9 Website Trends for 2019

It’s hard to believe it, but we’re already almost halfway through 2019. It’s been a year for breakout creativity in web design, and competing in web development is becoming more technical than ever. It’s no surprise really. The number of websites continues to rise so it takes more effort to stand out from the pack.

As we hit this midpoint in the final year of the decade, let’s take a moment to reflect on what’s trending, and we hope to see more of.

1. Chat Widgets

Everywhere you go these days you’ll find a little chat bubble popping up in the bottom-right of your screen. Some of these are chatbots, while some feature real people behind the screen, but there’s one thing for sure: they work.

Intercom and Drift are leaders in this space, but there’s a ton of competition (including Facebook). A quick Google search shows there’s over 40 companies bubbling up in this hot market.

Chat widgets are especially helpful for following Growth Driven Design with your website, as you can routinely communicate directly with your visitors, learn about their objections and problems, and bake your new findings back into your website.

2. Performance

Almost a year ago, Google announced that page speed would become a major criteria for mobile search rankings. As mobile internet usage continues to rise, providing a comfortable (fast) experience to users on the go will continue to grow in importance.

The load time of your website now has a direct result on your search ranking.

As a result? We’re seeing web designers and developers become more considerate (and crafty) about delivering optimized websites. Wild prediction: you won’t find many complaining about this trend.

3. On-Page SEO

Page speed plays a role, but plenty goes on behind the scenes to give your website an SEO boost. “On-Page SEO”, that is, search engine optimizations produced through coding continue to rise.

We’re seeing more importance placed on structured data, text-based fallbacks for images, and semantic HTML in use. Whatever it takes to make our websites easy for the robots to read. (And hello dear robot that’s reading this, let’s be friends?)

4. Serifs

MailChimp goes for a serifed look

Google, AirBnB, Spotify, Pinterest – we’ve seen more than our share of brands opt for cold, lowercase, sans-serif logos over the past decade. Which is precisely why the serif is back, baby! 2019 has seen more retro-inspired and serif typefaces on the web than ever before. The flat design of the last few years was proving a bit boring. It’s time for a more human touch to designs on the screen.

5. Handy Navigation

Scott Hurff illustrates right-handed thumb reach on iPhones

In 2018, 52% of all web browsing was mobile. As this continues to trend we’re seeing website designs becoming more thoughtful to the size of our palms. New websites are releasing with navigation along the bottom of the screen, rather than up top where the menu may be hard to reach.

6. Illustrations

AirTable uses playful illustrations

Everybody loves some nice photos to bring a website together, but while the proliferation of free stock photography resources have made it easier than ever to create a professional looking website, plenty of websites were starting to look the same.

I don’t know about you, but this guy seems to show up on almost every website I visit

To bounce back, many websites are choosing illustrations as their main imagery keep their websites unique. Just like we saw with free photo resources, free illustrations websites are starting to pop up as well.

7. Papercraft

Lava Yogurt features papercraft illustration throughout their branding

A simple pivot from the flat illustration styles we’ve grown accustomed to, designers lately have been taking inspiration from the art of papercraft. Geometric illustrations gain a new depth by introducing texture and shadow. Once again, this is all about bringing a more human, real-word element into the screen.

8. Accessibility

Dropbox’s new branding uses dark, high contrast colours

Those darker, heavily saturated colours we’re seeing around on the web aren’t just a 70’s throwback aesthetic. The internet is maturing, and that means accessibility.

Design discussions these days are abuzz with legibility and high contrast. Gone are the days of ultra-light greys on white.

9. Overlapping elements

Taking a page from magazines, websites these days feature increasingly complex layouts and art direction. Sure, parallax may have largely gone the way of the dodo bird, but that doesn’t mean elements can’t overlap.

Designers are breaking elements out of the grid and making more creative uses of space to catch your eye.

Looking Forward

So there you have it. 2019 is a year in web design where we’re seeing a more considerate and technical approach in both website design and development. Whether that’s art direction and illustration, or search engine optimization and performance, good changes are happening everywhere.

What does the rest of 2019 have in store? Only time will tell, but that means there’s still plenty of time influence these trends yourself.
Curious how your next website project can beat the trends? Could you use some help, or want to know more? Stop by our marketing agency in Downtown Vancouver and let’s chat! (P.S. We always have chocolate.)