Websites have been around since the earliest inception of the internet, providing people with the information they seek. At its earliest stages, websites mostly looked plain—often comprising simple backgrounds, features, and texts with links. Naturally, as the internet continued evolving, more people gravitated towards spending time online. During such a phase in the 200s, businesses began to recognize the difference having an online presence can make. Thus, websites began having more complex designs and personalized styles to fit every website owner’s preferences.
Throughout the years, website designers innovated the look of a custom website design to fit the rising trends. As we enter the first half of the 2020s, let’s explore how customized website designs evolve.
Customized Website Designs: What Makes These Designs Special?
With its less geographically-restricted platform, the internet becomes the ideal avenue for most businesses to make their brands known. And for companies that want to venture into digital marketing, websites (along with social media accounts) are the must-haves. When your business seeks to have its website, design is an element that should weigh significantly on your decision.
Designing a website can take two routes: templates or customization. Depending on your business goals and needs, it may be more beneficial to have a customized design for your website. A brand can differentiate itself more from competitors with custom website designs. A business owner can request features, color palettes, and design elements unique to their brand. Furthermore, customizing a website helps scale the website as your business grows, allowing for better flexibility than its templated counterpart. More importantly, custom designs will optimize your website for search engines, driving more traffic and potential clients.
Hence, if your goal for creating a website is to increase your brand’s online visibility, customization wins in a custom website design vs template dilemma.
Exploring the Evolution of Custom Website Design
As a custom website design company, we’ve always been keen on how custom website designs have transformed over time. Custom website designing is a highly creative and ever-innovative industry. As for business owners, knowing about the evolution of website design will help them understand how these personalized websites contribute to their marketing endeavors. Such an understanding will also help business owners predict future trends to help them create informed web design decisions. Thus, allow us to take you on a journey exploring how custom websites look in the past, present, and future!
How Customizing Website Designs Started
To appreciate how far modern website designs have come, let’s discuss the birth of CERN— the world’s first website. The website began its operation in November 1992 with the primary purpose of distributing information to researchers. Tim Berners-Lee, the pioneer of web designing, also introduced HTML to the world. He used HTML as the code language to organize data and create the still accessible CERN website. Two years later, the world’s first search engine came to be. The ALIWEB (Archie Like Indexing for the Web) had a simple function: categorizing links into computing, newsstand, entertainment, and more. Such innovations drew the interest of thousands of people, ushering in the popularity boom of websites in the early 90s.
Source: The Atlantic
We can attribute the Y2K era to an age of exploration and experimentation for web designers and developers. With e-commerce, blogging, and the rise of social media, it’s evident how website development has opened new realms of possibilities. With all these in mind, we can conclude that customizing websites did begin to rise during this time. And since we’ve discussed the evolution of custom website design over the years, let’s now talk about the recent trends in website design.
Source: Early eBay. Internet Archive
Website Design Trends in the Recent Past
Trends are fleeting; they can come and go, with most people not even noticing. Some experts suggest that most trends have a lifespan of a few weeks to several months, depending on their popularity. While website design trends may sound insignificant, collectively, they help shape how this concept will go in the coming years.
To understand how these trends work, let us discuss the custom website design trends of a familiar time. Below are some trends in custom website designs that gained popularity in 2020 – 2022.
Website Designs with Dark Mode
One of the most prevalent designs in 2020 was the dark theme, notable for having dark backgrounds and contrasting design elements. These website designs also follow a more minimalistic approach. This way, web designers can maximize a web user’s attention whenever they visit the website. Aside from accenting colors, the dark mode also helped extend an OLED screen’s lifespan. Furthermore, having a predominantly dark User Interface Design reduces eye strain. Thus, this trend is ideal for people that stare at a screen too often for extended periods.
Website Designs Inspired by Apps
According to a study by eMarketer in 2020, people spend an average of 4 hours daily on the internet. Within these hours, people stay on their mobile applications 88% more than on web browsing. Hence, web designers collaborated more with application development teams to produce websites that offer an experience consistent with their corresponding mobile apps.
Website Designs with 3D Objects
With screens having much higher resolutions, web designers can include hyper-realistic objects in the designs. These 3D designs offer web users a more immersive experience, especially when Virtual Reality (VR) isn’t mostly part of the mainstream yet. The concept of rendering 3D objects also paved the way for another design trend—Neomorphism. As a design concept, Neomorphism overlays 3D mimicking icons into semi-flat colors. Implementing such a technique also adds a layer of realism to text boxes and buttons.
Website Designs with Interactive Features
In an age when people have limited attention spans, custom website design trends gravitated towards making design elements more engaging for users. With heightened animation, website interaction goes beyond unique page transitions and scrolling. Some websites allow the texts to move or interact with the web user’s cursor without compromising readability.
With interaction comes the inclusion of motion among website design elements. Thus, another trend that people adopted is incorporating responsible motion decisions. If designers exaggerate their animations, it may cause other web users to experience sickness or discomfort. Hence, this trend rose from web designers’ collective agreement that web animation should not come at the cost of the user’s safety.
