create a suggestion of depth and separate foreground from background. Noise, grain and other visual effects are another popular technique to give your site a more natural feel that is less clinical. In general, expect to see website visuals that offer a positive, helpful and healthy vibe. Kindness is ‘in’. 


Animation and 3D effects were often discouraged in the past because they took too long to load, but HTML5 technology has changed the landscape. We’re seeing some beautiful 3D motion, animation and interactive UI design elements out there. The popularity of animated emojis on mobile platforms has seen a parallel increase in the use of GIFs in web design. Who would have thought GIFs would be so popular in 2021! Lottie files are a new lightweight, scalable animation format that works on all devices—one of the many innovative new web animation technologies bringing websites to life.


No Code/Low Code 


As part of the drive to make websites more functional, transactional and economical, many designers and developers are turning to no-code or low-code tools and apps to provide back-end functions. These cloud-based tools can be linked together to offer services such as data collection, e-commerce, and database management. The term ‘no code’ can be a little misleading, as these technologies still demand a level of skill that requires input from professional website designers.


Community


There is a strong movement for more engagement by SME’s in their local communities, and we envisage guest blogging, online competitions and other collaborations will become increasingly popular this year. Optimising websites for local search will be a big focus too, as businesses have learnt how important it is to be visible to customers in your area. The risk of cancellation has led many organisations to switch to virtual events, including streamed concerts, online conferences and even fashion shows. The technology costs for streaming have dropped dramatically, and we believe more businesses will start to incorporate live stream features into their websites.


Less Social Media 


There is concern about the increasing power social media companies have over the internet, but there is also growing resistance and pushback from consumers. We expect to see business owners redirect some of their social media budgets into website optimisation and content marketing. There is good reason to be a little sceptical about the advertising metrics provided by platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, as you can only take the information at face value. Analytics from your website give a much better indication of traffic volumes and sales conversions.


Integration


Integrating your website into your business software eco-system is the final trend we think will accelerate this year, as cloud-based integration tools become cheaper and more sophisticated. Some of the many options for integration include:

  • Feeding contact form details into your CRM application
  • Passing Shopify data into Xero 
  • Capturing website bookings with Calendly

If it’s time to give your website a boost—talk to the team at Activate Design. We do web design, graphic design, app development, branding, content marketing and SEO optimisation. We’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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