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5 Web Design Trends to Expect in 2023

Trends pop up in basically every industry, and web design is no exception. From time to time, it feels like every new website is copying the same design features, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Often, these web design trends become popular because they enhance usability and make your website stand out from outdated aesthetic looks.

From voice-activated interfaces to AI-generated sites web design trends in 2024 are all about enhanced usability and incorporating new ways for users to experience websites. By studying these trends, you’ll be able to come up with inspiration for your next design project.

web design trends

In this article, we’ll discuss five web design trends and what makes them so popular. Let’s get to it!

📚 Table of contents:

1. Voice-activated interfaces

The past decade has seen a drastic shift in how people browse the web. Nowadays, most people interact with websites primarily through their phones and other small devices. On top of that, around 40 percent of US consumers interact with the web using voice commands [1].

A lot of those interactions are voice searches. In fact, if you keep up with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) news, you’ll know that it’s considered best practice to try and incorporate the kind of language that people use with voice searches. That way, your site is more likely to appear in the results for that massive segment of users.

Some websites are starting to take things a step further when it comes to voice by incorporating it into their navigation and conversion processes. For example, services such as Speechly enable you to incorporate voice functionality into your site, such as allowing for form filling and adding items to an ecommerce cart using verbal commands:

The Speechly website

This type of functionality has the potential to unlock a new level of usability for websites. As voice-activated interfaces become a mainstream tool in website development, users with problems navigating the web using touchscreens and mouses or keyboards are sure to start demanding this kind of functionality from their favorite websites.

Moreover, voice-activated interfaces have the potential to let users skip complex navigation sequences and look for the right elements. For instance, instead of looking for a shopping cart icon, you could say, “Take me to the checkout.” In theory, this could help reduce bounce rates as users will be able to choose between multiple ways to navigate through sites. Either way, when it comes to web design trends, voice activation is going to continue being a force in the industry for the foreseeable future.

2. Colorful gradients

Gradient designs used to be a big hit in the early days of websites. Incorporating gradients was an easy way to make pages pop without relying on background images. Considering the slow internet speeds of the 90s, gradients made for great backgrounds as they didn’t affect loading times so much.

Nowadays, web design is a lot more sophisticated. You’ll find several types of gradients, and you can use them for different purposes:

An example of gradient design

For example, you might use a gradient effect to highlight particular sections of a site or draw attention to certain elements. This is possible due to the use of contrast in web design.

With gradients, you get to use colors that complement each other and align with the overall design of your site. Typically, you’ll want to choose muted or subtle hues so the background doesn’t interfere with the main elements on your page or make text difficult to read.

You can incorporate gradients into designs using simple CSS. This is better for your site’s performance than using background images or solid colors. For more ideas on how to use colors in web design, check out our articles on color theory and color psychology.

3. Advanced accessibility

Accessibility has always been a key component of great web design. However, this aspect of design gains more importance each year. In 2024, we’re bound to see more designers emphasize digital accessibility in their projects.

There are a lot of ways to use design to make a website more accessible. One of the latest trends in web design accessibility is a focus on one-handed scrolling. We also call this “thumb-design” since it revolves around navigating sites with just your thumb.

Being able to reach every element on the page using just one finger is important because the vast majority of users rely on their thumbs for navigation. They rely on other fingers for more advanced interactions, such as filling out forms.

Another growing trend in accessibility in web design involves adding closed captions to your website’s media elements. This is relatively easy to implement thanks to advancements in automatic captioning by platforms such as YouTube:

Closed captioning in a YouTube video and other forms of accessibility are going to remain strong among web design trends.

Finally, if you want to make your website as accessible as possible in 2024, we recommend that you rethink its color palette. Some colors are particularly hard for users with visual impairments to distinguish, including navy blue, brown, black, pale green, and other similar tones.

Avoiding these colors may be impractical, but what you should do is not use them for key elements such as navigation menus. Remember that in terms of web design trends, accessibility, and usability trump style, and that applies to colors as well.

4. Scrollytelling

Scrolling is one of the main ways in which we interact with websites. You scroll down or sideways on a website, find new elements, and interact with the ones that you want. It’s an elegant approach that’s worked for decades.

“Scrollytelling” seeks to use the fact that we’re all accustomed to scrolling to help tell stories (as the name implies). You’ve probably seen this design technique in long-form news stories, where the design of the pages shifts as you scroll. It’s also a great way to present scientific data and statistics:

An annual report presented using scrollytelling

Scrollytelling is a powerful technique because it forces you to pay attention to pages as you navigate them. This is particularly relevant because most users on the web only skim content, even if it’s highly engaging.

Moreover, scrollytelling adds a layer of interaction to the simple act of scrolling through a website. Instead of being passive viewers, users get to change the design of the page merely by navigating.

Modern scrollytelling involves parallax and, usually, HTML5 and JavaScript. That’s because HTML5 enables you to animate parts of your website in ways that used to be impossible. When you combine it with JavaScript, you can design incredibly immersive stories that function through scrolling.

Unlike most of the other trends we’re discussing, scrollytelling typically requires a background in web development. You can focus on the design aspect of the story, but you’ll need a developer to help you implement it on a website.

5. AI-generated designs

The popularity of artificial intelligence has prompted companies to begin designing products that use machine-learning software. These include website tools like page builders, which are now being fused with AI technology.

Using AI for artistic endeavors is a very controversial topic, but its use exploded after ChatGPT was launched in late 2022. The reason is simple: AI tools provide an alternative for people who might not be able to afford professional web design services. That’s a large pool of people, since the majority of the websites on the internet were not created by professional web developers. AI is helping to bridge the gap between pros and everyone else.

As an example, check out the page in the screenshot below. It was generated with AI, using only a simple prompt:

Creating a website using AI

At this stage, most AI website generators will provide you with a basic design to work with. If you want a site that’s ready to go live, you’ll still need to tweak the design, write or improve the AI-generated copy, and implement advanced functionality yourself.

However, considering how fast this field has developed in just the last year, it’s likely that AI website generators will continue to evolve even further in the year ahead.

Conclusion 🧐

Keeping an eye out for web design trends in 2024 will help you keep your projects looking sharp. There’s no shame in following trends as long as they’re the good ones, and they make your websites more engaging, as well as easier to navigate.

When it comes to 🎨 web design, usability should always be at the forefront of any changes you make. That’s why so many of the most popular web design trends in 2024 focus on these elements, including:

  1. Voice-activated interfaces
  2. Colorful gradients
  3. Advanced accessibility
  4. Scrollytelling
  5. AI-generated designs

Do you have any questions about web design trends in 2024? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

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John Hughes

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