Design Trend 1: Function over form
Functionality is becoming increasingly important. Where design used to be limited only to implementing the client's corporate identity and designing beautiful pages, nowadays it takes into account the psychology of decision making, takes the user into account and the designer looks at the performance of web pages. In short: Design in 2024 is about designing a functionally good website. Of course, the second point is that it still has to look great.
The focus on functional design is reinforced, among other things, by new requirements from search engines and legislation. For example, the European Accessibility Code will come into effect in 2025, which is a European law that stipulates that apps, websites, and shops must meet strict accessibility requirements. And although the law won't go into effect until 2025, most designers will already take this into account in 2024. Basically, it's about making your website accessible to everyone, including people with (visual) disabilities ), For example. This means that sometimes, as a designer, you have to make different choices to ensure everyone enjoys your designs.
New classification methods in Google
Google also increasingly values a well-designed website. Google pays attention to different performance factors, based on the idea that well-performing sites are easy to use. In March 2024, Google will add INP as a new evaluation criterion for your position at Google.
It's a technical point that you, as a designer, might prefer to leave to your SEO marketing colleague. But good design affects the outcome: INP evaluates how quickly a visitor gets visual confirmation of an interaction, for example clicking a button. By taking elements that load quickly into account in your designs, you influence your INP rating factor as a designer and contribute to your client's findability.
Design Direction 2: Video head end
“Direct impact,” “Amazing impact,” or “Better site experience.” Video headers. Who doesn't know them. It fills the screen when you open the home page and often launches immediately. A video like this certainly has an impact, but uploading a video directly also has a huge impact on your page's performance.
So slow loading time has a negative impact on the user experience. It also distracts from content and navigation. In terms of accessibility, “above the fold” video also leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it plays automatically. So we see the video header as a prime example of form over function. So it's time to say goodbye to the uneasy-to-use video heads.
Video is still important on websites, but we prefer to display it as a static image on the page. So visitors can choose to allow the video to play or not.
Design trend 3: abstract gradients and vertices
If the video header is “outside”…what is “inside”? We say: gradients, typographic elements, and abstract shapes. These elements still create a wow effect, but without impacting your page's speed, accessibility, and performance. The headline is also the perfect place to instantly present your company identity in an eye-catching way. By getting creative, you can make your header a real statement with simple elements that load quickly and don't distract from the content.
Design trend 4: Mobile II. Yes. TRUE.
Mobile phone design is very important. The share of mobile visitors continues to increase every year. That's why you often hear the phrase “mobile first.” What is meant is: design for mobile phone first, then desktop. However, we say exactly the opposite.
Mobile design contains less information and details than desktop design. Many (design) elements are distracting, less user-friendly, and therefore eliminated on mobile. When you start with this “simplified” design and transfer it to desktop, you end up with more boring desktop designs than if you started with an attractive desktop design and translated it into a mobile-friendly design.
Although the mobile phone sounds great at first, the method is actually more complicated and less effective than you might think. So: Mobile is more important than ever, but it always comes in second place in your design rankings.
Design Direction 5: Apply UX and UI psychology
The latest design trend for 2024 is the application of psychology in design. It's about applying user experience principles: a set of basic guidelines that help improve the user experience. Although it's all about design, functionality (read: ease of use) is once again the reason behind this trend.
A beautiful website is good for the brand experience, but it does not equal an easy-to-use and/or effective website where goals are met. Whether you're promoting services, selling products, or recruiting donors: good design that applies user experience principles contributes greatly to achieving your goals.
The principles explain, for example, how you can influence the decision-making process, or how to create an overview of (a lot of) information. We highlight three principles for each category. We start with three design principles that help visitors make their decisions.
1. Hick's law
Hick's Law says: The fewer options you are shown, the easier the choice becomes. For design, this means, for example, making form or selection menus short. You also prefer to limit the number of choices on the menu to a minimum.
2. Color psychology
Most people know that every color evokes a feeling. Red represents love, but it also represents danger. However, we point out more the contradiction on this point. A button containing an important option stands out with a high-contrast color. For example, by making the apply button on a job posting page the only high-contrast element, you lower the click-through threshold.
3. Von Restorf effect
You see the Von Restorff effect a lot when choosing subscriptions, where you want to direct the visitor towards your preferred option. You can do this by formatting this option differently, for example slightly larger, using a “most chosen” comment, or using a high-contrast color. Deflections are noticeable, so we use them in our designs!
Increase ease of use
The following three design principles focus more on increasing the usability of your website.
4. Gestalt principles
The Gestalt Principle is about collecting data. It affects design, but in reality it is mainly about function. By grouping content correctly you can create an overview for the visitor. Tell us: This information belongs together. With responsive websites, this principle is even more important: content should slide and change logically on each device, so that the content always remains grouped in a way that is understandable to the visitor.
5. Jacob's Law
Different is not always better. Jacob's Law says that you shouldn't deviate too much from the standard, because people get used to it and drop out more quickly. This is why, for example, the menu is always at the top and the mobile menu consists of three lines.
6. Fitts' law
Fitts' Law is actually consistent with Jacob's Law, regarding leakage. Fitts' Law states that anything that requires extra effort bothers you. With mobile phone designs, it's best to take fat fingers into account. Because if you have to click too precisely and open the wrong screen, the visitor might drop out. Whereas good design would have prevented this.
Of course, online design will still be about this in 2024 Create attractive websitesBut we see this as part of our profession Designers bee Pilots Especially of course. As a designer, you'll make a real difference in 2024 by designing well-performing, accessible, and easy-to-use websites.
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