Website design is a relatively new industry, but also one that has seen substantial change in recent years. In fact, even those not involved in the industry can usually tell the difference between a website developed five years ago and one developed today. That being said, what are the important website design trends of 2018?
Below, we highlight the 4 main trends that you can expect in 2018. They are all driven by the way people now use the Internet and how they are likely to use it in the future. For example, five years ago, people mostly accessed the Internet using a computer and a fairly slow broadband connection. Today, broadband speeds are faster and computers are no longer the primary choice for most Internet users.
With that in mind, here are our four web design trends for 2018.
#1 Increasing Focus on Mobile
People use mobile devices to browse the web more than they use desktops. This trend has been recognised in the web development industry for years. Now, website owners are seeing it in their analytics software – a huge increase in the percentage of users accessing their website on mobile devices.
This trend pushes forward a mobile-first philosophy in website design with a focus on things like micro controls, content designed for small screens, and rolling app-style selections. In fact, websites are increasingly borrowing from design styles that are more commonly seen in mobile apps.
For website owners and users, this brings significant benefits:
- For users – better user experience on mobile devices
- For website owners – freedom from the downsides of developing an app (e.g. hoping it gets approved by app stores and then encouraging people to download and, crucially, use it)
Mobile-friendly websites are significantly more flexible, particularly because they are available to customers whenever those customers are in the buying cycle, i.e. the website appears in search results.
#2 Content is Still King – and It’s Getting More Powerful
Google dictates a lot of what happens on the Internet. This is because website owners want to appear high on Google’s search results pages. Google, in turn, wants to ensure that it gives users high-quality search results. Therefore, it sets many of the commonly used website standards. For example, it penalises websites in mobile searches that are not built for mobile devices.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to the way the Internet has developed as a result of Google’s influence. The key advantage is a general raising of standards – thankfully, the days of useless, spam-heavy, and sometimes deceiving websites appearing higher than legitimate and high-quality websites are largely over. One of the disadvantages of the current situation, however, is that many websites on the Internet now look very similar.
One area where websites can stand out is in the content they produce. In addition, content can improve your reach in search results, as well as build stronger relationships with your audience. In fact, there is little downside to regularly creating fresh, genuinely unique, and top-quality content for your website.
Content is an overused buzzword, and the phrase “content is king” has become an ugly cliché. However, content has never been more important.
#3 Media is Getting Richer
The increasing prominence of video is undeniable – companies of all sizes now use video content on their website. This is driven largely by increasingly high broadband speeds, which makes video more usable. Buffering is rarely a factor, meaning the popularity of video is likely to increase.
We are seeing new and innovative uses of video moving more and more into the mainstream. This includes the use of 360-degree videos, as well as virtual tour applications being used in everything from hotels to product launches. Even car dealers are using virtual tours to let visitors experience their models in a virtual setting.
It’s not just video that is becoming more important in website design. Photography and the use of images is also changing. This includes a move away from boring and pointless stock images to more human, authentic, and representative images. Also, faster broadband speeds have led to an increase in the use of high-quality images on websites. This is because high-resolution images no longer result in poor website performance.
#4 Continuing Emphasis on User Experience
If you read web design industry information on trends for 2018, you will see a lot of talk about things like bold typography, bright gradients, bespoke illustrations, the return of animations, duotone designs and more. It is important for your website design team to understand these trends in order to ensure that your website looks modern and fresh.
That being said, good website developers will implement none of these design quirks without first considering their impact on user experience. At the very least, any design element or style must have a neutral impact on user experience. Ideally, it should enhance user experience in some way.
User experience, after all, is the most important part of any website. You could have the best, most technically advanced website, with an award-winning design, but it will be useless to your business if visitors don’t like using it.
Improving user experience has been a key requirement in website design for years, and the industry is still moving along that path. Fast-loading pages, websites that are device agnostic, menus that are instantly understandable, content that is easy to find, and processes that are quick and simple to complete are just some of the key elements to delivering good user experience.
For example, if you are getting a new e-commerce website developed in 2018, you should expect a good website developer to concentrate a lot of their efforts on making the checkout process as brilliant, intuitive, simple, safe, confidence-building, quick, and beautiful as possible – i.e. focus on user experience. If you do this, it will have a direct impact on profits, because you should see a reduction in abandoned shopping carts, which will mean more sales.
The future of the Internet and website design is exciting, particularly with technologies like the Internet of Things and machine learning becoming more prominent. Who knows – those technologies might be on the list for web design trends in 2018. The trends on this list, however, will pave the way and help move the industry forward.