In web design and development, our team has seen a lot. Not all—but a lot. And designing a website that serves our clients well that’s also beautiful is a goal we have with every project. Trends are a fun diversion on the way to finding a website that aligns with a brand and produces results.
Without further ado…
What are the most surprising website redesign trends you’ve seen?
Miguel Seclen Benites: The rapid rate at which AI is being integrated into the process of how we’re designing has been surprising. It’s not perfect, obviously, but using image generation for a website redesign is a time saver, building on existing creative efforts.
Additionally, clients are much more receptive to simplicity. They’re wanting to emulate what they’re seeing. They want to fit in so much copy into sections of their website; but simplicity benefits are much more apparent.
Derek Lauritzen: The integration of AI is definitely trending—things you can do outside of a website tool, such as chatGPT and generating copy, the integration is seamless so you don’t have to go from one tool to the other. It’s common to have tools emerge all the time, but AI is paving a way for all of those different tools that are being created rapidly.
From a visual standpoint, simplicity is somewhat surprising as a trend. A lot of well-known companies and makers of SaaS tools are stripping back their design and focusing more on graphics and text rather than complicated, interactive layouts.
Generally there isn’t anything all that new—everything is continuing to progress and evolve, but there hasn’t been any trend that caught us, as a website redesign agency, off-guard.
Which website design trends are you done with for 2023?
Derek: Sliders are dying. Glad to see it. Hero sliders, more specifically.
Miguel: The use of glass morphism. The use of those 2-D illustrations—big people with tiny heads. (Side note: We think this design may have originated with BUCK’s 2017-2020 take on Facebook’s style and design, called Alegria.)
What shifts are you seeing in web design?
Derek: Parallax scrolling was around for a bit—but in most cases, it didn’t have a purpose besides being flashy. Designs are shifting from aesthetic (which is now a given) to be more focused on performance and convergence.
Also, user journey pathways are always being improved as designers ask “Why is this user here and how can we best serve their specific need?” In the past, everyone focused on a target audience, or end user, but there will always be other types of users that come to your site, with purposes that fall into three general categories: information, understanding, or jobs/careers. This pattern of catering to the different user purposes on the site, which we’ve always followed, is coming up a lot more now.
Thirdly, everyone’s doubling down on resources and generating their own content. Many sites used to be set up like “brochures” with a one-time information dump, but sites can’t do that anymore. Creating engaging content and pushing out info regularly that draws interest will help you be more successful as a brand and business.
Miguel: There are a lot of tools used in web design that have a much closer integration now. The development and designer teams (and their associated tools) have better communication methods while building the website, which improves efficiency and unifies the team. I could see that evolving even further. One example is Elementor and Figma—they both now use flexboxes, which simplifies alignment and spacing in our web designs. A shared vocabulary is helping tools bridge the gap in site construction, and the translation from design to development is more accurate.
On top of that, Figma also has a responsive auto layout, so users can see exactly how the design will look in the browser. Real-time changes can be made and design is that much faster and responsive.
Derek: Agreed, with so many integrations now, plenty provide valuable insights, like A/B testing, performance monitoring, page speed. Without the focus on aesthetics, it’s easier to minimize everything on the page, and run it more smoothly.
Miguel: The other trend ramping up, and we’ve seen this before: Accessibility and related things, like larger typography. Sites don’t have to sacrifice the aesthetic portion of the site to make legible text.
Derek: It’s become so much easier to integrate accessibility tools like the one we use: Accessibe. Before we had this tool, the checklist we’d created for ourselves around accessibility was long and difficult to achieve.
In terms of style, what’s happening for website redesign?
Derek: There’s a return to flat, pastel colors.
Miguel: Brutalist style is changing. And 3D designs are easier to make, even standard web designers can do it now, given the integrations we were talking about before. The page functionality doesn’t have to be sacrificed for the aesthetic.
What trends do you predict for 2024 website redesign?
Derek: With everyone connected to everyone and everything at all times, even internationally, trends aren’t as obvious. Similar to clothing—there’s usually a return to what came before. Websites now (and this is something we’ve been pushing for some time now) need to be an asset to the marketing team. When A/B testing used to be difficult to do, is now attainable.
As far as predictions go, layouts are getting simpler; it’s easier. Content generation is becoming commonplace as a way to showcase relevancy and attempt to rank in SERPs. Plus, all the various tools that integrate into a site—there will only be more of that to come.
Miguel: Arrows and illustrations are becoming more popular, too. The Alegria design that influenced all the large bodied, small head illustrations that are on their way out are a marker of a typical trend: it’s a way for brands to be less sanitized and generic. Though user-friendliness comes first, websites still need to offer something unique without requiring an extensive background in a particular field—like the tools that can now create 3D illustrations.
Derek: Another interesting thing—as remote work has grown, so has stock photography use on websites. It’s likely that brands will leverage AI-generated imagery. Since there are now AI tools that can generate an image from nothing, website imagery will certainly be impacted by the advent of that technology. Along with that, About Us pages will have a deeper focus, and will be speaking to any one of three audiences: future employees, explorers, and end users.
Miguel: Also, with the use of AI-generated content (images and otherwise) site authenticity and user perception of your site will be an added test to the user-friendliness of your site.
At their core, what websites look like will probably always be changing. But website design should always be focused on serving the website user, whether they’re the end user, someone exploring, or a possible applicant for an open position. Websites that can effectively serve each audience by offering resources (content creation) on simpler, scannable pages that load quickly, will have an easier time finding success with their website.
As a website design agency, here’s our tip: Follow the trend(s) that will make your website the best marketing asset.