10 Web Design Trends On the Rise in 2018

10 Web Design Trends on the Rise in 2018

10 Web Design Trends On the Rise in 2018

In 2017, we observed web design trends align more than ever with mobile trends.

(To recap, click here to read our post about web design trends for 2017.)

While the heavy upward trend of users accessing the internet on mobile is nothing new (and is a trend we have seen on the rise for several years now), 2018 web design trends overall will progressively lean on mirroring the look and feel of a mobile app. The most recent study to date reveals 69% of all media time is spent on smartphones across users of all demographics.

To put these trends into further perspective, apps account for 90% of mobile media time, while only 10% is spent on websites. The rising statistics of mobile and app usage only serve to infer that web users in 2018 want to visit a website that is uncomplicated, user-friendly, and fast – just like the apps they frequently use. Adhering to these web design trends for 2018 will ensure that visitors to your website will return again and again.

2018 Web Design Trends

1) Speed/Performance

Responsive design for mobile is now a requirement in the web design industry. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re already behind the times – several years, in fact. Adding to the mobile-friendly conversation now, however, is the issue of speed. If your site doesn’t load within the span of 2-4 seconds (max) on desktop or mobile, you are losing over half of your audience and potential customers. A faster website will increase conversions. More conversions = increasing that bottom line and putting more money in your pocket. Fixing the speed of your website will also increase user-friendliness and search engine ranking. Make decreasing the loading time of your website a top priority for 2018.

2) Negative Space

Apps enjoy a majority of mobile usage time, primarily because they are so user-friendly. The friendly user experience is due in part to the limited screen space app developers have to work with. Because space is limited, only critical information and clear calls to action are able to fit on a small screen to increase conversions. This has to happen without the app appearing cluttered or overwhelming for the user, so apps also employ lots of negative space to direct users to where they should go. The trend for websites to cleverly use negative space will rise in 2018. We will see only necessary information and clear, simple calls to action displayed on a website. Clutter, clunky design, confusing calls to action, and complicated navigation menus are now a thing of the past.

As an example, see how Apple uses negative space on their homepage to send users directly to iPhone X.

apple iphone x negative space

3) Illustrations

Last year, we saw genuine photography showcasing an authentic brand message (as opposed to stock images) become a rising trend. This year, we see illustrations rising as the trend in web design, especially in place of large hero or background images. Illustrations are a great way to clarify and emphasize a brand’s message. The key to why illustrations are rising, though, is because they are much lighter and faster to load than traditional photos or images. A faster load time, as discussed above, will increase your user-friendliness factor and give your site an advantage in search engine rankings. Illustrations can also be used to easily explain elaborate concepts, and can be custom-tailored in a way that photography can not.

For case studies, check out these 30 examples of illustrations in web design.

4) Geometry

We talked about the importance of geometry last year as a rising trend, but it is still vital as a web design trend in 2018. Mobile and web apps use geometric shapes to familiarize users quickly with its layout and content. Websites in 2018 should do the same. When designing, keep the geometry simple and uncomplicated. Rectangles and squares are able to scale easily between screen sizes, and provide a simple way to group different types of content – text, icons, illustrations, or images. Familiar geometric patterns comfort the user and provide an easy way for visitors to consume content and make decisions.

5) Movement

Piggybacking off of the Illustrations trend, movement – especially subtle movement – is a trend that we will see rising in 2018. Illustrations can incorporate movement. We will also see movement rise in the use of cinemagraphs – a still photograph in which a minor and repeated movement occurs – or particle backgrounds. (See marvelapp.com as a case study for particle backgrounds.) Subtle movement captures the user’s eye and helps retain their interest and time on a page, which in turn aids to boost session duration (helpful for SEO).

6) Mobile Navigation

Last year, we talked about promoting fewer menu options to increase user-friendliness and a website’s conversion rate. This year, we will see the navigation options trend even further towards a mobile-style, which naturally incorporates fewer menu options, a streamlined navigation style, and more negative space (which as discussed above, is an advantage). The mobile hamburger navigation icon is now considered a standardized web practice. You will also see a change in the placement of web navigation, as apps tend to use a bottom sticky navigation menu (as opposed to a top menu). Using mobile navigation on your website will already be familiar to users who spend a lot of time on mobile devices. You can be sure this trend will rise in 2018 and beyond.

7) Micro-Interactions

Made popular through the social media giant, Facebook, micro-interactions are indications that a user has performed a task-based activity. Consider micro-interactions as checkmarks on a checklist, telling a user instantly through micro-feedback that they have completed a specific task. When executed well, they are almost unnoticeable, but make all the difference in the world. Examples of micro-interactions are short noises issued when a button is pressed, or a small animation or change wherever a screen has been tapped. Specifically, consider how stars change based on a user’s actions when giving a review on Yelp or a Facebook page.  Micro-interactions provide helpful feedback to a user’s actions, and will become an expectation for users in the near future.

8) Personalization

With all of the technology, ad networks, and automations available today, users and customers want to know you’re paying attention to them specifically. One way to do that is to provide a personalized experience for every customer – whether that’s remembering their favorite order, items they’ve purchased in the past, or displaying their name when they visit your site. Personalization is a trend we will see rise as consumers demand individual attention, and is one to consider implementing now in 2018. Business is now about the people and their experience more than anything. Your customers will love and thank you for the personalization, and you can almost guarantee repeat business from it.

9) Security

Website security sounds like a given in this industry. It doesn’t seem like it should make a trend list, but search engines and users alike are placing a high priority on secure websites. In 2017, Google flagged all websites that did not possess an SSL certificate. Hackers attack every 39 seconds, affecting one in three Americans each year. Users want to know if they can trust visiting your site and filling out your contact form, let alone trust you with their personal and financial information. Ironclad security is a must in 2018, and users will not only expect, but demand a secure experience and trusted certificate from any website they visit and do business with.

10) Bots

2017 saw a drastic increase in the use of bots – both chatbots and messenger bots on Facebook and websites alike. Bot technology will rise in 2018, as users expect information on demand without even having to look for it on a webpage. Anticipate a mass integration of bot technology in the web design industry this year – and join this trend if you want to provide a seamless user experience to your customers.


If you have concerns about your website’s speed or security in 2018, want to update your website’s design with fresh trends such as mobile navigation, negative space, or custom illustrations, or want to incorporate micro-interactions, bot technology, or personalization into your new or current website, contact us for a free proposal today!



Bethany Loginow

Bethany is a project manager at Brown Box Branding. On the side, she enjoys researching and writing about innovative design and technology in the web design industry. She is also a proud wife and mom of 5 kids.

  • avatar
    Posted at 10:43h, 01 March Reply

    Excellent points. Always a good idea to review your site, and make sure it’s staying relevant!

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