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Beyond Beautiful: Web Design Trends to Boost User Engagement

Just like a shopfront on a busy high street, your website is often your first point of call for potential clients. As such, any digital marketing agency worth their salt – like Saturate – knows that having a modern, engaging, and user-friendly is absolutely essential for online success.

Armed with this expertise, we’ve compiled a helpful guide to the hottest design trends in 2024 that’ll not only help you build a stunning website, but also convert visitors into highly engaged clients.

Web Design Trends 2024

1. Bold and Beautiful

Typography has always been a cornerstone of good web design, but it’s taking centre stage in 2024. We’re seeing a shift towards bolder, more experimental fonts that grab attention and inject personality instantly. Think oversized headlines, playful fonts, and creative use of negative space. While readability is still the aim of the game, this trend permits you to break free from convention and create a truly unique identity. A great example would be NYC-based street food vendor Fat Choy. The brand’s distinctive handwritten typeface plays a central role on their site and serves to firm-up the casual, home-cooked vibe that they purvey. Not only this, but their cool, warped logo sits proudly at the top of the page, giving off a bold energy that’s impossible to argue with.

2. The Power of Microinteractions

Microinteractions are subtle animations or feedback mechanisms that enhance the UX. Think of a button that bounces slightly when hovered over, or a progress bar that fills up as a form is completed. While these small features may seem insignificant, they add a layer of polish that makes your site feel more responsive and ultimately – ‘alive’. Microinteractions can be used for a variety of purposes, from providing feedback on actions, to helping to navigate users through a site. According to a study by UXPin, well-implemented microinteractions can lead to a 30% increase in user engagement, so don’t underestimate the power of these tiny details!

3. Dark Mode Makes a Statement

Dark mode websites, featuring dark backgrounds with contrasting light text, have surged in popularity recently. This trend offers many benefits for users including reduced eye strain, improved battery life for mobile devices, and a more sophisticated look. The good news is that implementing dark mode is a breeze on most website platforms. It’s also especially effective for showcasing creative content like photography and videography. Take Spotify, for example. Their app and web player flawlessly integrate their iconic dark interface, punctuated by signature green accents. This sleek, simple aesthetic makes navigation a breeze – and more importantly, allows the album artwork to truly shine.

4. Storytelling Through Design

Gone are the days of websites simply displaying information: contemporary web design is all about creating an emotional connection. This means using powerful visuals, compelling stories, and clear CTAs to guide users throughout their journey. By focusing on emotional connection, you can create more memorable and impactful sites that resonate with clients on a deeper level. A brilliant example would be Critical Danger’s website, which does a fantastic job at conveying the threat of extinction faced by certain species. Their choice of colour, microinteractions, and bold fonts of varying sizes – combined with the continuous downward scroll that reflects the escalation of the scary stats, makes for a very impactful UX.

5. Accessibility for All

Accessible web design should be an absolute must, on both a moral and business level. An accessible website ensures everyone, regardless of ability, can access your content and services, including those with visual impairments, hearing difficulties, or cognitive disabilities. There are a number of steps you can take to make your website more accessible, such as using alt. text for images, providing transcripts for videos, and ensuring proper keyboard navigation. After all, by making your website accessible, you’re opening your business up to a wider audience of potential customers!

6. Eco-Conscious Choices

With environmental concerns at the forefront of many people’s minds, sustainable web design is becoming increasingly important. This means creating websites that are lightweight, load quickly, and use resources efficiently. There are several ways to achieve this including optimising images for faster loading times, using clean and efficient code, and considering eco-friendly hosting options. Just like Saturate – where we leverage Nimbus Hosting for all our clients – optimising your website for speed can yield double benefits. It not only reduces your website’s energy consumption at data centres, but also reduces loading times, leaving visitors less frustrated!

7. Embrace the Future

AI is rapidly transforming many industries, and web design is no exception. In 2024, we’re seeing the rise of AI-powered design tools that can help smaller businesses create high-quality websites without the need to pay a dedicated web developer. These tools can be used for a variety of purposes, such as generating content ideas, suggesting layout options, and even creating basic website prototypes. While AI won’t replace the need for human creativity and expertise in web design just yet, it can be a valuable tool for streamlining the design process and making it more accessible to businesses of all sizes.

8. Beyond the Grid

For many years, web design has relied heavily on grid-based layouts for structure and order. However, we’re now seeing a shift towards ‘broken grid’ layouts that break free from the traditional linear approach. Broken grid layouts can still be visually appealing and user-friendly, but they offer more flexibility and creativity. They can be used to create a sense of dynamism and energy, perfect for capturing attention and showcasing your brand’s unique personality. Witty ad-blocker Dada Data’s site exemplifies the broken grid layout nicely, transforming a typically structured grid into delightful chaos. This design is both bold and playful, using vibrant collages, layered elements, and engaging animations. Remarkably, despite its unconventional layout, the website is still really easy to navigate, achieving a perfect balance between artistic freedom and practicality

9. A Touch of Humanity

With the rise of automation across the web, there’s a growing desire for a more-human touch. This is where handmade illustrations come in. These visuals are adding a touch of personality and warmth to websites everywhere. Handmade illustrations can be used in a variety of ways, from hero images to infographics. They can help you stand out from the competition and foster a more memorable brand experience for visitors! A great example of a website that makes fantastic use of handmade illustrations would be zero waste shop mapper and eco-awareness brand, Useless. The playful, dynamic illustrations are steeped in the brand’s eco-conscious ethos, and as a result really hammers the message home.

10. Dynamic Duos

For years, websites have predominantly used horizontal text layouts, but we’re now seeing a rise in the use of both horizontal and vertical text layouts to create a more visually interesting experience. Vertical text, particularly on mobile devices, can be a great way to break up the monotony of horizontal text blocks and make your content more scannable. This approach is particularly effective for headlines, CTAs, or short snippets of text.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

As the world of web design constantly evolves, keeping ahead of the curve has never been more crucial for competitive businesses. By considering incorporating these 10 trends into your design strategy, you can create a website that not only looks fantastic, but engages your target audience and ultimately, drives results. Luckily, Saturate possesses a team of experienced web designers who can help you to achieve this. Come and say ‘hi’, and let’s start discussing how we can help you take your site to the next level with our powerful suite of digital marketing services today. 

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