Staying current on the top web design trends and standards is crucial to the success of your website. Here are Top 10 Web Design Trends in 2021.
Top 10 Web Design Trends in 2021
- Parallax scroll animation
- 3D visuals
- Dark Mode
- Videos as design elements
- Gaussian blur
- Horizontal scrolling
1. Parallax scroll animation
Parallax scroll effects have been a trend in website design for years, and in 2021 we hope to see more subtle and creative explorations of what can be accomplished with parallax.
Remember that too much movement in parallax effects can be harmful to people with vestibular disorders because the illusion of depth and movement can cause disorientation and dizziness. Here are some guidelines we see more designers taking into account to ensure they incorporate parallax minimally and without causing harm:
- Don’t let parallax effects distract from the important information
- Don’t make it harder for the user to complete an important task
- Keep the number of parallax effects to a minimum
- Minimize the amount of parallax movement within each instance
- Constraining parallax effects within a small area of the screen
- Include an option for users to turn off parallax effects
- Alice Lee’s portfolio site uses parallax effects that respond to mouse position to bring her illustration to life. The amount of movement is small and contained within the bounds of the hero. This is a great example of using parallax with constraint and intention.
Alice Lee’s portfolio site uses parallax effects that respond to mouse position to bring her illustration to life. The amount of movement is small and contained within the bounds of the hero. This is a great example of using parallax with constraint and intention.
in 2021 we’re excited to see parallax scroll used subtly, not for flashy effect but as a tool to emphasize or highlight important bits of content.
2. 3D visuals
With the advent of higher resolution screens, 3D design has come a long way from the blocky and bevelled edges of Geocities. We’ve been seeing high-quality 3D visuals weaved seamlessly into web designs. Instead of being garish distractions, they’re adding to the overall user experience.
The creative agency Sennep throws in dashes of depth with 3D elements throughout their website. There’s a nice sense of harmony here between all of the design elements. This is a perfect example of how in more minimalist layouts, 3D can make an even bigger impression.
3. Dark Mode
Dark mode is hitting more screens in 2021. More designers are embracing the dark mode aesthetic, with black providing the perfect dark backdrop to make design elements pop from the screen.
In the example below, Obys Agency designed a beautiful tribute to fashion designer Peter Lindbergh, pairing a subtly textured black background with a beautiful serif typeface.
4. Videos as design elements
Videos are almost ubiquitous in website design. If you have promotional videos or interviews to add to your site, they’re a great way to engage your audience by communicating important information with an energetic flare.
In recent years, videos have taken on a new role in web design – shifting away from being purely informational and turning into design elements in their own right.
5. Gaussian blur
Gaussian blur works so well in providing a swirl of soft focus to images and gradients. This effect has been around for a while, but designers have been using this in more prominent spaces in web designs.
Moment House begins their homepage not with a hero image, but with a pleasing gaussian blur of colour. This lends an atmospheric feel and ties directly into the Los Angeles cityscape photo that follows it. It perfectly captures the lens of golden light and haze that Los Angeles is viewed through.
Animation has been a popular feature of web design in recent years, and it’s here to stay. That’s a good thing because the possibilities of web design animation keep getting better.
Animation turns the user experience into so much more than just scrolling for information. From an animated line or text to a full-fledged animated background, these effects can work on your website to catch the eye of a visitor and make a striking impression.
We’ve seen a growing trend in designers telling stories through web experiences. This is where scrollytelling comes in — visual storytelling that heightens story and hooks you into its narrative.
The best applications of scrollytelling practice restraint:
- Keep motion within a small area.
- Provide interactions on the user’s terms: provide obvious playback controls to play / pause / stop interactions and motions.
- Make sure that any scrollytelling elements help to emphasize the story, rather than distracting from important text.
8. Horizontal scrolling
Previously regarded as a web design faux-pas, horizontal scroll is having a comeback.
We’re seeing more web designers continuing to experiment with horizontal scroll. Those who do it best break the pattern not for the sake of being different but as a practical way to disclose secondary information progressively, like in an image gallery.
Designers employing horizontal scroll successfully in 2021 will keep in mind these considerations:
- Don’t force users to navigate through horizontal content: allow alternate ways to navigate, like arrow buttons with clear labels
- Use clear visual cues to indicate where content uses horizontal scroll, and don’t hide these cues behind hovers
- Be thoughtful about what content would benefit from being displayed in a horizontal scroll — a photo gallery is a good contender as horizontal scroll would show users a small preview, and allow them the option to view more or keep moving down the page
- Avoid requiring horizontal scroll for the text that needs to be read
Momento Design Studio’s home page includes a clear cue next to the primary button that also acts as a link, slowly sliding you over to the featured works on click. The scroll motion is well-paced and not too long, letting the featured images shine.