The internet today looks nothing like it did 10 years ago – and the odds are pretty good that it isn’t going to look the same in 10 more.

Web design and development trends are always evolving and ever-shifting. 2020 has certainly seen its fair share of new arrivals as well as an evolution of “standards” that continue to be pushed and pulled in new and creative ways.

If you are looking to build or redesign a website today it’s not a bad idea to laser in on these red-hot trends, the most popular web design trends of 2020.

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Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

Minimalism

Minimalist design and aesthetics online have been red-hot for quite a while and aren’t going away anytime soon.

While Apple was one of the first major mainstream websites to focus heavily on a minimalist aesthetic (that really meshes well with their product design language), the entire Web 3.0 generation was really built on the back of a minimalist focus with a lot of white space, bold typography, and stunning imagery.

Like a good pair of blue jeans and a well fitting suit, minimalism online is always going to look great.

“Dark Mode”

Mobile application developers have been rolling out “dark mode” versions of their apps for a couple of years now, with people really embracing everything that this particular aesthetic brings to the table.

Well, web design Austin TX professionals and developers are getting in on the action in 2020 by building websites and web applications around this darker design approach.

One of the real cool features of this dark revolution is that it’s not hard to add eye-catching elements or navigational details with splashes of bright color. Typography can also really pop here on the back of dark backgrounds, too.

Illustrations

Illustrated designs on websites are maybe the hottest of all the design and aesthetics we highlight on this list (going head-to-head with the dark mode design aesthetic we highlighted a moment ago) and it’s not hard to see why.

There’s just something sort of “handmade” and intimate about websites that are built on the back of illustrated design. These kinds of sites are regularly seen as more imaginative, more creative, and filled with more personality than those that can sometimes come across as a bit “corporate”.

If that’s the kind of atmosphere you want to create for your business, your brand, or your web experience illustrated designs are definitely the way to go. There’s a lot of creative freedom here and plenty of room to mix and match illustration and traditional design online to come up with something totally new and unique, too.

Cyberpunk/Liquid Animation

Animation and animated elements in general were a huge part of the hottest web design trends in 2018 and 2019, and this new “liquid animation mixed with a bit of cyberpunk aesthetic is catching like wildfire in 2020.

Inspired by movies like Blade Runner 2049 and video games like the upcoming Cyberpunk, as well as a bit of a throwback to the 1980s electronic aesthetic featured in films like Tron, there’s just something that feels really futuristic but also really familiar about these kinds of web designs.

This animated style brings a lot of fluidity to the modern web, made possible with new web standards like HTML 5 and the proliferation of high-speed internet connections. These kinds of liquid animations can dissolve, magically appear, and transition different design elements depending on the input viewers have on the site – taking responsive web design to entirely new levels along the way.

3D

The best web design Austin TX creatives have always look for ways to create a more tangible and “physical” sort of design language online, especially businesses that have almost no real world contact with their customers.

3D designs – designs that don’t necessarily need 3D glasses to be enjoyed but that add a lot of depth and a lot of realism to web platforms – are quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in 2020. Three-dimensional imagery, especially imagery that can be moved and manipulated with the swipe of your finger on a screen or the dragging of your mouse, is particularly popular right now.

Designers are finding ways to build these kinds of designs into the overall fabric of a website, too. 3D design is particularly popular when it comes to navigational components of a site, mimicking the same kinds of real-world objects we use to navigate interfaces we encounter all the time including buttons, switches, and the like.

Audio Focused Experiences

In the early days of the internet a lot of web designers forced visitors to listen to music against their will – with absolutely no control over the experience. Because most of that was poorly optimized MIDI files and really only included “because we could” it wasn’t well received and gives websites a very dated kind of aesthetic almost right out of the gate.

Modern web design Austin TX experts have fooled around with autoplay sound on websites as well, but that’s had a bit of a hot or cold reception from the general public – especially when the controls for turning that autoplay sound off aren’t easy to find and even easier to use.

Today’s web designers, though, are finding ways to implement in new and creative ways the same way that mobile applications do. This can create a more immersive and more interactive kind of experience and this is a trend not only popular in 2020 but one that looks like it’s going to have legs for a long time to come.

Intuitive and “Naked” Navigation

2020 maybe the year that traditional “mega menu” navigation disappears forever.

Web design Austin TX professionals looking to take advantage of new design approaches, new web standards, and new technological solutions to pioneer intuitive and almost “naked” navigation options that better blend into the web experience.

This has been tried a lot in the past, with most applications coming up short (sometimes significantly so), but this year things feel different. When you can take advantage of your webspace to sort of curate the experience that your viewers have, moving them naturally and intuitively through your site without having to use clumsy navigational buttons, the overall experience goes through the roof.

We’re starting to see this a lot in 2020 and it could change the way sites are designed from here on out if it is as successful as many people think it will be.