62% of businesses update their websites at least quarterly and 30% of them – on a monthly basis.
These days, modern website design is more important than ever and why businesses are allocating more budget to upgrading their websites more frequently.
In this article, we will show you the hottest current and upcoming web design trends that will help you attract more users, increase on-site interactions and, ultimately, conversions.
What Does Modern Website Design Look Like In 2021?
Modern website design is quite different from what it was 10 or even five years ago.
Simply look up a design evolution timeline of your favorite website and you’ll be surprised at how much it has changed over the years.
Facebook would be a great example – check it out:
Web design is a very fast-paced field. Some breakthrough solutions of 2021 can become obsolete as early as in 2022 and will be laughed at in 2024.
Because of that, you are probably wondering:
What exactly makes website design modern in 2021?
To answer that question, let us outline the key elements of a beautiful, functional website of today:
- Minimalism: Minimalism is not even a trend in contemporary web design – it’s a standard. You will find its influence in most of your favorite blogs, online stores or landing pages. Tons of white space, clean typography and scarce text are prevalent on small up-and-coming blogs and corporate pages of huge companies alike.
- Responsiveness: Mobile devices generate 51.53% of global web traffic. Responsive or mobile-first design is essential to ensuring that your website is accessible via a variety of devices with different screen sizes and operating systems.
- Speed: 47% of people want your website to load in under 2 seconds and 40% will abandon it after 3 seconds of waiting. Slow websites are simply unacceptable in 2021. Optimizing the loading speed of your website should be one of your top priorities.
3 Data-Driven Reasons To Modernize Your Website Design
Understanding the benefits of modern website design means being able to answer one key question:
How will modernizing my website impact my bottom line?
Here are the top three data-driven answers:
Reason #1: It Will Do Wonders To Your Brand Image
Website visitors only need around 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about it. (Taylor & Francis Online)
Whether you are in the B2B or the B2C market, your website is one of your greatest assets. It’s your business card, product brochure and lead-generation tool all in one.
In most cases, your website is the first point of contact between your business and your customers.
This means that their first impressions of your brand will be based on your website and 94% of them will be design-related.
If the website unattractive and outdated, your customers will perceive your business as such.
On the other hand, if your website design is modern and responsive, it will help turn your prospective clients into existing ones.
Reason #2: It Helps With Your SEO
68% of users start their online journey with a search engine. (BrightEdge)
Website design plays an important role in your SEO strategy, albeit indirectly.
Sure, it does not influence your Google ranking like keywords and backlinks do, however, a minimalist, responsive, fast-loading website is easier for the visitors to navigate and find the information they’re looking for.
This is the basis for a good user experience that will encourage your visitors to stay on your website longer, engage with it, revisit or recommend it to other users.
As a result, your time on page goes up and bounce rates go down. These two metrics are Google’s content quality indicators and, as such, can make or break your chances to rank in the top 10 search results for your target keywords.
Reason #3: It Will Boost Your Revenue
62% of businesses increase their sales by optimizing their website for mobile devices. (Cision)
If your website is optimized for mobile devices, you are probably losing over half of your lead base.
Brands are increasingly investing in mobile-friendly or mobile-first designs to engage this growing market segment and grow online conversions.
Top 5 User Interface (UI) Website Design Trends
We have covered the key characteristics of modern website design and the data-backed reasons to invest in one.
Now, let us explore in greater detail the most important modern web design trends in 2021 – starting with UI design:
UI Trend #1: Negative Space
Minimalism remains popular in web design in 2021.
One of its most prevalent elements is negative space.
A lot of web designers have turned to leaving large portions of web pages completely blank – and for a few good reasons.
Purposeful and tasteful use of negative space can not only make a website stand out from the crowd, it can also make it much easier to navigate as it is visually lighter.
While it is mostly a UI trend, as it has to do with the aesthetic side of web design, it can also contribute to improving the UX.
Negative space can accentuate product descriptions and CTAs, highlighting a path that will lead your visitors to conversions.
Apple is one of the companies that pioneered negative space in web design. Note how the images of the laptops and the blue-colored CTAs instantly draw your attention.
Mozilla took a similar approach with the homepage for their Firefox web browser. The colorful hero image and the shortcuts that lead to the product pages stand out on the empty white background.
