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7 Predictions for Web Design in 2024


7 Predictions for Web Design in 2024

Ben Moss.

January 01, 2024

At this time every year, we like to run through some predictions of what the coming 12 months will mean for web designers.

7 Predictions for Web Design in 2024.

Perhaps for you, 2023 was a vintage year, 12 months that you hope will repeat for the rest of your life. But globally, 2023 wasn’t great: we doubled the number of major wars, the world economy is still struggling, and the climate is breaking down faster than predicted.

But there’s power in positive thinking. Knowing where we’ve been, and why you didn’t like it, helps point you in the right direction. So here’s to a vintage 2024, a year in which (we hope) you’ll be happy, healthy, and prosperous in your life and your work.

It’s the first of January, a clean slate. So let’s go again…

How Did I Do in 2023?

Before looking at our predictions for the coming 12 months, it’s tradition that we take a look back to see how last year’s prediction panned out.

  1. We’ll stop freaking out over AI — considering how useful AI has proven itself in the past few months, and the fact that the really great implementations of AI help designers rather than replacing them, I’m saying I got that one right.
  2. We’ll embrace the real world — post-lockdown, I felt that we’d bring the natural world into our design work. And there have certainly been nature-inspired trends, from the Art Nouveau revival, to Pantone’s color of the year. I’m saying I got that one right too.
  3. We’ll reject brutalism — we did. The brutalism trend of over. I’m on a roll this year.
  4. We’ll reject dark mode — I predicted that we’d all get tired of the dark mode trend, and it’s definitely not been as prevalent this year. It may be that dark mode has grown beyond a trend — I hope so, I’m writing this in an app using dark mode. But as a design trend, I think we tired of it. Are we on track for a clean sweep on the predictions?
  5. We’ll embrace personal retro — personal retro? No, it’s Instagram filters are still everywhere. I missed the mark there.
  6. We’ll fall for borecore — perhaps my devotion to invisible design was coloring my predictions, because I was wide of the markl with this one too.

All in all 4/6 predictions were broadly correct, that’s a success rate of 67%. Better than last year’s score of 30%. Let’s see what 2024’s going to look like…

1. Google Makes or Breaks AI

Google is in big trouble.

Google’s near-monopoly is based on the supremacy of its search algorithm. Without it, it loses advertising revenue. But AI-powered search is already a reality and Google’s first attempt to hop on the AI bandwagon failed spectacularly. SGE (Search Generative Experience) may be its last roll of the dice.

And so 2024 will bring one of two things: either Google’s SGE will transform SEO, or Google will, Cnut-like, attempt to halt the march of AI by downgrading sites it thinks are relying on AI.

2. Kinetic Branding

Gone are the days when a logo needs to work in black and white. Businesses print less and less, and even when they do, color printers are the norm.

Most branding is now found online, but there are so many different use-cases for branding from favicons to VR installations, that a single mark is often too inflexible.

Kinetic branding is motion-based. It draws attention to itself by animating, but it brings with it the added benefit of adaptability.

3. Shortstack Design Services

For years, designers have pitched themselves as fullstack or full service designers. A comprehensive one-stop-shop for a client’s design needs. It’s simply not realistic. Even large agencies with hundreds of staff pull in freelancers these days.

This year, it’s not about solving your client’s problems. It’s about delivering one small part of a whole design solution. It’s going to take intricate planning, relationship building, and a great deal of specialist knowledge.

This year, most of your clients will be other designers.

4. Small Language Models

The reality is that to simulate human-generated content AI needs to be trained on human-generated content. There’s a whole mess of legal issues that have yet to be untangled — our legal frameworks may simply not be capable of regulating AI.

What will likely emerge in 2024 is the option to generate content from content you already own — no one is going to sue the author of Fantastic Beasts for ripping off Harry Potter.

Brands will be in a position to use their own content, to train AI to create more, similar content. Without the ethical dilemmas.

5. Video

Throughout 2023 we saw designers prioritizing content that was unique to a company. Whereas once the cute hand-drawn mascot was relegated to the help page, now it was front and center. Anything that was unique, human-generated, and authentic worked well.

That trend will continue in 2024 with extensive use of short videos. AI is great at editing video, but it can’t replace a moving human face on a screen (yet).

It’s unlikely there’ll be an AI backlash just yet (that will come in 2025) but we certainly value the things AI can’t do convincingly.

6. First-Hand Experience

The driving force behind content creation has always been to capture as much of the market as possible. Mathematically, that means producing similar sites with similar content to the market leaders.

But the advent of AI means that anyone can create generic sites and content. Google has been moving towards expert content for some time as part of its EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and, Trustworthiness) guidelines.

To distinguish search results from AI-generated answers, there’ll be a greater emphasis in experience, going forward.

7. Text-Only Websites

We’ve talked about kinetic branding, but kinetic typography is also a growing trend. Animated text does an excellent job of grabbing attention while loading fast and adapting to devices, which is why text-only hero sections have been popular in 2023.

In 2024 an increasing number of sites will abandon, or significantly downplay images in favor of large, animated text not just for hero sections but for the entire digital experience.

Ben Moss

Ben Moss is Senior Editor at WebdesignerDepot. He’s designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. One of these days he’ll run a sub-4hr marathon. Say hi on Twitter.

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