With 2018 halfway through there are some web design trends that you really need to keep an eye on. Today we'll take a look at 11 trends that are making headway. As a result, these trends are definitely something that you should consider using. As always, it's important to create the perfect balance between functionality AND aesthetics. It might take some trial and error, but once you get it right, your engagement and conversion rates will increase. So get ready to take down some notes about how you can improve your online presence with the following trends.
2018 Web Design Trends To Keep An Eye On
1. Making Mobile A Priority
According to Statista, “In 2016, 43.6 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 35.1 percent in the previous year.” This couldn't be truer in 2018. The importance of mobile-friendly web design has increased over the past several years. And this trend won't be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, Google has already rolled out it's new Mobile First Index. This places a lot of importance on the mobile version of your website and ranks it at the top of the search results. This means that your website has to have a mobile-friendly design if you want to get traffic.
AMP, (Accelerated Mobile Pages) are also becoming a lot more important. If you haven't heard of AMP, it's an open-source coding standard for publishers that allows them to load their sites quickly on mobile devices. Since traditional mobile sites are rather clunky, AMP ramps up the mobile experience by stripping down the code and using external resources for media files. It even runs scripts in parallel to allow pages to load instantly.
Whether you opt to design a brand new site or retrofit an existing one, AMP is a must for 2018. No one likes a page that loads slowly and you definitely don't want to push prospects to one of your faster competitors.
2. Increase Your Micro-Interactions
Social media networks have made micro-interactions incredibly popular. Users crave the ability to contribute a variety of reactions to posts and private messages. From traditional "likes" of posts, all the way to animated hearts. These micro-interactions gives users the chance to interact with others without the hassle of reloading the page.
Granted this is far different from the traditional static website experience. Websites need to be reloaded in order to take action, like leaving a comment or submitting a review. A lot of these might seem like a minor inconvenience, but it really does create a speed bump for some customers. As a result, it will cause them to bounce from the page - which means you lose out on potential conversions. Micro-interactions helps to remove those speed bumps and give users a better way to interact.
Micro-interactions will also let users communicate via real-time which will increase the speed and connectivity that they have come to expect.
3. Irregular Grid Layouts
Grid layouts are a great way to tie all of the elements of a webpage together. It also gives each page a theme, which makes it easier to navigate. Honestly, this design theory has been around forever, but lately, there's been a shift in how they're used. In fact, a lot of content management systems, like WordPress, use grid design as the basis of their templates. In March 2017, CSS grid was introduced to provide designers with more options.
This year websites have seen a shift towards more neutral space and irregular grid layouts. This undoubtedly gives sites an ultra-modern style. A lot of the more simpler styles include the use of whitespace (or negative space). Not only does this make the content stand out more but it also makes it easier to read and navigate. And because it's easier on the eyes, it encourages users to spend a lot more time on your site.
4. Bright Colors/Bold Fonts
In order to complement modern design styles, you need to use a type font that stands out. Bold font styles make it easier for users to focus on your content and the white space makes it easier to read. Since people typically only spend up to a couple minutes checking out your pages, you need to quickly catch their attention. Hands down, the best way to stand out is with color and design. The short-term goal is to create an easy experience that keeps them on your site for as long as possible. The long-term goal is to eventually convert them into paying customers.
2018 has seen fonts and colors taking the place of images. This makes sense, especially for mobile devices. The main reason... images slow pages down and scaling up the size of your typography won't. This also creates clean lines which help your call-to-actions really pop. Large buttons, clickable images, and hero images are slowly on their way out. Thankfully this has paved the way for large typographic expressions. It's a good idea to keep your designs simple.
5. Advanced Scroll Triggered Animations
I'm sure you've seen this before, you're on a website and as you scroll up or down animations happen. It's called scroll animations and it's a great way to encourage users to keep scrolling all the way down on your page. These specifically triggered interactive elements also increase the user's engagement. Here’s a great example of a scroll triggered animation from Apple.
Granted, these animations aren't anything new, but they are being used in a new way. The best scroll triggered animations are ones that are minimalistic in design, strategic, and educational. When done correctly they can even increase conversions. Scroll triggered animations also give you a chance to clean up the look and feel on your website. Instead of a site cluttered with buttons and menus, your site can create a truly interactive experience for your users.
6. Responsive Design
Okay, you got me, responsive design isn't really a trend. It's actually more of a principle, and yes, it's been around for a while now. However, it's definitely something that shouldn't be overlooked. When your website has a responsive design, it means that it will automatically resize to a variety of screen sizes. Such as tablets, wearable, desktops, laptops, and smartphones. This design will only continue to expand. And over time it will include new forms of technology, like augmented reality and virtual reality.
7. Scalable Vector Graphics
SVGs (scalable vector graphics) aren't anything new. But recently this graphics format has taken over traditional file formats like PNG, JPG, and GIF. SVGs are vector images, not pixels, which means it has a lot of advantages. Plus they are incredibly scalable and are great at maintaining their quality. This means that they won't affect your website's page speed when animated. They get the job done quickly because they don't require any HTTP requests.
SVGs are crucial when it comes to providing quality multimedia experiences for users. They also work great for 3D images, 360-degree views, and Cinemographs.
8. Top Sticky Elements VS Bottom Sticky Elements
We all know that a good website design reads from left to right. But have you ever thought about how users are becoming more and more accustomed to clicking at the bottom of their smartphones or mobile apps in order to navigate? Mobile app design is incredibly important, especially when it comes to modern web design. Website developers have been catching on to the idea that sticky menu items that scroll from the bottom of the site are actually in their best interest. It works because it appeals to modern functionality, which is something developers are continually looking for in today's designs.
9. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
AI (artificial intelligence) is here and so is machine learning. Consider Apple's Siri, which is available on millions of devices. But it's not the only one. AI hit the mainstream back in 2016 with Google’s AlphaGo when AI managed to beat a skilled human Go player for the first time. TheGrid has been offering AI-based web designs since 2014. As for the future, Adobe’s Sensei has promised to make AI tools easily available to web developers. As AI and machine learning continues to advance, it will surely make its way into web design, but in a more advanced way.
10. Progressive Web Apps
It should come as no surprise, but apps make up a huge amount of mobile media time. Because of this web designers have taken notice and combined the best of both web and app behaviors. Progressive Web App is something that has been trending this year and it has some great features too. Like animated page transitions, push notifications, and splash screens. Websites like Medium already offer apps that are easily accessible with just one click. These apps will only continue to meet each user's personalized tastes.
The awesome thing about these progressive web apps is that they don't require an install! In fact, these apps become more powerful as the user progressively builds a relationship with it over time. On top of that, it loads faster over time too. Even on networks that aren't so reliable. The app works by sending relevant push notifications. It even comes with a special icon on the home screen and loads as a top-level, full-screen experience.
11. Connectivity To Internet of Things
Back in 2017, connecting web services to the Internet of Things was huge and it's still going strong today. IoT devices include objects as simple as a refrigerator to complicated ones, like a tidal turbine. These "things" use sensor arrays and server-side processing. It does this as a way to receive and act on their environments. This type of API gives web designers a way to connect and communicate with these devices easily. And currently, they are creating even more interconnectivity over the next few years.
So what is the future of web design?
This year the focus has been all about designing simple but powerful websites. Ones that are optimized for mobile devices and focus heavily on the user's experience. These sites feature new types of formats, styles, and technologies. Is your brand's site up to speed? Or is it time for a redesign? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!