The face of web design is changing by the minute. Things that were seen as avant garde not too long ago are completely obsolete today. If you’re a business owner and you are thinking about giving your website an overhaul, staying abreast of the most recent changes is essential and adapting yourself can be a challenge if you depend on cutting edge design to separate yourself from the rest. Here are some of the biggest trends we’ve seen so far in the world of web design in 2018.
The Advent of AI
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, you should already know that the world has gone completely gaga over artificial intelligence. From semi autonomous robots, to AI applications being shut down for creating their own language (see: Facebook), AI is the word on everybody’s lips these days. But what a few people may know is that they’ve probably encountered AI in one way or another already this year, in the form of chatbots notably.
As a matter of fact, voice applications like Siri and Google Home already belong to a subset of AI known as artificial narrow intelligence. So, the future might not seem as distant as we thought after all.
The Re-emergence of Text over Pictures
There’s been a sudden trend over the last few years of web builders putting all their eggs into the visual content basket. But people are now beginning to realise how powerful the spoken word is and are trying to reintroduce it in many ways. For a long time, UX has put a lot of focus on the visual aspect of user interfaces. But an increasing number of text based UI’s are being introduced, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Whether it’s Mastodon, Telegram or Messenger, web design has had no choice but to put more and more emphasis on text in the recent year, and AI has had a major influence in the matter.
A wide array of new JS frameworks has been introduced and it has received a lot of support from many developers, such as Facebook’s Christopher Chedeau, for instance. But the practice is still fairly controversial and hasn’t been welcomed with open arms by the whole community.
Not too long ago, Windows was the end all be all of operating systems when it came to navigating the web. But slowly and surely, Android kept creeping and creeping until it started breathing down Windows neck. And now, we can officially say that Android has surpassed Windows as an operating system for total internet usage. This has and will undoubtedly continue to create a major shift in how websites are created from now on.
While 2016 was the year of accelerated mobile pages, this year might be the first time designers will start adopting a mobile first approach to web development. Android now holds a whopping 37.93% of all internet usage worldwide, up from 2.4% cent only 5 years ago, which is astonishing when taken into perspective. This means that designers will either have to adapt and create sites designed for mobile devices first and foremost or start implementing methods such as responsive designs instead of simply having a stripped down mobile site which was common practice not too long ago.
Grid and Card Design Layouts
We’ve also seen more and more websites using a card and grid layout recently. This can be mainly attributed to the rise of sites like Pinterest. This layout has been particularly popular with creatives, but is also being implemented on the corporate side as well. What attracts many people to card and grid layouts is how simple and functional they are. They also facilitate organisation and allow creatives to showcase their portfolios immediately without having to add an additional layer. They’re also a great way to showcase more information in a more accessible way.
Bye Bye Stock Photography
Stock photography was ubiquitous up until recently. But we have seen a larger number of companies turning to authentic photography to paint a more accurate picture of their brand and create a genuine connection with their audience. While it may be cheaper, stock photos can actually end up hurting your brand and create distrust between you and your customers.
Research has shown that audiences have a tendency of totally ignoring stock photos all together and that authentic photos with real people convert at a much higher rate. As a result, many have decided to totally discard stock photos and lean towards authentic photography services which facilitate access to personalised high quality photos.
Advanced Functionality with Web Apps
One trend that is also gaining in popularity is the use of progressive web apps in web design. Progressive web apps take the best aspects of mobile and web apps and take advantage of the massive web community, ecosystem and plugins.
One of the primary examples of progressive web apps is Tickera, a system that allows any website to transform itself as a ticket vendor with one simple plugin. Not too long ago, this was only possible through costly and bulky fully functional web apps. Suites like WooCommerce also allow virtually any site to become its own e-commerce vendor at the touch of a button, and a wider number of vendors are turning to apps like WooCommerce to build their own e-commerce stores.
Intuitive Web Forms
Forms have been used since times immemorial; however, more and more companies are ditching complicated and long drawn-out forms and are streamlining the process. Many are turning to pre-built applications such as CaptainForm which allow companies to create a variety of conditional and intuitive forms with customisable templates.
We should also see more and more UI’s using natural, everyday language to engage better with their audience. What’s great about natural language is that it adapts better to the audience’s mental model and allows for an overall much more enjoyable, engaging and adaptable experience.