Trends don’t wait for the beginning or end of a year to start. But the beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the budding trends that may take flight in the coming 12 months.
Web development and design trends are no different. Now is the perfect time to reflect on the newest functionality, layouts, and looks for the web as organizations consider updating their sites as part of their 2018 initiatives.
What follows are a few of the trends we expect to see in the coming year.
Interactivity and Personalization
Over the years, web development has increased and improved personalized experiences for visitors. But creating a highly personalized or interactive experience was a technical challenge.
All that changes in 2018. Visitors have always desired a more interactive experience with websites and brands. Content like games, quizzes, and polls give customers both an entertaining experience and one that satisfies the desire for an individualized experience.
There is also value to brands in creating these interactive experiences. As visitors answer questions and seek out personalization, brands are able to gather deeper insights into their customers and potential customers.
This year, expect to see interactivity drive customers to relevant experiences on websites, offering up content that matches the insights uncovered through their answers and interaction.
Broken Grid Layouts and Organic Shapes
Since the early days of the web, layouts have been based on a grid. Even as good web development stopped the use of tables for layout, and CSS enabled better placement of page elements, sites continued to create pages that followed a very conventional grid model.
Website design is freeing itself from these constraints. Designers will begin to push the limits of layouts, moving away from ordered presentation and more toward broken grids. Part of this is driven by a trend known as brutalism.
The End of Popups
Companies have used popups and interstitials to ensure that visitors see messaging and information that the brand feels is important. But popups have always been seen as a nuisance to users, breaking up the flow and diverting users from the information important to them.
Popups have been on a decline for some time, but 2018 will be the year where popups all but disappear. Much of this is driven by Google. The search giant announced in 2016 that they would begin to punish sites that used the invasive messaging strategy, but its take some time for companies to start to feel the pain. As search rankings suffer, you can expect brands to drop popups as a means of communication with visitors.
Improved Online Support
The early days of the web gave us static sites that provide information to customers and potential customers. But if your question wasn’t answered by an FAQ, or you needed more help, you still needed to place a phone call to get your problem resolved.
As the web evolved, so did customer service available online. Customers could talk directly with representatives from a brand to help with issues and questions. The problem remained, however, availability of customer service agents to assist with issues.
Chatbots have changed that and will continue to make headway in the new year. With chatbots and AI, companies can help customers faster than before, even when customer service resources aren’t immediately available.
CSS3 brought breakthroughs in motion and animation without the use of Flash. Like a kid with a new toy, web developers and designers used these code-based animations as frequently as possible, adding movement to their sites but sometimes overwhelming or distracting users from the real message.
In 2018, CSS-driven animation will mature. Instead of elements moving just to look cool, pages will contain animation to help users find what they are looking for, or intentionally draw attention to specific page elements. This purposeful use of movement will result in better user experience.
Progressive Web Applications
Mobile has replaced the desktop in the race to the top of web usage. More users turn to their phones and tablets for search today than to their desktops. Mobile applications have matured and well designed, but it’s difficult to get customers to give up precious system memory for your mobile app.
Enter progressive web applications. Progressive web applications are websites that look and act like mobile applications, with nuanced user interfaces and sophisticated functionality that customers have come to expect from mobile applications.
Big, Bold Designs and Less Stock Photography
Like fashion, web design goes through evolutions. Recently was the flat movement, where layout and design used little layering and blocks of color.
This year’s evolution will include big, bold designs combined with minimalism. Sites set for redesign (or initial design) in 2018 will use bright colors and high saturation, taking advantage of all that modern monitors have to offer. Well designed sites will be clean and easy to use, focusing on vibrancy and user experience.
Also expected for sites redesigned in 2018 will be the decline of stock photography and an increase in unique photo content. Photos will move from muted and boring to colorful and interesting in their own right. You can also expect to see more variation in the people depicted in site photos, including greater inclusion of people of color and women.