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Front-end Styles You Must Follow in 2021

January 2, 2021 |
Blog, UI Design, UX, UX Design, Web Design
Front-End 2021

Happy new year folks! Another year passed, and what an eventful year it was. The pandemic, lockdowns, working from home, new design trends, and a lot more. We covered the promising design trends of 2020, which are assumed to be the chartbusters in 2021. There are plenty of design trend articles floating around the web; these articles’ focus is very understandable because the design itself is what both a client and a visitor see. However, the front-end code behind it is mostly irrelevant and neglected by most users.

Of course, the code is as important as the outcome. An optimized approach, clean code, and new techniques help developers create beautiful designs in a scalable manner. Scalability is what the client wants; performance is what users want.

Therefore, to provide due respect to all front-end developers and offer insights and ideas to designers, we’ve compiled a list of front-end trends that you can follow in 2021.

CSS Custom Properties

CSS Custom Properties have been around for quite some time now. However, it hasn’t gained the level of popularity that was expected. Developers have wanted it for years, like the W3C Module Level 1 is from 2015. Any new technology takes a while to get traction; we believe that CSS custom properties will see the most considerable adoption rates since its inception in 2021.

Custom Properties are variables in CSS. One might argue that we have variables in Sass as well. Yes, but when you compile Sass to CSS, you get CSS with no variables. You cannot change the value of that variable ($primary: red is just red).

But, with custom properties, you have (–primary: red). And after that, you can redefine ( –primary) to blue. This can be done directly in the browser, without any compiling. 

One great hack to use them is for custom theming. One can define HSL values via variables and then allow the users to change the hue using a slider at the front-end. The slider value can be connected to the CSS variable with JS and BAM with the “Set your color scheme” functionality.

Variable Fonts

Like CSS Custom Properties, variable fonts have been around for a while, but still are not widely used. One of the reasons for its occasional use is the number of tutorials/guides and techniques to be adopted by developers and the fonts themselves. You cannot simply pick any random font and apply changes to it.

One of the best websites to use and experiment with is Variable Fonts. It also acts as a demo if you are hearing this term for the first time. You can use a single file and apply properties like “font-weight” or “font-style” with complete control over the amount of thickness or slant using variable fonts. 

Variable fonts provide nearly infinite freedom to the developers and designers, in terms of font looks. Every designer comes across a situation where they think that “font-weight: bold” is a little too much, but “normal” is just too thin, and there is nothing in between?

Font-designers are well aware of this situation and often provide middle properties. These middle properties are labeled with numbers such as 100 (light) or 900 (very thick) and everything in between – 300, 400, 600, 700, and more. But, still there can be a situation where you need 750, and it’s not available? That’s where Variable Fonts comes to your rescue.

Another massive benefit of using variable fonts is the size and load time. Fonts are considerable contributors to load times in terms of bandwidth and on-screen rendering. A standard request can easily go beyond 500kb. With a variable font, all variations of one font are received through a single request.

More JavaScript

Front-end developers are not just “JS Developers” or “CSS/HTML Developers”. And, JavaScript is not just a trend, although some very heated discussions might take place with comments like “Yeah, and nowadays, you can’t open a website without it being JS enabled”. No matter how many positives and negatives it has, the use continues to grow. The JS-based tech/approach/tooling is estimated to trend more in 2021:

  • React / Vue as a front to CMSs like WordPress (headless)
  • WebGL (Three.js) 3D graphics, simulations, interactivity
  • VR and AR content
  • Browser APIs for more control/functionality
  • More optimized build workflows (webpack, gulp)

With only JS, you can technically build almost any sized project. You can do a reactive front-end, use the browser’s APIs for the best UX, and deploy your project live. All the adjustments to settings can be quickly made within the setup.

Utility-Based Styling

Utility-based styling aims to apply styles through pre-defined classes. However, here, it’s slightly different than the standard approach. You don’t style a .card with background, shadow, etc. But you style an HTML element with .shadow, .bg-light and .br-5. This approach works quite well with JS developers who need to get a quick output and are not worried about the CSS.

A solid argument could be that it’s very much like writing CSS in HTML, where you really can’t change a component from CSS and have it updated everywhere. Technically, it is true, though, when your components are JS files in a React/Vue app, you update them in one place.

One of the downsides is that you would need to learn another framework. It’s not just CSS; you need to remember the properties since a few elements might look like this: 

class=”text-xl font-semibold text-white sm:text-2xl sm:leading-7 sm:text-black md:text-3xl”

New CSS Features

Using new CSS features can be a trend in itself. While it’s not a change to a specific feature or approach, it challenges the way we’ve been coding so far. It does solve many problems, but its backward compatibility is an issue.

Thankfully, most users worldwide can access the web more efficiently than ever before due to browser vendors’ progress in the past few years.

Writing modes – These are often not used since many developers rarely need to support the right to left languages; however, writing modes exist. They are a must for dashboards/frameworks and multilingual sites. Thanks to the increased support of directional writing properties like margin-inline-start, you don’t have to overwrite margin-left to margin-right for RTL.

CSS Subgrid – There was flex, and then came grids. Now, we have grids inside grids, popularly known as Subgrids. Subgrids are something developers anticipated to be available out of the box when Grid was first supported. Well, now we have it, and it is as useful as it could be. 
Are you looking to get benefitted from these front-end trends? Talk to our experts now!

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