Regardless of where you are in the world, you’ve most likely felt the impact of the internet. The internet was created by dozens of programmers, engineers, and scientists that collaborated to merge technologies and create the “information superhighway” we browse every single day.
The internet as we know it was invented in 1990 when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Websites on the internet are how we gather information, solve our biggest issues, and buy our favorite products. The Internet has become an infinite resource for pretty much anything you can imagine.
The rapid adoption rate and exponential growth of information is the reason why the web development industry has become so successful. As the years go by, trends come and go, and then some come back again. In 2018 we saw a number of web development trends gain traction and we can expect them to continue to prosper in 2019. We will also give a farewell to the trends that we’ll leave behind.
Web Development Trends From 2018 Going Strong
In order for your website to stand out amongst the 200+ million websites that exist today, you need to implement innovative ideas and stay on top of the most current web development trends.
In 2018 we saw some old and new web development trends gain momentum. From augmented/virtual reality and blockchain to single page applications and internet-enabled devices.
SPA (Single Page Application)
The traditional approach of having every topic on a different page is out, scrollable sections are in! Although this isn’t a brand new trend we saw appear in 2018, SPA’s continued to be prominent amongst developers. Since users are favoring the ease of scrolling over navigating to different tabs or windows, especially in mobile, SPAs have continued to gain popularity. An SPA site facilitates the browsing process for a user because all the content is displayed in a single page with no extra waiting time or page reloads.
Static Website Generators
They not only make the lives of developers easier, but they also simplify the user experience. Static website generators combine the advantages of static websites with a content management system (CMS). They can meet the needs of any type of business, provide better security, and offer faster speeds and higher performance. Since Google uses site speed as a key factor when ranking pages, using static web pages can help improve your SEO.
These generators have the ability to create a website from text stored in files instead of databases. They are also cheaper to develop and allow for easier deployment of content through templates.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AR and VR aren’t just for video games, internet marketers have applied them to their websites and online ads in order to increase user engagement. Facebook applied AR capabilities in 2018 to their ads by letting you “try on” sunglasses. Real estate companies are also embedding VR experiences into their websites by letting you tour properties from the comfort of your couch. If videos can increase conversions by 80% then who knows what AR and VR can do for the future of internet marketing.
AI (Artifical Intelligence)
AI has been around for some time now, but in 2018 web developers really began to take advantage of all the benefits it has. The technology enables the automation of simple business processes, so your organization can focus on the tasks that drive the most value. In 2019, it is expected that more than 40% of organizations will incorporate AI into their day to day operations. As AI develops and becomes even more intelligent, companies will be pressured to adopt the technology or they’ll be at risk of being pushed out by their competitors.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is all about connecting devices and it’s no wonder it took off this year. Developers have created IoT applications that allow us to control our devices from anywhere at any time. Within the healthcare industry, IoT is making it easier for doctors and patients to connect. Web and mobile applications are allowing us to control our cars and household appliances, such as turning off the lights and controlling the thermostat. With the rapid advancements in IoT, we’re excited to see what more this technology will do in 2019.
Bitcoin’s five minutes of fame at the beginning of the year may have lasted longer than you think. The technology that Bitcoin operates on, Blockchain, captured the attention of businesses and developers because of its high-security capabilities.
Web developers are implementing this technology in websites because blockchain allows you to keep an ever-growing ledger where entries can never be modified. Transactions and records are split amongst thousands of computers where complex algorithms are needed in order to verify transactions or pull files. You can do this with or without a central authority. So if you have a website where you are tracking transactions, votes, ownership, or possibly messages, blockchain could provide you with transparency and trust.
Web Development Trends To Expect In 2019
2018…you did us well! Another great year of web development progress and some exciting new products were released. As we look forward to 2019, here are some of the hottest web development trends you can expect to see (in no specific order).
Animations and interactive graphics are great for increasing engagement across your website. The average attention span of web browsers is shrinking. The average human attention span is 13 seconds, so a website that incorporates motion UI is much more likely to capture a visitors attention than static content.
Creating flexible transitions and animations can also improve your user experience. Don’t overwhelm your users with too much motion, but finding the right amount can be the key to keeping your users hooked.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is encouraging businesses to develop websites that load quickly and work smoothly. Google wants pages with rich content like video, images, and graphics to load instantly. They would also like for code to be responsive, working across multiple devices seamlessly.
AMP pages can be restrictive and although it decreases loading speed, it reduces bandwidth. The median load time for content coded with AMP HTML is 0.7 seconds whereas non-AMP is 22 seconds. That’s a huge difference! AMP pages are challenging to customize, but it might make sense to switch as they gain popularity in 2019.
Setting up your site architecture for better SEO
Google makes updates to their algorithm every single day. To stay high in the rankings you must optimize your content and stay up to speed. An influencing factor of a healthy SEO score is your website’s architecture. Not only so users can find information easily, but Google crawlers need to understand your site hierarchy.