Using negative space on an eCommerce website can be tricky unless it fits your brand vision. In the case of the Palace clothing brand, it does. Their website is easy to navigate and the heavy use of white space compliments the brand’s minimalistic, underground aesthetic.
UI Trend #2: 3D Graphics
Immersive 3D visuals are not new in web design. However, more websites are using them now.
3D graphics used to be very expensive to make and took a heavy toll on the page loading speed.
But that’s no longer the case. This year, 3D visuals are more affordable and more popular than ever.
Graphic designers now access to numerous tools that make 3D modeling less effort- and time-consuming.
Plus, with the onset of 5G and innovative image formats, page loading speed isn’t as much of a concern anymore.
3D graphics can completely transform the visual identity of your website. By adding a sense of depth, they make your website appear more immersive and realistic.
Be sure to use them with moderation, though. Too much 3D can come off as kitschy and cripple the performance of your website.
Payment provider Stripe managed to avoid that. Even though they use plenty of animated and 3D elements on the website, they are all tasteful and work towards establishing a unique brand identity.
However, it would be hard for Stripe to beat Beans Agency in using 3D to establish a brand identity.
See for yourself:
The website of Canadian digital agency Turbulent is a great example of how to take 3D a step further.
All of their visual elements are animated and follow the visitor’s journey, creating an immersive experience.
UI Trend #3: Bold Typography
Today, modern web design means using typography that will make a real statement.
The usual serif and sans-serif fonts are still widely used. But they’re hardly attention-grabbing.
What is attention-grabbing, on the other hand, is a bold, oversized type that occupies a large chunk of the visitors’ screens
Odd spacing and layout are equally as trendy, but just like with 3D graphics, make sure to use them sparingly. They walk a fine line between helping your content stand out and making it unreadable.
Swiss finance institution Golden Suisse does not use daring typefaces on their website. However, they combine oversized typography with negative space, creating a website that looks minimalistic and modern.
French interactive developer Florent Biffi takes a different approach to typography on his portfolio website. Here, the type is a design element that makes an impression despite being practically unreadable.
An extreme example of bold typography would be The Badass Project photography studio. The type on their homepage is animated, consists of several fonts, overlaps with other elements and consistently occupies your entire screen.
UI Trend #4: Dark Mode
This list would be incomplete without the now ubiquitous dark mode.
Even though it was first pioneered by mobile apps, dark mode now becoming popular in website design.
While it may seem like a gimmick, dark mode has several benefits that justify its widespread use:
- Improved battery life by as much as 63% on devices with OLED screens.
- Higher contrast that can help accentuate the key elements of a webpage, such as the CTAs
- Interactivity that the optional dark mode adds will make the users feel more in control over their experience.
Independent search engine DuckDuckGo is one of the best examples of modern web design that implements interactive dark mode – and more. Users can choose between six appearance themes, two of which are variants of the dark mode.
Slack implements a similar solution, allowing the users to switch between Light and Dark appearances, as well as choose one of multiple highlight color schemes.
As for social media websites, Twitter would be a great example of implementing interactive dark mode. In fact, there are two dark modes for the users to choose from that vary in, well, how dark they are.
UI Trend #5: Vivid Color Combinations
Between 62% and 90% of consumers’ first impressions of a product are defined by colors.
In 2021, colors are as important in website design as ever. This year, the hottest color trend are vivid, unusual combinations of neon, fluorescent and pastel shades.
Take GlobeKit as an example. The colors are not only vibrant but dynamic and blend as you scroll down the homepage.
Manila-based agency GnGn takes a different approach. The color palette of their website is more futuristic and the animations are more immersive.
Another interesting example is Material Interactivity – a website developed by Jongmin Kim to showcase the interactivity of Google’s Material Design. Interestingly, it also showcases the 2021 color trends in a very minimalistic manner.
Top 5 User Experience (UX) Web Design Trends
This year, UX design continues to leverage technology to personalize the visitors’ on-site experience
Besides tech, leading websites are humanizing their content through storytelling to the users’ emotional response.
Here are the top UX design trends in 2021:
UX Trend #1: Conversational UX
Conversational UX design serves to make a visitor’s interaction with your website as ‘human’ as possible.
In website design, that can be achieved via an in-built chatbot or interactivity.
A good example of conversational design is the website of Buzzworthy Studios. Interestingly, they integrated the chatbot functionality into their CTA.
The contact form that opens once you click on the CTA is an interactive step-by-step process that flows like a natural conversation with a sales manager.
