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11 elements of modern website design

11 Elements of Modern Website Design

You know a professional website when you see it—that clean and modern design that makes a strong first impression. Modern website design elements are trendy, sophisticated and adapt to today's users. This means including features that facilitate a clean, good looking website experience.

In today’s digital world, with 1.88 billion sites online, it’s no doubt your website design should have an excellent user experience and up-to-date look to stand out. Like Dopple Press—the site that took the web by storm and won the Wix Stunning Awards.

Let’s dive deeper into what it looks like to create a modern website design. In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of modern website elements and looking at best practices for how to make a website, showcasing examples made on Wix.

What is modern website design, and why choose it?

A modern web design is one that emphasizes aesthetic quality and usability by utilizing up-to-date elements and design principles. Imagine what an outdated website from the early 2,000s looks like, with grainy stock images and Comic Sans font. Modern websites are the opposite.

Whether you’re starting a business, re-branding or simply planning to freshen up your site, optimizing your site with the sleek, trendy and professional traits of a modern website design will help you reap these benefits:

Elements of modern website design

Below are 11 common modern website design elements to gain inspiration and implement to your site. Included are live sites created on Wix that have successfully applied some of the latest and greatest modern design features.

  1. White space

  2. Scroll effects

  3. Bold colors

  4. Large typography

  5. Device consistency

  6. Movement

  7. Minimalism

  8. Clean website layouts

  9. Clear navigation

  10. Homepage video

  11. Incredible images

01. White space

White space is a modern website design practice that embraces organization. The effect creates a visual hierarchy between content on a page.

Using white space to distinguish the visual order of elements—such as images, written content, or calls-to-action—helps attract users to key parts of your site. It does not have to be in the color white, any color can create this modern effect as long as the content is spaced correctly.

Festela clothing collection perfectly applies white space to their site. The white space of the website background brings their company name, colorful typography and rich images to the center stage, resulting in an expressly modern look.

white space example as part of modern website design by Festela

02. Scroll effects

Wave goodbye to static sections and say hello to “scrolly-telling.”

Unique scroll effects can create an interactive browsing experience on top of a clean design. Incorporating movement and flawless flow, effects like parallax scrolling add a fun and modern quality, while encouraging visitors to explore more parts of your site.

Here are different types of scrolling effects you can apply with the Wix Editor:

  • Parallax scrolling: Scroll down and the background changes, such as on Ivy Chen’s site.

  • Scroll-triggered animations: Scroll and animations pop up but the rest stays the same.

  • Horizontal scrolling: Your page moves to the right or left instead of down.

  • Long scrolling: You scroll down one page for a longer period.

  • Infinite scrolling: The page will go in a loop and you will scroll down and eventually start again at the top.

scrolling as a modern websites design - seen by Ivy Chen

03. Bold colors

Bold, bright and colorful are your modern website’s superpower. Ensure you choose a website color scheme that matches your brand’s tone. Keep in mind that certain colors provoke specific emotions. Blue for instance is associated with confidence, security and reliable authority, hence many brands in the social media industry are blue.

Don't be shy. Go with something attention-grabbing—that’s what modern website design is all about. Mariela Mezquita took an intelligent risk by going with a bold orange web background color and used shapes effectively in the design. The Sans Serif font tops it off to achieve a clean modern design.

Mariela's Mezquita's bold site colors as part of modern web design

04. Large typography

Give a big warm welcome to your website visitors with large text right when they arrive. Use a captivating lettering style to easily achieve a modern vibe. Many web designers today will even cover the entire top fold of a webpage with one word or phrase that captures the spirit of their site. This allows the text to be the initial focus and provides context for first time visitors.

You may choose to go with a unique font that makes you identifiable and differentiated from competitors, such as the trendy Serif font on Tiffany Cruz's portfolio website. The whole first fold of the homepage is dedicated to her full name, making a strong (and clear) statement about her website. It's different from what you'd see back in the early 2000s, when titles used to be much smaller and take up less space on a site.

large typography on Tiffany Cruz's modern portfolio website

05. Device consistency

Since half of the worldwide web traffic comes from mobile devices, creating a desktop-only site is passé. A key to a modern site is meeting expectations of a clean and user-friendly mobile website. Your goal as a website owner is to keep your user's experience consistent regardless of the type of device.