Ubiquitous Push Notifications
Push notifications are everywhere. They follow us around and the little red circle on our favorite mobile applications is daunting. Push notifications also exist on our desktops and laptops. Have you ever received a small dialogue box in the top-left or top-right while browsing through your favorite websites? That’s also a push notification.
If you want to send push notifications to your website visitors you can set them up using a dedicated push notification platform or use a WordPress plugin. The convenience of a WordPress plugin is tough to beat.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
AngularJS is the powerhouse behind these lively apps. Progressive web apps are faster, more secure, and light on usage. You can even save users a visit to the app store. However, if you are new to website development, then developing a progressive web app could get a little tricky.
This calls for mobile-first design. With an ever-increasing number of searches happening on mobile devices, users are expecting a seamless mobile experience. In 2019, an immersive mobile website experience will be critical to differentiate yourself from your competition. The shift in focus from web to mobile will heavily influence designers and developers decisions.
Content Management Systems (CMS) are getting better and better. If you’re not a developer, but like to have some degree of control over your website, things are looking promising. Platforms like WebFlow are giving designers and developers the power to create websites with limited constraints. You no longer have to rely on the basic templates that have managed to dominate the internet for so many years. Using a modular design is more flexible than using a template and allows for lower development costs than a custom solution.
This is a hot topic in web development. In 2018 we saw a large number of websites adopt chatbots and you can expect that number to grow in 2019. According to Gartner, Juniper chatbots will be involved in 85% of all types of business-customers interaction by 2020. We can expect Chatbots to answer more challenging questions, not just your average 3-5 word queries? With AI technology these Chatbots have a lot of room for growth.
According to Google Trends, the interest in Chatbots is becoming greater over time. (worldwide, 01.02.2016–11.24.2018) — Google Trends
Today, 19% of people use Siri at least once per day, and 55% of teens and 40% of adults use voice search on a daily basis. Voice-activated devices are becoming commonplace and they’re making their presence felt. People are beginning to use voice search more often than text. So what does this mean?
Web developers need to start thinking about the way people ask for information. Your website will need to be optimized for the keywords that people are using in their speech versus in writing. Additionally, voice search is most common on mobile devices, so web developers should focus on creating a mobile-friendly website. If you’re feeling ambitious, incorporating voice search into your website could be a real differentiator.
Farewell To Old Trends
Stagnent Navigation Bar
In the past, if you wanted to see a websites navigation bar you would have to scroll back to the top of the page to find it, but people quickly realized that this wasn’t very user friendly. Now, with more tools available developers are creating sticky navs or navigation bars that move as you scroll or reappear when you scroll up. Such functionality gives users easy and quick access to the navigation bar, so they can explore your website seamlessly.
Above the Fold
Back when connection speeds were slow and websites didn’t load as quickly it was unlikely for users to scroll to read anything below the fold. This encouraged developers to cram tons of information at the top of web pages which created a cluttered and overwhelming user experience. Users could not find what they were looking for and aesthetics were simply not a priority. Nowadays, with robust websites loading within 3 seconds, this web development trend can be considered a thing of the past. Now users are expected to scroll, making it far more common to see simple and elegant website designs that allow your users to discover what your site has to offer.
This approach to design and development was first used to create digital elements that resembled their real-world counterparts. Users were familiar with the look and feel of, for example, buttons on a calculator, so designers began creating 3D effects on two-dimensional surfaces. One of the greatest examples of skeuomorphism is the trash can on your computer. Allowing users to drag unwanted files into the trash to dispose of them.
Now that the digital space is integrated into our everyday lives, the majority of these designs can be considered aesthetically excessive with unnecessary details. They also lead to longer load times and aren’t mobile friendly. Taking these two factors into consideration, it is evident that a digital application with skeuomorphic design will struggle in today’s online space. The web development trend has shifted to flat design.
It may be visually appealing for users to scroll through content and witness the different layers on your page move at different rates, but just because it looks nice doesn’t mean it should be implemented. Parallax scrolling is bad for SEO, not flexible for large text-heavy sites, and very difficult to replicate on mobile. Just with these few reasons alone you can see why this technique has lost its popularity.
Load screens were (and sometimes still) used as a way to distract users while the website loads. Users now have so many websites at their disposal that they don’t care to watch a creative, animated loading page when they can find an alternative website that loads much faster and provides the same information. Loading pages are also terrible for SEO and can lead to higher bounce rates. If you’re still using a loading screen, you might want to consider restructuring your website, especially if you want your visitors to stay.
If you’re still reading, you know the importance of keeping your website up to date and preparing for the future. Many website owners are planning to improve their website in 2019, understanding and implementing the newest web development trends will give you a competitive advantage. Don’t let your website fall behind and reach out to us for a free consultation.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to learn more about tech and the latest trends, check out our other posts and subscribe to our blog. To inquire about any custom application design or development, please contact us.