Website Design Trends 2021

Jul 6, 2021Website Tips

What are website design trends looking like for 2021 and beyond? This article and video shows what I see as important trends that will be taking shape over 2021 and beyond that will make or break the success of your website. Plus 3 tips to make sure your site is fit for 2021.

Or more importantly, what will websites need to do and look like to be successful for 2021 and beyond? And how has a world pandemic impacted online usage and how ?

So, here’s what I see are the website design trends for 2021 and how this will affect your website.

Quick and Fast

Websites need to be quick. Quick to load and quick to digest.

This is because we live in a society where we’ve become reliant on being able to access information quickly.

Stats show that in 2020, 84% of adults in the UK own a smartphone

And 96% of households in Great Britain have access to the internet

The Impact of Covid and Lockdown

And Ofcom report that UK’s internet usage has surged to record levels this year (2020) most likely because of Covid and Lockdown measures across the globe.

With lockdowns in various guises, we’ve been driven online more than ever.

We’re staying in touch on social media. We make purchase research and decisions online. We buy online. We are conducting calls, meetings, trainings and a whole bunch of stuff online.

So much so that if we weren’t already doing it before, we’re certainly doing it now and what’s more, we’ve got used to it.

This is how it’s going be going forward.

So how are we business owners going to survive this?

How does this affect website design trends for 2021?

We need to design websites that are going to reflect this new way of being online.

What does that look like for 2021?

Here’s my view.

Simple is good

Websites are going to be pared down, so that they’re simpler. No more complex sites with tricky navigation, stunning animation effects or eye watering graphics.

And this is for two reasons:

Fast to load and digest

Website design trends for 2021

Firstly, our tendency to research and make decisions happens in seconds.

When we arrive on a website, we take seconds to decide whether we’re even in the right place and to carry on looking.

Which means that we must make sure that when someone visits our website, they can instantly see in 3-5 seconds that they’re in the right place.

And I’m not just referring to page load speeds, which is of course ultra important.

I also mean imagery and text which must relay in a few seconds exactly who you help, what you help with and the results you give them.

User Experience (Google knows!)

Secondly, user experience is everything and it’s not just speed and content.

Google are rolling out a major algorithm update which will change what sites it delivers in search results.

Even if your site doesn’t rely on being found in search, it still makes sense to comply with what Google thinks is good.

Google analyses the data it collects from millions and millions of websites, so they are best placed to see the trends.

It’s no longer just about unique content and page load speed (although these are still important).

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

And that includes providing a good user experience. If a website provides a bad user experience, then it won’t favour that website.

Mobile First

Since more than 80% of users access the internet via their phones, the mobile experience is more important than desktop.

Knowing that that means what you see on the mobile is simple, clean and clutter-free.

And the page needs to load super fast.

We haven’t got the patience to hang around and wait for pages to load. If a page takes too long to load that counts as a bad user experience as far as Google is concerned.

As far as a user is concerned, they just hit the back button. Hitting the back button is called a bounce and Google takes note of this (see below).

What about Parallax and Hover-over effects

Designers are continually finding cool ways to liven up web pages with parallax effects (the background seems to move independently of the content that’s in front) and hover-over effects with content being reveals when you mouse over.

They may be cool but how useful are they to the aim of the site?

If they don’t add a positive experience to the user or help aid the visitor’s journey, then they’re a waste of time. And if they add to page load speeds, then they’re definitely not worth having.

Scrolling Banner Fatigue

Scrolling banners are the images that rotate across the top of the website displaying mini promotions about the sites services or information.

Did you know that people perceive them as adverts? So they largely ignore them.

Not only that, scrolling banners are distracting as you try to read the rest of the site.

The motion of the scrolling images draws the eye away from what you want them to read and/or take the action that you want them to take.

So, my view is, it’s better not to have them.

Shifting Images and Buttons

Google has developed the capability of recognizing items like images and buttons shift about too much as the page loads.

Google call this Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS.

Shifting items as the page loads, Google determines is a bad experience for users. (I’ve got another blog post coming about how to discover how your website scores for CLS).

Which is another reason for keeping the web page simple, clean, and clutter-free.

Bounce rate

High bounce rates have been an indicator for Google for some time now.

Bounce is when someone lands on your website and then without interacting any further, hits the back button on the browser.

This tells Google it’s a bad site and if users continue to ‘bounce’ the site will drop in rankings since Google is learning from the bounce rate that your site isn’t relevant to that search result.

3 Top Tips for Good Website Design 2021 and beyond.

So here are my top three design tips for website design going forward from 2021.

1. Keep the top of the page areas clutter-free and simple.

Simplify your navigation menu to just those items that a prospect needs to take the action you want them to take (book a call or make a purchase).

If your navigation menu has too many options, then that’s confusing and overwhelming which will result in the user doing nothing.

Taking no action is not what you want your website visitors to do.

Deciding whether something should be included or not? Answer the question, does it guide and help my visitor take the next action I want them to take?

If it’s ‘no’ then don’t include it.

2. Make sure your primary/hero message is succinct and clear.

The hero message is what people see when then first land your website.

This message needs to convey who you serve and the problem that you solve.

Use an image that shows a dream client(s) having success with your product or service.

The best images depict happy smiling people enjoying the results of having their problem solved, so that your potential customers can picture themselves in it being that happy customer with their problem resolved.

Make sure that any images you use are optimized for speed. That means that they’re not over (or under) sized in both dimensions and file size.

3. Ensure there is a clear next step for them to take.

Guide your site visitors to the next step in their journey with you.

Should they call you, schedule a call, buy now.

Whatever it is, be sure it’s a direct call to action.

Having a clear next step helps direct the user to what they must do next. Don’t leave them to guess.

Website Design Trends 2021

So there you go. Simple, clutter-free and clear messaging are my predictions for website design trends for 2021 to ensure that your website helps your business survive and thrive in the next few years.

Next step

If you want some help getting your website fit for 2021, then please do get in touch.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay