A Straightforward Guide to The Website Trends Of 2018

Over the past few of years, websites have drastically evolved in the terms of UI and UX. But even as modern technology evolves, many websites adopt similar concepts, which eventually, become trends.

What we find stylish now, will naturally evolve over time, similar to how web design trends come and go. Websites continually change as technology advances, visual element gain and lose popularity and the clients’ constant need for improved functionality. Every year websites evolve, not just visually, but also how they're experienced and interacted with. It can seem hard to stay on top of upcoming trends so here is a straightforward guide to the website trends of 2018.

Minimalism

Throughout 2017, designers began to create cleaner, minimalistic websites that prove the principle: 'Less is more', and they show no sign of stopping in 2018. Minimalism is defined as “a design style that emphasises simplicity and the removal of superfluous elements in a design, stripping it down to its fundamental elements”. In reference to web design, creators simply create enough content to create their client’s ideal webpage, whilst only implementing very few design elements. This simple technique helps get rid of the unnecessary content and in turn, places emphasis on the important parts of your website.

Minimalism not only looks visually stunning but actually greatly benefits your website’s user experience. Websites that feature a large amount of images and responsive elements can be slow to load and ultimately, make your experience as a user frustrating. Minimalistic websites benefit from faster loading times and better compatibility between various screen sizes. Due to the lack of extra data to load, customers will have a more enjoyable, quick-loading experience. It is easy to see why sleek, minimalist designs are highly requested and always seem to be on trend.

Interactive Features

“2018 will be the year of interactivity.” As your brand gains more publicity and more clients start pouring in, they will want a more personalised involvement that ultimately, helps them better connect with your business. This is where interactive content and responsive elements on your website becomes important. These elements can be polls, reviews, quizzes, requests or essentially any other way your clients can connect with you to establish your brand and, in turn, for you understand what your customers want from your business. By interacting with more of your clients through these features, you will effectively build a stronger relationship with your customers and create a greater brand image.

The way you present and uphold your website is very important as it stands as a permanent online representation of your business. By boasting an interactive website with lots of helpful information, you can better connect with your customers and overall, ensure a great user experience; making it a lot easier to develop a large client base. Ultimately, with the use of interactive features, your clients will find it exponentially easier to find the information they sought and give you feedback into what your business can do to reach its full potential, by refining your product or service to better fit the needs of your customers.

Bright & Bold

Although many web designers are opting for minimalistic designs over cluttered layouts, this doesn’t mean that these web pages have to be boring! Despite minimalism being the value of function over appearance, websites are incorporating vibrant colours, small illustrations and simple imagery; to make their website stand out amongst the sea of minimalism. These web pages are innovatively eye-catching and, due to the minimalistic elements, still, provide an excellent user experience. In addition to this, every year advances in the colour saturation, brightness and other visual elements further enhance a webpage’s appearance; generating more clients and boosting the overall user interface.

By adopting a bright and bold minimalistic approach, you’re not only enhancing the visual elements of the webpage, you also enhance the user experience of clients and others who visit your page. A key feature of generating a great user experience is the usability and the desirability. With the minimalism, elements on the page load quickly, meaning you as a user don’t have to wait long to get the information you desire. But ultimately, when you are looking for information on a website, you want to find it interesting enough to stay on that webpage. This is where being bright and bold is important. Just a simple colour scheme or small illustration could make your website stand out amongst your business competitors.

Artificial Intelligence

Over the years, technology has been rapidly advancing and nowadays we’re a communicating with AI’s more and more. We have witnessed the advancement of artificial intelligence as they’ve gotten smarter and more efficient at performing the tasks they’re designed to do. AI has become rather prominent and is regularly featured on websites and technical devices; especially in areas such as ‘machine learning’ and ‘chatbots’. Machine learning is a type of AI that can teach itself to grow and change when exposed to new data. This type of AI is featured on platforms like Facebook. The content that you search or the type of posts that you like will be recorded, and ads will be tailored to interest you. Chatbots are a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users. Chatbots are great for asking questions and learning about specific information. These two types of AI are the most prominent on the internet and over the next few years, I think AIs are going to be even more common.

