When it comes to developing business websites, guesswork is never an option. From useful perks that satisfied a small percentage of clients, websites have become must-have investments that serve multiple purposes: branding, marketing, communication and customer engagement. Starting with web design, the website creation process should be the collective effort of developers, designers, testers and branding experts who are aware of current quality standards but can also prospect future trends. In fact, trend awareness is a huge factor that determines the success of a website and for 2018 experts talk about one keyword: rich user experience. In other words, the website has to be a platform between the business and the end user and their interaction has to be streamlined and meaningful. Here’s how a rich user experience can be achieved in 2018.
The implementation of virtual reality
2017 has been the year of VR and for 2018 we can only expect it to become more popular and more widespread. Known so far only for its use in chat and gaming apps, VR will also be used in the website development process, to create immersive 360 videos and video mapping. This will enable users to experience the company’s products and services in an engaging way, while at the same time learning more about them. For example, hospitality businesses such as hotels and restaurants can create 360 tours on their websites so that potential clients get a feel of the atmosphere. This may have seemed impossible a few years ago, but this Sci-Fi concept is here to stay and business owners should take advantage of this opportunity. VR implementation is easier to achieve and you shouldn’t see it as an unattainable investment.
Bold & expressive graphics
Web design has come a long way and in the past five years, moving away from intricacy and clutter into the realm of simplicity and flat design. But flat doesn’t have to be worrying, because there are many ways to make a site engaging and appealing without overdoing it with graphic elements. Based on the less-is-more principle, modern web design creates rich user experiences by careful use of negative space, bold colors and fantastic fonts. This minimalism is easier on the eye and more intuitive for the user, who can find information more easily. At the same time, minimalist websites load faster, rank better in search engines and have higher conversion rates. The contrast between white and vibrant colors is the most common element in 2018 web design trends, followed by simple but striking images. In terms of fonts, sans-serif provides the best user experience, but marketing experts recommend business owners to go the extra mile and create their own fonts for the website and logo. Font might seem like a minor element, but think of the letter F in the Facebook logo or the in in LinkedIn. The right font can make your brand more recognizable or even make it iconic.
Gone are days when you had to use Flash for website animations. Flash is an outdated technology that modern browsers don’t support anyway, but today there are better ways to create animations. But why are website animations worth it?
· Animated elements stand out and captivate the user’s attention. A well-made scroll triggered animation will encourage them to scroll more, spend more time on your website and reach the contact form. The longer they are on your site, the lower the bounce rate, which in turn brings SEO benefits.
· Animated logos are more dynamic and memorable, helping you stand out from your competitors. However, be careful not to overdo it, because otherwise the logo will become distracting and draw attention from the website content.
Mobile = future
As of January 2018, Google rolled out the Mobile First Index, meaning that mobile responsive websites will rank higher in SERPs. This is bad news for business owners who haven’t paid attention to responsive website design until now, because this started being the norm years ago. At present, half of the world’s total Web traffic is generated through mobile phones and neglecting this demographic means neglecting 50% of your leads. Experts go even further, suggesting that business owners should focus on the mobile version first.
Creative grid layouts
Using a grid layout for your website allows you to display information in a clear and organized away, helping users navigate through the most valuable sections of the website. You shouldn’t think of the grid as a layout that limits your creativity, because there are many unique ways to display the information. For example, you can use irregular grids to showcase your products and services.
Anticipate the user’s needs
Modern Web users are famous for their impatience, so you should try to anticipate what they want to do on your website. For example, don’t wait for them to look for the contact page to ask you a question. Instead, implement a chatbot that pops up as soon as they enter the website. If your site has a review system, don’t make it compulsory for them to leave their email address or a testimonial, because they might not have the time. Instead, talk to your developer to implement a simple and seamless rating system based on scrolling over stars.
The era of bold choices in web design
Playing it safe does give you a stable, functional website, but will it help you stand out and shine? No. If you second guess the implementation of rich user experiences, waiting for others to test the waters first or assuming that your users don’t know how to interact with the latest website design trends, you risk lagging behind. So, don’t wait until a trend becomes a principle to adopt it. Be one of the first to implement it and you will be rewarded.
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