2018: Three predictions for web design and development

There are lots of trends being predicted for web design in 2018, from strong typography to asymmetrical themes to ethical design. We look at three trends which are worth paying attention to on your next website project.

2018 Three predictions for web design and development

Web design trends and best practice have always evolved quickly, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. There are lots of ‘top predictions’ for 2018, most of which had already emerged by the tail end of 2017. With so much innovation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Which emerging trends are the right ones for your new website project?

The web design landscape at the beginning of 2018

While fashions and tastes ebb and flow, the principles of good design remain constant. Strong typography and bold colour schemes are the most-predicted trends by the industry’s leaders.

Page layouts are also changing; gone are the restrictive limits set by grid systems, as designers experiment with cutting-edge, asymmetrical themes. Caution is advised here, however, as a poorly executed free-form design could lead to users being unable to access the information they need.

Innovation in technology is bringing us new ways of executing these bold, fresh designs and improving the experience of elements such as chatbots and interactive content.

There are too many predicted trends to cover in a single blog post, so we have picked three topics that we feel are the most relevant for high-conversion websites. These three insights will allow you to stay ahead of the curve in 2018!

Design trend #1: animation

If done well, trendy, en vogue designs will guarantee that your website is oozing with innovative style. Your website needs to stand out and catch the attention of users before they are distracted by something else.

Animation keeps users interested for longer, and thankfully developments in lightweight, particle scripts allow you to achieve this without compromising your website’s load time. CSS animation also allows you to add visual triggers to boost interactions.

Cinemagraphs are another way to add movement to an image if you aren’t using full video. Designers are also getting creative in their use of parallax scrolling to impact the way users interact with sites. The 3D effect of parallax allows you to draw the eye to were you need it and means that users are controlling the story through their scrolling behaviour. This heightened interaction encourages users to engage further and delve deeper into your website. Take a look at how the Seattle Space Needle website does this.

top trend in webdesign - parrallax scrolling - MadBit

2018 is also promising more personalised, one-of-a-kind graphical illustrations.  Moving graphical logos have proven to be more memorable to users. Just think of the cheeky animated lamp that stomps on the ‘i’ in the Pixar logo. Lovable and instantly recognisable!

A logo can get across a message, but an animated one can tell a whole story. Again, this use of interaction makes users more likely to stay interested in the experience of your website and hopefully be more unforgettable.

Animated logo created by Yondr Studio - https://dribbble.com/shots/1913714-Yondr-Studio

Animated logo – Yondr Studio/Sharon Correa (click to view the animation)

Design trend #2: interaction

Engagement is the holy grail for websites, and interaction is at the heart of this. Human relationships are based on interaction or feedback, and the internet is no different.

AI and AR/VR technology are the hot trends in the IT world, and this is reflected online. Cognitive technology is now readily available and easy enough to integrate via APIs and cloud platforms, allowing you to harness the power of AI on your site.

AR/VR reality is growing rapidly, and advances are being made in all kinds of industries. For both advertising and content, this offers huge potential to add interactivity – just think of opportunities such as e-commerce, data visualisation, mapping, etc.

Microinteractions, though not a new concept, are an important consideration in any web design project. Every time you perform an action such as syncing data, setting reminders, changing a setting, or creating a password, is a microinteraction.

They are commonplace on media platforms like Facebook, where users have their interactions ‘liked’ or moving images make the experience more memorable (for instance, a sudden flurry of balloons and streamers appearing momentarily on your screen when some milestone is achieved). By the end of 2017, this form of interaction began to trend in website design and will continue to surge in 2018.

With the proliferation of content and bold page layouts, it’s important to ensure there is no risk of users not being able to find the information they seek quickly. Love them or hate them, chatbots are a great way to interact with users and offer them instant answers to questions. They are definitely here to stay.

chatbots add interaction and help users get answers quickly - MadBit Dublin

Why is that? Because people spend more time in messenger apps than on social networks. Texting a question requires a lot less effort than browsing a website or phoning a company, and it’s where people are happy communicating.

When built with machine learning, chatbots can get smarter the more they interact with users. They can predict and interpret needs and preferences, providing contextual solutions and hyper-local experiences.

Design trend #3: mobile-first

Design and technology go hand in hand in web development. But there’s little point investing in a fantastic website infrastructure if it can’t be seen. Since mobile web browsing has overtaken desktop, it’s crucial that a site works perfectly on mobile

Traditionally, web designers worked on a full-size website first and then worked their way down through screen sizes to the mobile site. However, according to mayvendev.com:

“There’s a growing trend in the industry though to flip this workflow on its head and actually begin with mobile considerations and then work up to a larger desktop version.”

When starting with the mobile version of a site, you’re forced to provide the best possible experience with minimal technological and space requirements. As you move to larger and larger screens, you can add in elements and experiences which make a great website even better.

This approach, known as progressive enhancement, is likely to lead to a better user experience. Rather than building an impressive platform and then stripping out all the good bits for the mobile version, this method focuses on the content of the site and finds the best way to present it.

While beautiful new layout features and technological advances are lovely distractions, don’t forget in this time of maximalist design to consider the experience of your users. In the USA, 25% of users access the web exclusively via mobile, and this is a growing trend worldwide as internet technology transitions from desktop to a handheld disposition.

Always consider the user

You may have noticed that most current trends in web design have a common philosophy: improving user experience. With so much of our lives happening online in some way, retaining user interest and loyalty is becoming harder and harder. Smart brands have realised that the best way to do this is by always putting the user first and ensuring the best possible experience for them.

At MadBit, we specialise in user-focused web design. If you have a website project coming up and would like to work with a forward-thinking, responsive development agency, get in touch today.