Top Web Design Must-Haves for 2024

  • Best Practices
  • Design

In 2024, a new era ushers in an even more exciting digital landscape than ever before. New technologies and trends shape the way that we create websites and consider web design moving forward.

We don’t encourage anyone to run and jump onto the latest trends every year. But keeping a finger on the pulse of what is considered a must-have for a modern website is a great way to ensure that your website is up-to-date, inclusive, and visually appealing to your clients and users.

From increased awareness of accessibility to infusing fun into functionality, here are some of the top considerations to keep in mind when designing a website in 2024.

Sustainable Web Design

What Makes Web Design Sustainable?

Environmental sustainability, as it applies to the digital world, is a fairly new topic. Until recently, sustainability was only of concern in relation to topics such as social issues. However, it is just as important — if not more important — to consider how digital products and services impact the environment.

As a result, sustainable web design is an approach that puts our planet at the forefront of web development. While creating functional, visually stunning websites is important, we must also take into consideration how we can limit our burden on the environment.

How To Practice Sustainable Web Design

When we picture the digital landscape, we can imagine it like a globe, a series or interconnected countries passing information between them. If the internet were a country, it would be the 7th largest polluter in the world. Not exactly the outcome we imagined or the one that we hoped for.

The digital world is vast and extensive. But how can we ensure that it doesn’t overburden our actual planet?

For starters, we must ensure that the resources stored online don’t take up too much cyberspace. By minimizing files, such as images, we can reduce bandwidth and server overload. Where appropriate, it is best to use grayscale and monochrome images to lighten our carbon footprint.

Did you know that approximately 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions are generated by digital technologies? It might seem like an overwhelming reality. But small measures can make a big difference. In 2020, Dutch programmer Danny Van Kooten trimmed the code of his popular WordPress plug-in for Mailchimp. Over 2 million websites utilize the plug-in. As a result of this decision, our global CO2 output was reduced by nearly 60,000 kilograms.

Accessibility-Focused Design

Web Accessibility: Essential For Some, Useful For All

Accessibility in web design is not a trend, but a necessity. Currently, 90% of websites are inaccessible to those who rely on assistive devices. As more awareness is brought to the importance of accessibility, it plays a more significant role in web design.

More and more, websites are being built with accessibility in mind. This is largely due to the continued efforts of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The members of this initiative are responsible for publishing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

In order to meet these guidelines, the following conditions must be met:

  • Perceivable: Users can perceive the information and user interface with their available senses.
  • Operable: A website is not only accessible by a mouse, but a keyboard or other assistive device.
  • Understandable: The user experience is created to be understandable by the broadest possible audience.
  • Robust: The website is tested to ensure that content is compatible with multiple browsers, assistive technologies, and other user agents.

Implementing Accessibility in Web Design

Recently, there has been an increase in the implementation of accessibility in web design — but it still only scratches the surface of what can and must be done. The good news is that it isn’t difficult to start making your website more inclusive to all users.

Alternative text is an easy and immediate way to improve accessibility. It can be applied to anything from images and video to audio content. Alternative text describes content to individuals with visual impairments who utilize assistive devices such as screen readers. Even outside of the web design world, image alternative text is increasingly common in spaces such as social media platforms. By adopting these standards, visual content is instantly more accessible to users.

It’s also crucial to consider how your website might be negatively impacting users, in addition to impeding access. For instance, according to W3C guidelines, accessible web pages must not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period. This type of content should be avoided when possible and a warning is essential when flashing is present.

Animated Illustrations

Animation Meets Website Design

Animations have become a fun opportunity for designers to explore new and visually stunning ways to convey information and enhance the user experience. They provide an outlet for creativity and brand personality as a way to infuse the identity of an organization in exciting and distinctive ways.

Animations aren’t only visually impressive; in fact, they can be a big sell for your website. Animated content, as well as videos, can increase conversions on your landing page by over 80%. So you might be wondering, how exactly can animations be implemented in modern web design?

An Immersive Web Experience

Boring loading pages? We don’t know them! Progression animations are often used to improve the user experience during the loading process. An animated progress bar can create a visually appealing way for the user to pass the time. Furthermore, scroll animation can be a great way to add depth to your website by guiding users through content in a dynamic way.

Animations can also be used on a broader scale to enhance a website’s storytelling capabilities. User engagement increases when you present a story with your products or services, particularly when animations are present. A long piece of written content can be broken down into a more digestible and immersive experience that users can connect with.

But don’t forget about your accessibility standards! When creating animations for the web, it’s important to stick to those guidelines we discussed above to ensure that you are providing the best possible experience for your audience.

404 Rehabilitation

404 Error Pages

Speaking of visually impressive web content, let’s put the “fun” back in “fundamentals”! Increasingly, web designers are turning to more creative options when it comes to developing their 404 error pages.

A 404 error page is a standard HTTP error message code that indicates the website you are attempting to reach cannot be located on the server. There are a few reasons why a user might encounter this error, such as a relocated web page, a caching error, a problem with DNS, or even something as simple as the incorrect URL being typed in.

Fun in Failure: Bringing the 404 Back to Life

404 error pages might not be the utmost concern to designer and client alike. In fact, at first glance, they are often written off as only mechanical and functional. But you might be surprised to learn that error pages are a great avenue for creative expression.

Take Plank’s 404 error page, for instance. Not only does it display the typical error code with a redirect to our work page, but it utilizes animations and interactive elements to engage users who reach the page. You can spend a few minutes exploring our error page at the link above to learn more (it’s okay if you get distracted by playing with the features, we won’t judge you).

Top Web Design Must-Haves for 2024

2024 is an exciting year for web design. As the world changes, so too does our digital world and it’s important to keep these considerations in mind when developing a website. While your website doesn’t need to be the most “trendy” page on the internet — in fact, we discourage it — these must-haves will help you to create the best and most inclusive possible website for your audience.