Web design trends always become a topic of rampant speculation around this time. Although there is still a month and a half left until the end of 2021, plenty of digital marketing and design professionals are already offering up their thoughts on what the defining features of top-tier ecommerce sites will be in 2022.
Far be it from us to spoil everyone’s fun; we’re more than happy to get in on this game and offer a little of our own commentary on the web design trends that we’ll probably be helping our clients to navigate in the coming months. It seems to us that the challenges of the past two years actually make this conversation even more dynamic, because it involves thinking not only about how the internet has evolved but also about how people’s desires and expectations might change or reset as they look forward to a return to something resembling normality.
The focus on public attitudes and popular psychology means that the comparatively vague topic of aesthetic may be unusually important to discussions of web design trends for 2022. In fact we’ve already seen our fair share of that kind of talk in the articles that were published by industry websites in early November. Some analysts anticipate that websites will get ahead by making users feel safe while also fostering a sense of openness that contrasts with their memories of lockdowns and self-imposed isolation.
This sounds about right, but it doesn’t necessarily reveal anything specific about how web design professionals will foster that feeling in their clients’ target audiences. The answer may differ from one project to another, being affected by demographic differences, features of the relevant industry, and details of the prior experiences that certain users may be trying to escape from.
We’ve said many times on this blog that design choices should be informed by rigorous analysis of a client’s existing consumers, prospective audience, competition, and so on. This advice remains relevant when talking about how a company might respond to emerging web design trends. The more effective a team’s prior analytics were, the better it will probably be at adapting its existing online infrastructure to the needs of the moment.
With a solid foundation of data, a client company and its design team should be able to make informed decisions about the color schemes, layouts, visual themes, and other elements that will best elicit the desired reaction from the specific target audience. But even while that data is still being collected, it shouldn’t be difficult to draw some general conclusions about the adjustments that certain sites will have to make to accommodate new web design trends in 2022.
It wasn’t long ago that a brutalist design aesthetic was being championed by various industry professionals. Its directness and asymmetry were seen as reflections of an online landscape that had rejected gaudiness in favor of a streamlined approach to fulfilling the purpose of a website. But the results of that fad often came across as blocky and impersonal, which is pretty much the opposite of what the leading professionals are aiming for with their latest contributions to web design trends.
It seems fair to say that the era of brutalism is at an end. More to the point, although the desire for simplicity and straightforward online interactions, designers now face the challenge of delivering on those expectations for consumers while also making them feel cozier and more at home on client websites.
Some of the early commentary on 2022 web design trends has also declared an end to the prevalence of single-page websites which seemed to have taken over ecommerce for several years. Those articles encourage web designers to come up with more elegant solutions to the problem of quickly directing users to the information they’re seeking.
An annual inventory of one’s website is a good opportunity to reexamine its architecture and make sure the consumer funnel is operating the way it’s supposed to. If a site has already been enjoying a healthy ratio of new visits to conversions, then the design team should be in a good position to retain those outcomes. But that doesn’t mean that keeping the exact same architecture is the right move, especially if prevalent web design trends point in another direction.
Assuming a given site has laid out its content in the most effective pattern on a single page, it should be relatively easy for the same site to maintain that continuity while also jazzing up the interface in a way that fulfills demands for a more welcoming aesthetic and a more dynamic user experience. It seems that in 2022, the primary goal of a website’s layout will not be to provide all vital information in one place, but rather to encourage and facilitate exploration of a site that is pleasant to interact with.
This could mean that users will have to get used to the idea of clicking or tapping among various pages, after having not done so on many sites for a few years. But the idea behind that alteration is to increase enjoyment for ordinary users, and the period of adjustment may actually be part of the appeal.
This in turn speaks to the broader value of regularly reassessing web design trends. On one hand, this annual exercise is intended to help clients understand what is new and cutting-edge in the world of web design, so they won’t end up feeling left behind. On the other hand, being in lock-step with the rest of the industry is ultimately less important than simply looking at one’s own website with fresh eyes from time to time.
Doing so encourages site owners and design teams to periodically refresh their branding, corporate aesthetic, and user engagement so as to prevent themselves and their users from falling into a rut. Consumer relationships can grow stale just like romantic relationships, so it’s worthwhile to prove to your customers that you still have something new and exciting to offer. If that thing is in line with current web design trends, so be it. What’s most important, though, is that it demonstrates an interest in giving consumers what they need, at all times.