Fully immersed in online culture, web design best practice and new marketing tricks you might be forgiven for thinking the boxChilli team really live and work in cyberspace rather than Portsmouth. Just for fun, here are a few of our predictions about which new and current trends are going to be a big hit in 2018.
Making mobile a priority
Mobile browsing overtook desktop internet use in 2016, and it’s still rising. This means that any business which doesn’t prioritize mobile browsing in their web design strategy will be losing out on market share as customers on the go turn away from clunky, hard to use websites and reach for their easy-access competitors. Mobile browsing covers not only smartphones, but also tablet use and other similar devices and is increasing across all age ranges and demographics. Over 90% of 18-45 year-olds own a smartphone, and over 70% of 55-75 year-olds do too. Unless your audience is nonagenarians about to celebrate the big 1-0-0 then desktop is going the way of the telegram: mobile is king. Effective web design in this area has immense knock on effects improving not only SEO and online shopping sales funnel results but even in-store and in-person visits and purchases as customers go virtual to compare high street prices or book a same-day appointment.
Desktop looks like mobile
The flip side of ‘mobile first’ development is that websites are going to look more like mobile sites even when viewed from a laptop or desktop computer. As visitors get used to the conventions used on apps and mobile-optimized websites, like the 3-stripe menu icon, they’ll expect to see them wherever they go. Web design teams are already starting to deliver mobile-alike desktop sites and we’ll see more of this over the next year. A side benefit of this trend is that it cuts costs for businesses as more of the website architecture, furniture and design can be reused.
Cinemagraphs are everywhere
Love them or hate them, they’re one of the year’s big trends and you’ll see high-quality images flicker into life wherever you browse. Videos or GIFs are used to create moving backgrounds on sites of all kinds, from big brands to personal blogs. While they might be frustrating if you’re on mobile data or a slow connection, this moving wallpaper has been shown to be eye-catching in the best way as they give content creators a quick and easy way to create a narrative in video form without forcing the viewer to pay attention for more than a few seconds. Many cinemagraphs look like videos but aren’t – they’re a clever compilation of still images used to make part of the picture seem to be moving. Clever design and clever tech? You have to admire it, even if you hate it.
50 shades of minimalism
Perhaps it’s a reaction to the more-is-more web of yesteryear, perhaps it’s an inevitable part of the circle of design trends, perhaps it’s come out of mobile web design techniques. Whatever the reason, minimalism is big this year – and it doesn’t come in just one flavour. Graphic and web design teams are paring down pages to create bigger impacts. A few trends to spot include monochrome or duotone sites; text-only sites; single-image pages; home pages with just a handful of words; and dominant typography.
Hand-made is hip
How do you hand-make a website? Well, we’re not talking about the back-end code, which is increasingly coming from out-of-the-box solutions like WordPress. Instead, the artisanal care and attention is going into hand-lettered fonts and logos; hand-drawn illustrations; and mini-animations, sometimes just a second or two long. Together, these give a warmth and life to a page, counteracting the sometimes sterile look of a stripped-down mobile-friendly experience. At boxChilli, this is great news for our in-house graphic designers and video experts who have been thrilled to get out their paints, inks, and pens again, using them alongside high-tech tools to create great new looks for our clients.
Micro-actions lead to big changes
At every click and page reload you lose customers, which is why big businesses like Amazon have been working so hard to streamline and flatten their sales funnels, introducing tools like one-click ordering and even voice-activated ordering. Combined with the interactivity of social media, with it’s instant, in-page, ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, users are expecting – and seeing – more ways to interact with a site. This is great news for any data-savvy business as it means that you can use micro-actions (such as likes or ‘what’s better?’ votes) to collect data from your customers as they browse. It’s no substitute for conventional market research, but it can be a very effective signpost.
Standardisation leads to innovation
SOURCES https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/02/mobile-web-browsing-desktop-smartphones-tablets and https://www.deloitte.co.uk/mobileuk/assets/img/download/global-mobile-consumer-survey-2017_uk-cut.pdf