Website Design Trends in the Present
Now that we’ve delved into the custom website design evolution of the recent past, it’s high time to talk about the present. As we near the end of 2023’s first quarter, we’ve collected the noticeable design trends that dominated the industry. With the emergence of these trends, we hope to give those who want a custom website an idea of what appeals to modern audiences. From throwback aesthetics to loading screen animations, we’ve curated some trends that may be worth incorporating into your website.
Website Designs Inspired by the Y2K Aesthetics
Y2K is a re-emerging style taking the world by storm—from fashion to video editing to magazine covers. Everyone seems to be taking the nostalgic early 2000s aesthetics at the forefront of their stylistic choices. With the people’s Y2K gravitation, it would be a waste for custom website designers not to incorporate these into their designs.
Translating the Y2K style can be done in several ways. One of which is adopting text-based designs with fonts reminiscent of that era (e.g., Arial and Verdana). Early 2000s websites are also notable for having more white space, compared to the dark-themed trend of the previous years. Other design trends may include customized cursors, pixelation, and cyber-themed aesthetics.
Website Designs with Clay Morphism
Claymation-style designs are also taking a spot in the current custom website design trends. Such a style captures the playfulness of 3D-modeled clay-like avatars reminiscent of the characters found in claymation movies. Applications like “Guuulp!” and “Bondee” use clay morphism as features that make their online experience distinctive and stylized.
Websites with Loading Animations
Similar to the resurgence of the Y2K aesthetics, loading screens are also coming back in 2023. Having a loading screen can help hit two birds with one stone. Firstly, loading screens amp up a website visitor’s engagement and immersive experience. Second, having an attention-grabbing loading animation will urge website visitors not to leave your website while the screen loads. As the average human attention span continues to shorten, it’s best to make waiting less hassle.
Websites with AI Tools
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been gaining momentum these past few years. In 2023, many website owners have their sights on adding AI components to their envisioned websites. Perhaps the most popular AI feature would be adding chatbots. Using chatbots as virtual assistants requires eye-catching designs to encourage visitors to seek their support. Thus, incorporating visually-striking design elements into your website’s AI tools will help generate more engagement with your visitors.
Websites with Entertaining Features
Website features don’t have to serve a particular purpose other than to keep web users entertained. Website developers and designers should optimize the current technology to create more engaging features for website visitors. While this may not sound cost-effective, this will become a good investment in hindsight. Adding fun features will encourage online visitors to stay longer and navigate your website further.
Website Design Trends in the Future
As we strive to become the best custom website design company, we must also know where our industry is heading. With our knowledge of past and present trends, we believe we can foresee what new ideas may emerge. Let’s discuss the custom website design trends that will most likely become popular in the latter half of 2023.
Websites with One Web Page
One-page websites are gaining attention because it reduces the hassle of visitors navigating through dozens of web pages. These websites will condense and convey all the necessary details in what will serve as the home page. Doing so will promote better user engagement while significantly boosting your website’s loading speed.
Websites with Larger-Than-Life Typography
What’s the best way to catch the attention of website visitors? For many people, it all boils down to enlarging their website texts. Brands wanting to send a clear message to their audiences often go for oversized website typography. Since these fonts are large, custom website designers must pair them with plain-looking backgrounds to lessen visual busyness. Thus, choosing this design entails encouraging the website visitors to focus more on the website’s content or message.
Websites with App-Like Features
The future relies heavily on mobile apps! This trend expands on the concept of websites striving to uphold website-app consistency. As more people lean toward mobile usage, it’s the ideal time for desktop usage to offer a similar experience. Trust us when we say: designing a website with a mobile-first perspective will boost user experience.
With this trend, the goal is to not only replicate the design of the website’s mobile app counterpart. We foresee a trend wherein website developers will strive to add more interactive features to capture the mobile experience.
Websites with Premium-Exclusive Features
Offering premium-exclusive content is a concept that’s been hugging the industry’s spotlight these past few years. Therefore, we’re envisioning more and more brands to explore more on creating premium-exclusive experiences for their website. Firstly, website owners must find convincing ways for visitors to pay for their premium content or features. By doing so, their website can generate more direct profit and help them expand their business faster. Adding a premium gateway will also foster a loyal following for your brand. That will motivate most companies to improve their website’s membership experience constantly.
Where Does This Knowledge About Website Designing Trends Lead You?
Your decision to create a website for your small business will significantly affect your brand. Thus, becoming aware of these trends will help you lay your envisioned website better. Remember: every decision counts when expanding your business endeavors. From your chosen font to the features present in your website—all these contribute to how you want online users to perceive your brand. So, we encourage you to optimize the benefits these trends promise as you incorporate the ones relevant to your goals into your website.
Let Us Bring Your Visions to Life!
Now that you are aware of the various custom website design trends, are you seeking to have a website? For several years now, Proweaver has been providing affordable custom website design services to small businesses worldwide. With our team of skilled designers and developers, we’ll strive to have your desired website come to life!
So, if you want the most cost-effective way to achieve your dream website, we should be at the top of your list. Try contacting us today at +1 (877) 216-0852, +1 (877) 300-6564, or +1 (866) 777-8315. We’ll be ready to address all your questions concerning custom websites and digital marketing.