UX Trend #2: Human-Centric Copy
Another prominent UX design trend is human-centric copy. Its main purpose is to show your audience that there are real people behind your website.
Humanizing your copy will not only create a more memorable experience for your visitors but will also make your website stand out in the sea of webpages with boilerplate content.
TurboTax uses human-centric copy and design to convey a feeling of trustworthiness and reliability. Simply note how many times the word “guarantee” and its variants appear in the text!
Their website is designed to turn something as complicated and bureaucratic as filing taxes into a pleasant, effortless user experience.
UX Trend #3: Storytelling
Telling the story of your product or business on your website is a great way of engaging and converting your visitors.
Storytelling can help you craft an intimate, relatable User Experience. Because of that, it’s a hot UX trend in 2021.
The website of the Flat Top Hills winery is a great example of powerful storytelling.
The entire “About” section of the website inspires the visitors to learn about the philosophy and the people behind the products.
That intimacy makes the visitors’ User Experience more special and memorable.
UX Trend #4: Minimalistic Navigation
Following the minimalism trend, minimalistic navigation is one of key UX design trends this year.
This trend is fueled by one key benefit. The fewer menus and shortcuts there are for the visitors of your website to click on, the more time they can spend exploring your content, products or services.
The website of British fashion designer Martine Rose follows this logic. Despite the unusual placement of the navigation menu in the middle of the homepage, it never takes the center stage.
Even on the catalog page there is little to distract the visitors from exploring the products.
UX Trend #5: Virtual & Augmented Reality
In 2021, the global VR/AR market has grown to $18.8 billion.
While VR and AR are still in their infancy and have significant hardware limitations, they are among the hottest web design trends right now.
Both have the potential to make websites more engaging and immersive than ever.
An example of a website designed specifically with VR functionality in mind would be the 50 Years Of Swiss Music Chart catalog.
3 New B2B Website Designs That Are Setting The Industry Standards
What is the point of explaining all those modern website design trends without showing their practical implementations?
Let us start with some great examples of B2B websites:
B2B Design #1: MailChimp
MailChimp needs little introduction. For years, it has been the go-to tool for email marketers.
Over the last few years, they’ve expanded their product line to several other marketing automation services. And in the process, they’ve created an exemplary B2B website.
Their web design might be a little conservative as far as the UI and the UX go, but it still follows several of the latest trends:
- Bold colors: As soon as you open it, the homepage greets you with a vivid shade of yellow. It’s somewhat of a signature color for MailChimp and they use it throughout the website to highlight important sections.
- Negative space: MailChimp’s use of negative space on their website is reserved, but strategic. The visual elements and the copy on the homepage stand out against the white background, grabbing your attention immediately.
- Creative 404 page: MailChimp has one of the best 404 pages we’ve seen. It not only features honest, somewhat philosophical copy, but also has an in-built Easter egg. If you click on the horse artwork, you will be redirected to an 8-bit game of HorseSnake. Which is your good old Snake but…you play as a horse instead!
B2B Design #2: Rocka
Using the likes of Athena and Poseidon to market venture-building services might seem a little odd.
But not to Rocka.
On one hand, their website is as simple and straightforward as it can get. On the other hand, it’s attention-grabbing and aesthetically-pleasing.
- Clever visuals: No, we weren’t kidding. Each one of Rocka’s services is represented by a 3D image of a classical statue, suspended in the brightly colored negative space with a sea of animated geometrical shapes in the background. Minimalistic, memorable and eye-catching – exactly what a webpage should be in 2021.
- Easy navigation: The navigation panel in the header of Rocka’s website only consists of four buttons without any additional design elements. This is a great example of minimalistic navigation and makes their website easy to browse without getting lost.
- Strong typography: Rocka’s services and benefits are presented in gigantic white block letters. They are always in sharp contrast to the background and draw the visitor’s attention to the essential information.
B2B design #3: Dialpad
The cloud phone service provider Dialpad knows a thing or two about communicating their benefits to their potential customers.
Their web design is a great example of how to give your website a human face. All because of the following practices they implemented:
- Openness and honesty: Dialpad’s website is designed to ooze transparency and personal approach on every page. For instance, you don’t have to look hard to find out about the leadership and the investors of the company. They are at the very top of the “About” page together with a few key company stats and pictures of their team building activities. Same with the social proof – it is easily accessible and boasts reviews and testimonials from their clients.
