Website trends come and go like the seasons. Some are so fleeting that they’ll be outdated before your new website even launches. But designing a website for your business is a massive undertaking – an investment you’ll want to last at least a few years. That’s why we’ve gathered up our favorite web design inspiration from across the Internet that focuses on themes and ideas that will still be top of mind five or even ten years from now.
Whether you’re just starting to think about redesigning your company’s website or are actively looking for inspiration to get started, these four classic web design ideas will help you build a high-quality site that lasts.
1. Everyday Accessibility
Accessibility has been an ongoing discussion in the web design and development community for years now. More recently, it has evolved from a checklist of font sizes, color regulations, and coding standards, into a movement around improving the user experience for all.
General ADA Compliance
As you start gathering web design inspiration, you’ll want to consider if your web design ideas will comply with the guidelines set out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes tasks like ensuring appropriate font size and color contrast, properly labeling visual content to be accessed by screen readers, and generally allowing all people to use your website with ease. It may also protect you from potential lawsuits, depending on your industry.
If you already have a website in development or want to know where your live site stands, you can use programs like the WAVE Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool to get a free report.
Captioning & Multisensory Experiences
In the 90s, it was safe to say that the vast majority of Internet users were surfing the web sitting down at a desktop computer either at work or in their homes. These days, people use the Internet on the go in a variety of public settings.
At the same time, attention spans have shortened and the demand for engaging experiences like audio and video has increased. For this reason, we expect to see major pushes toward providing multiple browsing experiences through written word, audio, video, and interactive experiences over the next few years.
If your website contains significant audio or video content, you should strongly consider offering captioning, transcripts, or another way to experience the content without sound. Whether your audience needs your website to be accessible because of a disability or simply because they are browsing in a quiet space and need video captions, they’ll appreciate the options your website can provide.
Check out Wired for web design inspiration on making your video and audio content more accessible.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen major growth in companies that offer several color modes on their website to increase accessibility and user comfort. Over half of Internet users around the world is on mobile devices, and even the brightest screen settings can’t always compete with sunlight when users are on the go. Offering different color options like a dark mode or high-contrast mode can ensure your website is easy to view and use for everyone.
2. Mobile User Experience
Ten years ago, you were ahead of the curve if you even had a responsive or mobile-friendly website. These days, your mobile experience has to be just as good (if not better) than your traditional desktop site. Check out these web design ideas for a stellar mobile user experience.
With so many people using the Internet on the go, testing your website UI on mobile is crucial. This is why so many businesses have started developing their mobile websites to look more like mobile apps, with the major navigation at the bottom of the screen within easy reach of the user’s thumbs.
You’ll also want to consider any gestures the user may need to make, such as swiping, pinching, and dragging to ensure they can be comfortably completed with one’s thumbs. Form fields and any major CTAs should also be located within thumb’s reach.
When looking for web design inspiration, many people focus on full-size desktop sites. But, taking the time to explore web apps, mobile apps, and mobile websites can make a big difference for a massive segment of your audience.
Check out Pitchfork (on mobile) for a thumb-friendly mobile website and mobile web app design inspiration.
Over 110 million people in the United States use a voice assistant like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. And there are millions more who utilize speech-to-text and voice assistants like Siri and Google on their phones.
While it adds a new dimension to website design and development that you may not have anticipated, voice is a huge trend we’ve seen grow steadily over the past few years. What if users could leave you a voicemail instead of filling out a form? What if they could search your website or even place an order without ever lifting a finger? Considering how voice and sound can play a role in your website design
3. Motion & Interactivity
As attention spans continue to shorten, motion and interactivity are key to keeping users engaged. If you’re looking for web design inspiration that helps your audience connect with your website, check out these two trends.
Long gone are the days of Flash website animations. But the subtle microinteractions that have replaced them are nothing short of delightful. Microinteractions have existed previously, in the forms of scroll bars, cursors, and other functional ways to engage with a digital space.
But this new breed of animations adds personality and whimsy while adding to the overall user experience. When it comes to high-end web design inspiration, microinteractions can turn a good website into a one-of-a-kind experience for users.
Video Done Right
Video has been a web design trend since the early 2000s, and for good reason. The average American spends six hours a day watching videos either online, on apps like YouTube and TikTok, or on live or time-shifted TV. As you gather homepage web design inspiration, you’ll likely find that a majority of websites utilize video early on in their website experience. But, one major issue has arisen with website video content: speed.
If you’re aiming for a page load time of two seconds or less (and you should be), you’ll need to be strategic on where and how you utilize video directly on your website. Keeping your video clip length short and balancing resolution with page load speed are the two best ways to include video without compromising speed or user experience.
Have a longer clip you’d like to share? Opt for an embedded video hosted by YouTube or Vimeo within your page rather than a seamless background video to optimize your speeds.
4. Dynamic Content & Data Visualization
In a fast-moving digital world, written content is only one part of the bigger picture. For in-depth education (like this blog), users are willing to read a few hundred words. But for lighter content, users may seek our more dynamic experiences for consuming content. Here are two of our favorite trends to consider as you gather your web design inspiration.
Looking to convey a large amount of information that shows actual data and helps users draw big-picture conclusions? You’ll need to get creative. 2020 was a masterclass in using online data to educate and persuade, and the pandemic made it clear that not all data displays are created equal.
The best data visualizations:
- Include actual data points for those looking for exact numbers
- Create visual takeaways for those interested in the big picture
- Have a simple and intuitive interface
- Are flexible and scalable for future changes and growth
Check out Franklin & Marshall’s Global Barometers for inspiration.
Interactive Sales Tools
From chatbots to interactive quizzes to help you find the products or services you’re looking for, interactive sales tools are sure to grow in popularity over the next few years. In the early days of the Internet, users went online to avoid the human interaction of a store. While that may remain true these days, online shoppers now also expect a level of service and customization to be available online.
Check out Warby Parker’s glasses fit and style quiz for inspiration.
What Sets These Trends Apart?
By now you’ve probably noticed that there’s been no mention of brutalist design, neumorphism, or any specific colors and fonts you should be using in our list of web design ideas. That’s because we believe in sustainable design trends that focus on providing the best for your users.
We know the immense investment that goes into any small business website. We want your website to look great for years to come, rather than dating it with trendy UI elements that will be replaced with something new by the time your website launches.