The landscape of the digital world is in constant flux. New advancements in technology are constantly rolling out, changing the direction of web design at the drop of a dime. What was hot last year may be old-fashioned by the time the new year rolls around. Businesses not only have to adjust their marketing strategies to adapt to the changing landscape, they must also evolve their website to stay relevant. The good news is that even though trends change, a good foundation that can bear the weight of those changing trends is timeless.
Think of it like a Bob Ross painting. It’s a process of building happy little trees and happy little clouds that will form an overall pleasing environment that creates the best user experience for your visitors. Businesses need to to stay on top of the changing trends — maybe by hiring a professional to make sure your website is modern and appealing to even the most technically savvy customers. As 2017 comes to a close, it’s important to take a look at how the digital landscape is shaping up in the new year. What happy trees are forming in 2018 that businesses should add to their palette? Here are five website design trends to follow in 2018.
1. Mobile-First Mentality
This year mobile usage finally overtook desktop browsing: 69% of digital media time is now spent on mobile. And in 2018, Google is rolling out its new Mobile First Index, which will now list the mobile version of your website at the top of search results. So if you don’t have a mobile-friendly design, you’re not going to show up in organic searches. Another reason to adapt a mobile-first mentality: accelerated mobile pages (AMP). AMP is an open-source code that allows websites to load quickly on mobile, and it should be on your must-have list for 2018.
2. Responsive Design
Having a responsive website is no longer an option, it’s a requirement. As we mentioned in our blog post about ways your website may be driving customers away, a responsive website is designed to adapt to all screen sizes, so someone will be able to view it on any device. Nowadays, customers browse the web in multiple display settings — smartphones, tablets and desktops — and your design must flow seamlessly between all of them. If it doesn’t, you’ll drive customers away. In fact, 62% of companies increased their sales by designing responsive mobile platforms for their websites.
3. Custom Illustrations
While having a mobile-first mentality and implementing responsive design make up the strong foundation your website stands on, incorporating design flairs like custom illustrations can personalize your site. And yes, beautiful photography will always be in style, but illustrations can help set the tone for your brand and set you apart from the stock imagery that many websites incorporate in their design. Awwwards has a great list of websites that use illustrations and really hits home how powerful a tool it can be in your wesbite’s overall design.
4. Big, Bold Typography
Think about how important headers are to your website. They let visitors know immediately what they are looking at and what your business offers. One way businesses can take advantage of their headers in the new year is by using big, bold typography that will convey your message in an impactful way. Using eye-catching fonts will ensure you have control over what visitors focus in on first when they land on your site. And since headers are a key element of SEO, it’s something you should focus on come 2018.
Incorporating animation can help add some pizazz to your website. Just think about how GIFs have taken over the way we communicate online and through social media — Buzzfeed is one of the best examples of a website successfully incorporating GIFs into their content. GIFS are fun and playful, and they help break up content in a humerous way. But GIFs are the rudimentary version of the animation we’re talking about for web design — even though they can be a happy little tree to paint from time to time. As browser technology advances, more websites are moving away from static images. Even Apple — one of the greatest trendsetters of our time — incorporated its Face ID technology to create Animojis (animated emojis) for the iPhone X. In web design, animations can help enhance the user experience by creating interactions with your visitors.
Nowadays, just having a website isn’t enough. Businesses need to have a website that not only stands out from their competitors, but puts the user experience at the top of its priority list. Incorporating good, modern design is the first step to catching visitors’ attention, and creating a strong foundation through a mobile-friendly, responsive design is the way to sustain it.