- Inspires conversation: Dialpad’s website is a great example of how to successfully implement Conversational UX design. It features a clever chatbot that pops up the moment you land on the homepage. Not to mention how casual the copy is. Every part of the website is designed to make it seem like you’re dealing with a real person.
- 3D graphics: The final thing that makes Dialpad’s website stand out is their use of 3D visuals. Just open any of their product pages (each one of them is also color-coded, by the way), and you’ll find a slideshow that explains the benefits of each product in handsome 3D.
3 New B2C Website Designs That Are Getting Major Love From Target Audiences
While the designs of B2B websites are usually optimized to boost conversions, B2C web designers lean towards creative expressions. Although, without sacrificing usability.
Here are three B2C website designs that are both stunning and functional:
B2C Design #1: Fronks
Fronks, a producer of organic nut milk, makes a strong case of why you don’t need sophisticated visuals or copy to drive conversions.
Their approach is simple, fun, straight to the point and effective at the same time.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Short and direct buyer’s journey: As soon as you land on the Fronks homepage, you don’t have many options other than going ahead and ordering some nut milk. In fact, the whole buyer’s journey only takes three clicks. If you wish to build a website that will drive sales, this is the approach to take.
- UI highlights the product: Apart from product images, Fronks’ website doesn’t feature any other visuals. In fact, the entire UI is rather spartan – which is great if you want your visitors to only focus on your product.
- Short yet powerful copy: You know that your copywriting is powerful when you only need three lines to communicate your product. This is exactly the case with Fronks. All their website copy is short, fun and straightforward. No marketing lingo – just pure facts.
B2C Design #2: Havenly
If your products or services are visual, your website should reflect that.
Havenly took this exact approach. An interior decor company, they put a lot of effort into showcasing their work.
Their approach paid off. Here’s why:
- Stunning and convincing visuals: Havenly’s entire website is built around the images of their own work, with the copy taking a step back. Looking at those images, we have to say – they are quite convincing.
- Even more stunning visuals: When the real-life pictures aren’t enough, Havenly turns to simple, elegant vector illustrations. Most of the website is visual and extremely easy to digest. “Show, don’t tell” at its best.
- Engaging content: Havenly knows its audience well – and it shows on their blog. Covering all things interior design, it includes tips, real-life stories and opinion pieces. Well-developed and authoritative, it’s a great display of how powerful content can be.
B2C Design #3: Simply Chocolate
Simply Chocolate’s award-winning website is a testament to the great power of interactivity and animation.
After all, have you ever seen a website that throws chocolate in your face?
Neither have we – but that is not the only thing that makes the Simply Chocolate website so great:
- Unforgettable interactivity: Simply Chocolate’s website makes their products irresistible. They do not just showcase their product, even though they do that very well. They encourage you to tear the wrapper off, gaze at the cocoa goodness inside and bite into it. We are not exaggerating – that’s the actual CTA.
- Quirky layout: Simply Chocolate does feature bold type on their website. But it is hardly the centerpiece – the products are. The navigation menu and the logo, on the other hand, are rotated and shoved off to the corners of the page. Nothing distracts you from exploring the products in all their glory.
- Strategic use of color and visuals: Finally, we must mention Simply Chocolate’s strategic use of visuals and color. As you scroll down the homepage, your screen is always fully dedicated to one specific chocolate bar. While the top part of your screen changes color to match the wrapper, the bottom is adorned with animated ingredients of the said bar.
Takeaways On Modern Website Design In 2021
Modern website design is a constantly evolving field. The trends that make it modern change from year to year.
Today, the three core principles of modern web design are:
Moreover, there are three core reasons why you should modernize the design of your website according to those principles:
- It will improve the image of your business
- It will assist your SEO efforts
- It will increase your revenue
To do that, try to incorporate the following UI/UX trends into the design of your website. They will not only make your website appear modern and cutting-edge but will significantly improve the experience of your visitors:
- Negative Space
- 3D Graphics
- Bold Typography
- Dark Mode
- Vivid Color Combinations
- Conversational UX
- Human-Centric Copy
- Minimalistic Navigation
- Virtual & Augmented Reality
Website design trends are hard to follow, as they change very frequently. But if you wish to stand out from the competition, increase awareness of your business and boost your revenue, the tactics above are the way to go!