The internet is changing every day, and part of running a website is keeping up with those changes and making your site as appealing and accessible to as many people as possible. Making sure you always have a finger on the pulse of shifting trends is half the battle, which is why we’re sharing a few predictions we have for web design and digital marketing trends in 2018.
1. Plan to double down on your mobile optimization efforts
First and foremost, the most significant website trend to pay attention to is the continued shift to mobile-optimized web design and development. In fact, most of the items on our list of 2018 digital trend predictions are tied up with the rise of mobile compatibility. After all, more and more people are using their smartphones to access the internet, and your website needs to be ready for these mobile visitors. Ignoring this shift not only gives your visitors a poor user experience, but it can also hold you back in search engine rankings.
2. In a post-net neutrality world, AMP is critical
The recent end of net neutrality laws means that internet users may soon begin to experience the internet in different ways based on their level of access. One way to stay ahead of these changes is to get involved with the AMP initiative to ensure that your site is accessible to as many people as possible.
Short for “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” AMP can dramatically improve your site’s mobile performance and speed by minimizing large design elements and advertisements on a page. It’s not just a “nice to have” element, either. On a search engine results page, the AMP icon serves as a welcoming beacon to the 62 million Americans (that’s 1 in 5 people in the U.S.) with slower internet connections or limited cellular data plans. Since loading a full-sized web page requires significantly more data than an AMP-optimized page, users in this segment are more likely to click on results featuring the AMP icon. If your site does not support AMP, you could be missing out on reaching potential clients.
3. It’s time to get serious about conversion rate optimization
These days, SEO is simply not enough. You need a conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy to complement it, and we have a feeling that’ll be non-negotiable come 2018.
How does CRO work? The ultimate goal of CRO is to increase the percentage of your site visitors that perform a specific action, which can be anything from filling out a contact form to purchasing products through your online store. Learn how to build a CRO strategy in 2018.
4. Out with the JPGs, in with the SVGs
These days, page speed is critical — if your pages aren’t loading within a couple of seconds, you’re likely losing site visitors. There are a lot of factors that affect page speed, but images tend to be the biggest culprits. Since traditional image formats like JPGs, GIFs, and PNGs are notorious for slowing the loading speed of your site, they’re on their way out.
The image file format that is slated to replace them is the Scalable Vector Format (SVG). SVGs are great for two reasons. First, unlike JPGs or PNGs, they do not adversely affect the speed or performance of your site. Second, they’re scale sizes without compromising their quality, which makes them ideal for mobile users.
5. Embrace bold illustrations, typography, animation, and color schemes
Web designers in 2018 will continue to champion clean lines — not only because it’s the “in” aesthetic of our time, but because simple layouts load faster and are less likely to distract from your conversion strategy.
Of course, that doesn’t mean all sites will be adopting the same white, minimalist aesthetic. Expect to see those clean lines accompanied by brilliant color schemes, bold typography, and scroll-triggered animation. One of the world’s oldest art forms, illustration, will also be making a comeback — several major tech companies in 2017 have already made moves to incorporate thoughtful, custom drawings and doodles into their user experience.
6. Engage users with microinteractions and micro-moments
Microinteractions and micro-moments are two different concepts, but their overarching goal is the same — to anticipate the needs of users with small yet impactful features. Let’s break it down:
Design elements that increase engagement on your site by encouraging user interaction are known as microinteractions. Through a single moment or task, microinteractions intuitively guide users through your site and giving them the power to adjust their experience as needed.
Even if you’ve never heard of “microinteractions,” you’ve most likely interacted with them without even knowing it. Here are a few basic examples of microinteractions:
- Leaving a comment on a blog or news article
- Adjusting the volume of an embedded video
- Liking or “hearting” a social media post
- Adding a funny GIF to a chat message
- Interacting with a pop-up chatbot widget
Meanwhile, micro-moments put a name to those instances when we reach for our phones looking for a quick answer: Who is the leading actress in this film? Where’s the best falafel in this neighborhood? How long will it take me to get home from here? According to Google, “micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.”
It is in these micro-moments that users and consumers make decisions and shape their preferences. Since so many of these “intent-rich” micro-moments are based on search, it underscores the need for a strong SEO strategy.