Whether you’re a graphic designer or just an average web user, the world of web design is fascinating. But even recognized industry experts will be quick to wish you Good luck predict the future of web design.
Looking at websites from the late 1999s or early 2000s is like a blast from the past. Clunky interfaces, ugly fonts, and awful color schemes look objectively awful through our spoiled eyes. However, keep in mind that these were truly best-in-class designs for their time.
20 years from now, will we feel the same way about the seemingly beautiful websites we enjoy today?
Somehow, I doubt it. But I do know that web design is set to evolve further and in exciting and meaningful ways. So what exactly can we predict about the future of web design? And what makes it so difficult to predict future web design changes in the first place?
Why Predicting the Future of Web Design Is So Difficult
Let’s explore why web design predictions are so hard to make.
We don’t have a crystal ball to look into the future. The only way to predict web design trends is to look at historical patterns. After that, we can speculate on the variables that might influence web design and estimate how those influences might impact the future.
Even the best web design experts can only look a few years into the future. Beyond that, we just don’t know what factors might be at play. To get started, consider the following four factors.
In 2002, it would have been hard to predict that the future of web design would be governed by the fact that most people now access the web primarily with a mobile device.
Few tech experts could have predicted that mobile devices with Internet access would become commonplace a few years later. Future devices with internet access could allow us to browse the web in new ways. In this case, our basic web design principles will necessarily change.
Today’s mobile devices demand more flexible and responsive designs. Some new future technologies may require us to rethink our earlier principles. Obviously, we just don’t know what those technologies might be.
2. Consumer preferences
According to Website.design, another wrinkle is rapidly changing consumer preferences. In 2021, internet users will strongly prefer minimalist layouts, simplistic designs and soft colors. It would be a bold/reckless prediction to speculate that this will eventually shift to favor cluttered or manic designs. However, weirder consumer preferences have surfaced in the past. When it comes to the aesthetic flavors of web design, we’re at the mercy of consumer attitudes — and consumers are notoriously fickle.
3. Major events
Major world events can also impact web design, at least to some extent. Suppose there is a drastic change in government influence over the internet or a nationwide internet blackout for an extended period of time. If so, it could dramatically change the way we think about web design — and in unpredictable ways.
4. Push and pull factors
Sometimes designs fall out of favor because they are overused. Sometimes new designs emerge simply because influential “cool” brands are using them. Push and pull factors are complex and unpredictable, and even minor differences in small variables can add up to have a massive influence on how the future develops.
Notwithstanding these four factors – and there are more – we can make at least some predictions about how web design will change in the near and distant future.
Simplified coding and better design tools
First, we will definitely see improvements in the way we can code and design websites from scratch.
Today, almost anyone can easily create a decent-looking website for free using one of the many free (or cheap) website builders. These tools use WYSIWYG editors and simple editing widgets so even amateurs can put together a website from scratch.
In the future, it will probably become even easier and more accessible. Additionally, experienced web designers and developers will likely have access to even better tool suites to support their work.
One of the biggest advancements in web design was the introduction of “responsive” design, which forces elements to move according to the size of the device/screen that is displaying the web page . What if we could take this concept one step further? In the future, we may have the ability to interact with websites using various high-tech devices, such as smart mirrors or interfaces projected from the glasses we wear. Could our current web design adapt to these new types of layouts?
Customer engagement is key to helping your brand grow. This is why so many modern websites use chatbots and other forms of immediate user interaction when someone visits the site. In the future, we’ll see even more advancements in “conversational design”, enabling personalized experiences and more interaction from the get-go.
Speaking of personalization, there is no doubt that the future of web design will depend on greater personalization. Already, companies such as Google and Facebook are doing everything they can to track your movements online and better understand who you are, all to provide a better customer experience. What if you could come up with radically different website designs based on the preferences and histories of people who come to your site?
AR and VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have been predicted as total technological changes. Unfortunately, they didn’t fully catch on with the general public, but their time has come. Once augmented reality and virtual reality become commonplace, users will expect dynamic interactive website experiences in these simulated worlds.
AI and machine learning
These days, AI engines and machine learning algorithms are already able to learn from user engagements on the fly and make adjustments to better serve those users. Therefore, we might see better integration of these algorithms into websites in the future. This would allow them to dynamically adapt based on the actions of people interacting with them.
Security has become a growing priority for web designers and developers for many years. As hackers and cybercriminals constantly strive to improve their capabilities, security experts will have their work cut out to keep up. Obviously, the burden of security will fall more on lead coders and technical service providers than on the actual designers. However, the whole team will have to stick together to keep the web safe.
Speed has always been a priority for web designers and developers. As a result, we’ll see better support for rendering, processing, and internet speeds in the future, opening the door for web designers to become more experimental and include more new elements in their designs. And, of course, users will also benefit from faster load times.
One Page Websites
Recent trends have pushed web design towards minimalism and simplicity. Modern designers want users to scroll rather than click. They want fewer elements and more streamlined layouts. In the future, this may evolve further, leading to the common development of “one-page websites”, where all necessary information is compiled in a central location.
My most confident prediction is that web design will constantly evolve.
There may be a handful of sudden and significant leaps forward. There could be periods of a few years when little change. But, for the most part, we’ll see a steady stream of new technology. We will see unique consumer preferences and new cultural trends drive changes in web design. Each year will see the emergence of new trends, the death of old trends, and exciting new ideas that will keep us all moving forward.
If you’ve spent any time as a webmaster or business owner with a major website, you know how difficult it is to keep up with the latest web design trends. Indeed, web design principles are changing so rapidly – and in such unexpected directions. But if you want to stay relevant and give your users the best possible experience, monitoring these trends is the price you have to pay.
Image credit: picjumbo; pexels; Thank you!