Web design trends in 2021

Web design trends in 2021

3D objects, virtual and augmented reality, voice shopping, holographic communications, and pragmatic design. ADCI Solutions Design Department as well as invited experts introduce new design trends of 2021.

For obvious reasons, 2020 has changed humanity's understanding of life and its specific aspects. Our communication, movement, consumption, payment for commodities, and services have changed. The ADCI Solutions studio and invited experts in UX/UI fields predict what visual and technological trends will be common for websites and mobile applications in 2021.

Along with visual trends, we also present technological ones keeping in mind that design is not only about the gradient choice but complex engineer work. We value things not for the color but for how well they solve our problems. The teapot handle, its shape, and material is part of the design. If it doesn't have a handle or it heats easily, then the teapot does not correspond to the expectations. Mobile and web designers familiar with technology offer holographic calls instead of chatting through messengers where it’s more appropriate.

Our list includes both fresh trends that we have to get used to and those that have already passed the test of time and become a natural part of the product. We advise business owners to approach the described trends in terms of applied value and take them into account while planning a product promotion strategy for at least the next year.

Technology

LiDAR

With this technology, you can build a model of an object or space based on light reflection by this object. Over the years of development, it has found use in the atmosphere exploration, geodesy, sea research, and design of self-driving cars, most importantly. In 2020, the LiDAR scanner has got closer to ordinary people. It was included in the functionality of the 4th generation iPad Pro at first, and later in the iPhone 12 Pro. Object cloning looks cool but, in practice, this technology is doubted and used in a few places: AR-games, photography, measurement of growth.

Voice control

The need to use a keyboard and type the text slowly fades away. You can do everything with your voice, from controlling household appliances to searching for information on the website. But what’s more, voice control has a great future in the shopping industry. Search for products, add goods to the basket, place orders, communicate with technical support. All this is possible thanks to the browser's support of Web Speech API and a few lines of JavaScript code on the website.


Сontactless payment

Cash is moving out from use and passing things from hand to hand - it was not a good idea even until 2020… Contactless payment will be more popular, especially given the backdrop of the online shopping jump in the world. E-Commerce sales were expected to reach $4.2 trillion by the end of 2020. Recently, the holders of SBERbank (major Russian bank) cards operating on the Mastercard system were enabled to pay using the SBERpay service on an Android smartphone. 

QR codes are also experiencing a resurgence. Users of the SBERbank Online mobile application can generate a QR code and pay for the purchase in those stores where there are appropriate reading devices (for example, the Evotor online cash register).


Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR)

With the help of these technologies, clothing, jewelry, and furniture stores for several years have been helping their consumers to make the right choice even without holding and seeing things offline and don't make them regret it. Business, in turn, suffers fewer losses as a result of returns and loss of loyal customers. In 2020, online fitting has been promoted with regard to security also: visitors of apparel stores can not be confident if the person who used the fitting room before them was healthy. Adidas, Nike, Lamoda are already helping to assess sneakers and clothes remotely. And the IKEA Place app is helping to design the interior. Recently, the Angstrem holding opened the first furniture salon in Russia, where customers can use VR headsets to integrate furniture into the interior.

Nike's augmented reality app

Is this pleasure available only to owners of devices supporting VR and AR at the proper level? - No. 

In early 2020, the ASOS store offered mobile and web users the See My Fit feature, developed in collaboration with the Israeli company Zeekit. On the brand's website, any user can choose the item of clothing, would digitize, and virtually tries on one of 16 models because the creators took into account the diversity of body shapes.

Holographic communications

The first conversation with a hologram took place in 2017. The American operator Verizon and the South Korean telecommunications service provider KT took part in it. In Russia, Beeline and MTS operators tested a new communication method in 2018 and 2019 with hardware support from the Chinese company Huawei.

The commercial introduction of holographic calls will begin in 2022, and we need to start getting used to the fact that soon we would live in the saga of "Star Wars." The entry point is the introduction of 5G networks - only with their speed and bandwidth, such calls are possible. This is followed by a complete change in approach to the development of communication design in the web interface.

Widgets

Downloading the entire application is no longer necessary: App Clips available for iOS 14 users, now. These are small parts of mobile applications, which solve one specific problem and are automatically removed from the phone 30 days after installation, no more than 10 MB in size.

Three years earlier, Google introduced the Android Instant App - instant applications that perform a role similar to the Apple App Clips: they offer the user to solve the problem right here, right now, needlessly to download the whole application. It is ideologically similar to the Google AMP technology, which allows you to work with lightweight website pages even with a slow Internet connection.

SuperApps

Superapps first entered the life of China or Indonesia, and now the concept is of interest to large companies with a multi-million dollar audience.

Sasha Lopatyuk, art director of IDT Corp:

"Along with widgets, superapps are another example of avoiding a lot of apps on your phone. Now there are several large applications within which you can do a lot of actions. It is noteworthy that this trend has not yet reached the United States and Europe. But Chinese residents can already call a taxi, order food, and buy movie tickets using the WeChat messenger. These functions are available to users of the VKontakte social network in Russia."

