1. Dark Mode

While this author isn't as enamored with dark mode as some, research shows it is a popular and engaging feature that many users enjoy.

"In 2021, web design will be stripped back to 'one job at a time' to avoid distraction and make interactions more comfortable." - Claire Taylor, Senior Product Designer at 99designs. This somewhat explains the popularity of last year's dark mode trend, which counteracted the overwhelming whiteness that dominates screen-based media. (99designs.com)

Undoubtedly, the dark mode has become one of the benchmark trends for 2020 with some of the leading brands offering them in their products as alternative themes (think Instagram, Android, or Apple). (popwebdesign.net)

On the aesthetic end, dark mode easily creates an ultra-modern look for your website while giving you the ability to highlight other design elements just by darkening the elements that surround it. (theedigital.com)

2. Page Speed

Page speed has long been a critical factor in optimizing web content to increase customer retention.

One of the most important web design standards is ultra-fast load time. (theedigital.com)

Quick loading times have been essential factors in UX and SEO for years, and it continues to be a top priority for websites that want to rank well and convert better. (theedigital.com)

Page loading time has always been one of the most important conditions for a well-optimised and converting website. (mblagomarketing.medium.com)

3. Chatbots

As chatbot tech continues to evolve and bots continue to get better, we will continue to see a rise in chatbot use across the web.

One of the fastest-growing web design trends in 2020, which will likely continue to be one of the biggest in 2021, is the inclusion of chatbots. More and more businesses are starting to use these bots to help soften the load on customer service teams and provide consumers with quick responses and solutions to their issues. I expect these bots will start to become smarter and more advanced. Rather than existing to only answer simple questions, I expect they will be developed to help consumers with more complex questions as well, therefore alleviating the stress on customer service teams even further and providing customers with near-instant feedback. (creativeclickmedia.com)

Chatbots have been around for quite some time. Of course, they are here to stay but to remain competitive online you need to make sure your bots sound more like human than they used to. The truth is no one likes chatting to a machine. The more personalised and humanised the conversation is the better. (mblagomarketing.medium.com)

Chatbots are another feature that has been popular for a few years and will continue to be relevant in 2021. As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to get more sophisticated, we expect to see chatbots become the norm for simple customer service requests and “personal shopping.” (theedigital.com)

4. Professional Product Photos

Professional product images have long been the cornerstone of great content but now with amazing HD displays on virtually all digital devices (desktop, mobile, wearables), it is more important than ever to nail the product image.

In 2020 [and beyond], surreal item photos are expected to become widespread over most of the e-commerce platforms and online stores. (medium.com)

The era of classic and realistic product images is a thing of the past. (codica.com)

Professional product photos help to quickly promote the product, as it easily gets the website user's attention. (badtempo.com)

5. User Interface / User Experience (UI/UX)

Voice User Interface (VUI) is getting a lot of buzz as the next big thing in UI.

Voice User Interface (VUI) Voice chatbots and virtual assistants [have] definitely become one of the hottest technology trends. (codica.com)

VUI or a Voice User Interface can boost your site's online presence and leave its mark on your visitors. (popwebdesign.net)

Such popular companies as Apple, Android, and Google implement this tendency to offer users the best experience. (medium.com)

Microanimations enhance the user experience and prompt website visitors to take action. (mblagomarketing.medium.com)

6. 3D Elements

3D elements are everywhere these days!

Spoiler Alert: It looks like 2021 will bring dark mode, mixed media, and 3d elements to the forefront with a high focus on page speed and user experience. (theedigital.com)

Much like microanimations, interactive 3D elements guide the user through the website [along] the path you want them to follow. (mblagomarketing.medium.com)

Hyper-realistic, albeit still "cartoonish", these Blender animated 3d characters are amazing out of the box and are fully customizable as well. (threedee.design)