We’re designing for the future with inclusivity, clarity and accessibility in mind. Here’s a quick look at five web design trends for 2022.
Founded by Harry Styles, the Pleasing website and brand captures Styles’ own gender-fluid sensibilities
1. Moving Beyond Gender Stereotypes
Toys ‘R’ Us did away with categorisation of products based on gender in 2015. It lets users filter their products based on age, brand and genre without associating toys to a specific gender.
A shift away from gender-based categorisation and the blue and pink dichotomy are an obvious step towards creating gender neutral experiences. An emphasis on what the product or service has to offer, abstract icons and experimenting with an androgynous aesthetic are some of the ways to create a gender-inclusive site.
Gender neutral beauty line Aesop has been winning hearts with its unisex messaging since the late 80s. More recent entrants into the gender neutral beauty space include Harry Styles’ Pleasing, Pharrel’s Human Race, and androgynous clothing brands like ClHu. Their websites capture the spirit of Generation Z with psychedelic palettes and earth-friendly imagery. Brands that create beauty formulations and fashion for everyone minus stereotypes.
Gender-fluid website and brand design from Pharrel’s skincare brand Humanrace
2. Mini Sites: Brand Storytelling in Bite-Sized Bits
Mini-sites and app-like experiences are growing in popularity for their ability to provide an on-demand solution to very specific needs. From mini-sites to share fan creativity to fun tutorial videos, companies don’t always have to talk about themselves directly to make strides in brand awareness.
Music giant Roland launched a new mini site to celebrate turning 50 years old in 2022.
To avoid information overload, businesses are using mini-sites to promote specific products, and commemorate milestones. Music giant Roland launched a mini site to celebrate turning 50 years old in 2022, covering the development and emergence of some of their most influential hardware of the past five decades. Mini-sites often enjoy higher conversion rates because they only have to focus on one key message and are ideal for testing new product lines or alternative marketing goals.
3. Creating a Sense of Place as We Grow from Shared Experiences of Lockdown
George Nakashima Woodworkers creates an immediate connection and sense of place
As the pandemic kept people across the world indoors and out of social and community settings, web users have emerged with a greater appreciation for the unique qualities of a space that digital experiences — even virtual and augmented reality — might find hard to replicate. The George Nakashima Woodworkers website is designed introduce visitors to the essence of Nakashima’s craft and the philosophy that underpins it. The connections to forestry, earth and space are communicated effectively through imagery and words, and capture the essence of Nakashima’s unique ethos.
Rainforest Guardians connects and engages with 360 degree imagery and interactive vistas
Helping users feel connected to a place, or a cause, is key to successful engagement. Rainforest Guardians uses atmospheric visuals to engage visitors and convert them into volunteers. Newest Americans takes you on an empathetic journey through New Jersey, one not seen through the lens of mainstream media, but through the eyes of immigrants. It offers a very different and palpable way of rallying immigrant experiences across the state.
Newest Americans transports visitors straight to New Jersey, capturing and documenting migrant stories
4. Minimalism — Eliminating visual clutter and simplifying narratives
According to Google User Experience research, a majority of internet users prefer websites that are less visually complex.
Aviation brand Hyer commands attention to various parts of its site without making the user feel overwhelmed. Whether you’re just researching the brand or looking to hire a charter, the website is easy to navigate.
A simple design means that visitors don’t have to spend time trying to figure out how your site works. This can help reduce abandonment rates. The simpler you make it for users to accomplish their goal, or learn about your company, product or service, the more likely they are to want do business with you. If a user has to jump through hoops just to get what they need from your website, chances are they’ll look elsewhere. So, when in doubt, cut the clutter out.
Hyer simplifies its design to one colour and fewer choices to eliminate decision fatigue
5. Inclusive design and language to create better accessibility
Although inclusive design has been an industry buzzword for a while now, many brands still don’t understand what it means or how to incorporate it into their own websites. Apple’s web and product designs have always reflected a deep institutional commitment to the disability community, but the brand’s accessibility features also underscore the idea that while accessibility software prioritises people with disabilities, you needn’t have a disability to reap the benefits of larger text or assistive touch or voice controls. Accessibility is inclusive of everyone, regardless of ability.
All websites can make the move to accessible content. When you make your web design inclusive of people with disabilities or other forms of difference, it can benefit your brand and your visitors in a number of ways. For instance, by including alt text on every image you display on your website, you are ensuring that users with visual impairments will be able to navigate your site. You’re also making sure that search engines can index your images, which means you’ll get more traffic from them. By using legible font sizes for all of your text you’re making sure that as many people as possible will be able to read what you write.
If you are looking for a one-stop set of guidelines to make your content more inclusive, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a good place to begin.
Apple’s web and product designs incorporate accessibility for vision, mobility, cognitive and hearing impairments
2022 Web Design Trends: Accessibility, Joy and Discovery
In 2021, responsive and mobile-first websites dominated trends in web design. Our digital habits have evolved further in 2022. Simplicity (fewer steps to make purchases or find information), a strong sense of place (as people slowly transition out of lockdown), improved accessibility and gender-fluid design are just some of what’s going to define great web design in the coming year.
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