In 2018, I believe the popularity of AI’s is only going to increase as modern technology is being continually perfected and integrated into various aspects of the internet. This incorporation of artificial intelligence will bring about a large number of benefits such as more efficient customer service. This will be excellent in terms of a greater user experience across websites. You will be able to find crucial information quickly and efficiently, meaning you don’t have to get frustrated looking through thousands of google searches. Or, you can communicate with chatbots to better understand the information you are presented and get questions answered that you wouldn’t have been able to previously. There’s no doubt that AI’s will drastically improve how we use the web.

Animation & Illustrations

Over the course of 2017, there was a boom in brands using illustrations on their website as an effective way to create an identifiable visual and a unique style for their company. Illustrations are an amazing way to set the tone of your website and are highly practical in the sense that they can be any size, style, colour and work well for responsive designs. Illustrations are visually enchanting and can be integrated into any website flawlessly. They are functional, simple and definitely a “dynamic element to look out for in 2018 and beyond. “

Respectively, the popularisation of animation is rather new but has come to, “play a huge part in making ideas and interfaces easier to understand." Animation allows you to present information in an interesting format that viewers will find appealing, efficiently and without hassle. Many static illustrations have been turned into dynamic, eye-catching animations like logos, images, backgrounds and even menus. A prime example of animation used to drive attention is GIFs. It seems over the past couple of years, GIFs have made a comeback and are now are a significant factor of either online humour or quirky advertisements for brands. These short loops can be a visual representation of a business and their website.

The delightful thing about animated illustrations is that they don’t need enormous amounts of data to work; especially if they are scroll-triggered. This means they won’t ‘react’ until you scroll over them. This simple feature means it takes fewer data to load and generates a smooth transition for your website. The only downside to animations and illustrations is if you have too many on a page, it won’t as well and may freeze or lag. But despite this, animations are an amazing way to promote your service in a fun, modern way, whilst still maintaining professionalism. "Animations have shown and will continue to show the brand's strength in our digital world, giving a strong personality to the brand, making it less static and more dynamic.”

Typography

As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, websites in 2018 are going to be clean and minimalistic. This means that web designers are going to be expressing their creativity through different methods. One way that is sure to be popular is typography. You would start by creating typography for your website that represents your business and creatively expresses the mood of your brand. Then by placing it on a simple, minimalistic background, you are going to successfully capture the viewer’s attention better than if you had an image-heavy page that takes an eternity to load. This simple technique not only creates a stunning look for your website but, produces a logo/ image that your brand will become known by (e.g. Facebook’s ‘F’ or Twitter’s bird).

It is also a known fact, that any minimalistic website generates a fantastic user experience due to the fast loading times. Typography provides that flare of creativity for a webpage when others would use high-quality images to demonstrate this expressiveness. Now, while both of these features create a stunning website, if you have an image-heavy page, you’ll have to wait longer to see it. Typography is the key to a strikingly innovative website, whilst still obtaining an outstanding user experience.

Responsive Designs

In the 2010s, after the ‘responsive design movement’, designers were finally able to build websites that could alter their layout and adapt to different sized devices so, web pages could be viewed across platforms. Every year since then, more and more websites became accessible via a hand-held device and in 2017, using a mobile to browse the internet became more popular than desktop browsing. This means that 2018, will have more websites and their features tailored towards mobile users. In 2018, designers will make web pages that are fully mobile functional and develop innovative ways to organise the page’s information in a clever and corresponding way. By adjusting how a webpage works for a mobile user and understanding how to improve their interactions with the features, clients will be granted a superior user experience.

Throughout this guide, I have mentioned the six trends I believe will be the most popular during 2018. Each feature either visually enhances a website and improves the overall aesthetic of a page or provides a greater user experience and improves the functionality of the website. If you looked back a couple of years, you would see the trends that feature across web pages would have been drastically different. I can’t wait to see how technology advances in the future and how that affects the website trends of the coming years.

 

Ana Smith
Junior Marketing Assistant

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