The built-in Wix Mobile Editor allows you to optimize ​​your website's mobile view, so your site looks great on the go with no coding skills necessary. Case in point: the hair product line Babe Formula has a modern website design that's identical, consistent and easy to navigate on both mobile and desktop. As you can see below, on both versions the images and sections align to convey the same professional yet friendly user experience.

device consistency is a key modern website element seen by Babe Formula

06. Movement

Also known as animation web design, movement is a modern website design element that makes your site more interactive when visitors click, scroll or hover. This is undoubtedly attention-grabbing, since our eyes tend to seek movement and focus on things in action. All in all, animation and motion are sophisticated features that generate playfulness and lead to people spending more time on your website.

Here are some ideas for how to add animation as part of your modern website design:

  • Have a playful cursor or button: If you're a pizza restaurant, you could have a pizza slice as your cursor (this can be achieved by using hover box effects). This can apply to your whole website design or just on specific pages, like your online form design.

  • Rotating images: If you're a tourism company, you can show holidays packages with different destination images or simply make an icon pop upwards as Jennifer Xiao did.

  • Spinning elements: After clicking “buy” from your online store, the object can spin into the shopping cart.

  • Navigation menu animation: Different items on your menu change as you hover over them like this food marketing site’s bitten-off buttons.

  • 3D motion: If you’re interested in adding a 3D moving element, use Wix’s transparent video tool to add this type of motion to your site.

Extraweg's creative website took major advantage of the 3D web design trend. The artist, Oliver Latta, presents an animated 3D visual on his homepage. It adds depth and shadow to your website's graphics, plus a modern level of interactivity.

example of 3D modern websites by Extraweg

07. Minimalism

When it comes to modern website design, less is more. Choosing a minimalistic design with no flashy features is sometimes a safer design route and can come across as more professional. With little distractions, the most relevant elements stand out on a clean, minimalistic website, making it easier for visitors to find.

Wall decor store Malco Wallshop uses a minimalistic design with light-colored earth tones. The lack of clutter and little text on the site make it minimalist and modern.

example of a modern website design that's minimalistic by Malco Wallshop

08. Clean website layouts

Part of modern web design is forging a cohesive visual experience. While many creatives are experimenting with asymmetrical designs these days, a classic symmetrical website layout will ensure your content is broken up in a clean and organized structure.

Two such layout ideas include:

  • Card based layouts, which are great for portfolio websites. Slightly resembling a collage, this layout is simple to navigate, stays consistent across screens, and makes all images bite-sized. You can see Blanca Mora's illustration portfolio website that uses card-based web design. All her remarkable pieces get their own moments to shine in their rectangles yet complement one another to create a modern, cohesive web experience.

Modern card based website layout example by Blance Mora

  • Split-screen layouts, which efficiently navigate users. This interface layout divides the home page into two or more vertical parts, creating a quick navigation experience to featured sub pages. For example, Loukaa's screen split has one button to "Shop Women" and another to "Shop Kids." Knowing that the majority of their users come to the site to do those two things, designing the site around that intention is a modern design choice.

Split-screen layout as part of modern web design with example by Loukaa

09. Clear navigation

Website navigation encompasses the organization of links and menus on your website. Your navigation menu influences the connection between different pages and how easily visitors can find them. In a modern world, you want to streamline how people get from point A to B on your site—because no one has time to stay on a site that isn't intuitive.

Dog collar shop Hound Squad applied website navigation best practices such as a menu drop-down feature. Secondly, they linked their logo to their homepage, making it effortless for visitors to get back to the start. This differs from websites in the past where menus were less calibrated and overcomplicated with options.

Modern clear website navigation seen by Hound Squad

10. Homepage video

On the search engine optimization (SEO) side, “using video boosts organic search traffic to your website by 157%" and "your site is 53X more likely to rank on the first page of Google if it includes video." If that's not reason enough, videos also benefit engagement on the modern website design front. Video can be processed faster than text, as a result, you can say more with fewer words.

Five Fields' modern and elegant restaurant video allows site visitors to already "get a taste" of what's waiting before arriving. Unlike older websites with no video or motion image, here a video is worth a thousand words. Placed on the homepage's top fold, it uses different footage to showcase the restaurant itself and the finest ingredients being used.

include homepage video for a modern website with Five Fields as an example

11. Incredible images

We live in a visual world that is becoming more immune to reading lengthy text. By including engaging images in your web design, you will capture the attention of modern audiences and let your products speak for themselves.

What's considered an incredible image? A high-quality photo shot in good lighting that tells an interesting story. Even a product image with no people in it can communicate a message to visitors based on where it's placed, how it's captured and the content surrounding it.

French clothing line Hors-D’œuvre brings their web design to life with their quality imagery. Photos are taken from all kinds of angles and alternate distances, which enhances the modern experience. Most importantly, the diverse images help visitors get a real sense of the clothes before buying them.

modern websites include incredible images like Hors-Doeuvre does

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