Headless eCommerce 

The number of contact points between a brand and a consumer is increasing, and users seldom stick to just one point. The brand's mission is to give them the same experience of interaction on all platforms. The Headless eCommerce technology is capable to solve this request; its main mission is to separate the server and client parts of the application.

See below for a simplified explanation of how it works. The server part is only concerned with the business logic (the creation of products, payment processing, etc.) and can be built on CMS, including Drupal. The client part (developed on frameworks like React or Vue.js.) is responsible for displaying the data. Communication between parts takes place via the application interface, such as Rest API or GraphQL.

Thus, one service can work for several client's sides. If the retailer already has a website and later decides to make a mobile application or PWA, it is enough to connect to the ready-made app instead of developing a new back end. It also saves money on a new retailer website design.

Visual solutions

3D

You don't need to go to a store or have a VR headset to view the product from all sides. 3D objects can be used for banners and secondary design elements and also in the functionality of stores to get familiar with the product.

Roman Khramov, co-founder of Cuberto:

"Using three-dimensional objects on websites and mobile phones has become possible thanks to the development of browser performance and a high number of professionals who can implement these things."

The process of creating 3D objects became easier and cheaper due to a variety of applications. That resulted in the growth of popularity of 3D objects and their frequent usage in design. Before moving on to paid pro tools like Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects, and 3ds Max, you can try free 3D modeling programs like Vectory, SketchUp Free, and 3D Slash.

Sasha Lopatyuk, art director of IDT Corp:

"3D is the new skeuomorph (a skeuomorph is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues (attributes) from structures that were inherent to the original). Volumes are actively returning to everyday interfaces as graphic elements. Look at new icons in macOS Big Sur, for example."

Fonts

Sometimes, instead of experimenting with untested innovations, it's enough to play with fonts to make the product memorable.

Roman Khramov, co-founder Cuberto:

"The font has become more often used as decoration. You might come across sites or applications where the fonts are displayed in the first place, pushing illustrations and photos back."

Inna Kondratyeva, interface designer of Redmadrobot:

"The focus on typography is a trend that has been around for several years and will become more popular. Fonts are getting more complex and crazier. The latest trend in typography is unreadable fonts. Bright, rich colors and simple geometric shapes will also be relevant."

Asymmetric imposition

Done something is better than a perfect nothing. Designers are trying to break old rules and look for new ways to generate emotion and interest. Nowadays, pages are created according to asymmetric layouts because the elements located smoothly on the grid are no longer surprising.

Sasha Lopatyuk, art director of IDT Corp:

"The pace of development is faster and faster, products are launched more and more often, therefore designers deliberately leave roughness and inaccuracies in interfaces. It's an answer to Pixel Perfect that has already bored everyone."

Brutalism

In a nutshell, this approach can be described as “nothing extra”. Both Web-Вrutalism and its prototype from architecture are inculcating rugged beauty in accordance with the functional architecture of Le Corbusier. After 4 years, the trend is still staying with us, despite its specific and inapplicability for some areas. Brutalist Website's accumulator of brutal sites will help you to illustrate the perspective of the style specifics.

Accessibility design

The mission of accessibility design - to make digital work easier for people with disabilities and everyone who works with it, and grow the target audience this way. Voice assistant, subtitles, large fonts - for any content, you need to think about the user scenario of the user with a disability. 

If you are new to web design accessibility, please also have a look at our article, what it is, and why it matters.

Dark mode

This mode has become standard for sites and applications, and in terms of accessibility, this is one of the necessary functions.

Microinteractions

The devil's always in the details. The slightest movement leads to some result and application’s or website’s response. For example, I press a button - it shows the download. Awwwards has a great collection of games and websites with micro-interactions that kill boredom and improve the user experience.

Instead of a conclusion

Sasha Lopatyuk, art director of IDT Corp:

"It seems to me that trends are shaped by trendsetters, technology, and culture. And here, we must understand that when we say - "influence" we are talking about the influence of somethings on designers and not on society as a whole. So, the basic user may not be interested in the cyberpunk theme, but its abundance over the Internet can push a designer to create the Tesla Cybertruck."

Maxim Desiatykh, member of the board of directors of Redmadrobot:

"Product design is now at the peak of popularity and demand. Companies and individual entrepreneurs create or try to create new digital products and services. It is a mass effect, like startups in garages at one time. And all design trends will come from this market trend.

With a lot of this kind of work today, demand for the product designers exceeds supply. For a business, if a designer owns tools, this is already a sign of a person who can do something and is ready to work in a team. Business is more interested in creating something in general and less interested in some visualization tricks. All products and interfaces are focusing on the business and metrics now, rather than on the design trends. It is the distinctive feature of the product design."

Do you want to make a trendy website already? Don't be shy - contact us! If you are looking for a design job, then see vacancies here.

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