We live in a world where tech seems to advance by leaps and bounds on an almost daily basis. However, it is design that constitutes the driving force behind it, the one that powers it up and shapes it. Design is the philosophy and concept behind the tangibility of invention, and just as it has in every other field, the paradigms that sculpt web design have been equally changing and evolving year after year.
Today, the face of the web is almost unrecognizable from what it was ten years ago.
It is a field that keeps reinventing, rediscovering, and reimagining itself, all the while trying to find new ways in which to engage with and capture the user’s attention.
At OTT we understand how vital it is to, not only keep up but to stay on the bleeding edge of online technologies and marketing trends. And since web design is a cornerstone in any online presence strategy, our design teams all around the world are continually finding new ways to outdo themselves and provide our clients with nothing but the most innovative and effective strategies in the field.
And that’s precisely what this piece is about.
This year is already shaping itself to be one where some critical, paradigm-shifting trends are solidifying themselves in the field. And we thought it would be good to take a moment and have a quick overlook into some of the web design trends for 2018 that are already changing the way in which we create and interact with our virtual world.
Web Design Trends for 2018 – A glimpse at tomorrow’s internet
UX oriented design
For almost two decades now, our efforts for breaking through the divide between user and service has mainly been focused on refining and improving our user interfaces (UI). The web began as a series of long texts with hyperlinks that allowed navigation between files before making way to images, buttons, sounds, video, etc. Nowadays, it is hard to find a high-quality website that doesn’t include all these elements to varying extents, working in concert to produce an engaging and attractive site.
Two decades is a long time to establish and get used to conventions, and many of these have come and gone in our search for the most appealing way to interact with digital real estate. And it is that scarcity of “digital space,” as we move to smaller screens in a mobile-centric online scheme, that is encouraging our designers to delve even more in-depth and evolve the UI centric approach to design, to a User Experience method.
User Experience oriented design (UX design) is a fascinating, vast field. But at its core, UX design is all about focusing and enhancing user’s satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure caused by the interaction with the product. It is not an entirely novel concept; however, it is most definitively one of the most influential web design trends for 2018.
It is no longer enough – as a web designer – to concern yourself with the viability, distribution, and proportion of elements placed on a site. And even though design has always concerned itself with how users respond to these things, UX design takes the process one step further, concerning itself with how the product “feels.”
UX design tries to anticipate behaviors and present different avenues to solve potential issues. It does so by implementing and integrating concepts from different sciences like art, psychology, and biology to achieve superior results in the design process and end products.
Things like the application of gestalt for web design, managing negative space, color theory, and visual hierarchy are but a handful of ideas that this new approach brings to the table to complement and enhance the efforts of UI design.
Mobile First Approach
The sheer amount of mobile interactions in today’s market is utterly striking. Long gone are the days where you had to sit on your desk and boot up a PC if you wanted to check a website. Now you simply reach for your pocket and type the address on your mobile browser – and that’s supposing you don’t have an app for it.
Mobile and desktop vied for dominance over the online interactions for a few years, but in 2017 Google reported that mobile searches had finally overtaken the majority of the market. Around 68 million Google searches are carried out on mobile devices every hour, and this is only one of many impressive statistics that evidence how dominant the mobile market has become in the past two years.
is it surprising that Mobile First has become one of the leading web design trends for 2018?
Mobile first merely refers to a design strategy. It used to be that we based our design on the assumption that visitors would mainly browse it through a desktop, so the brunt of the process was undertaken on that field. Then, the website was modified and adapted to work on different, more portable, devices like tablets and cell phones. The problem was that many of the visual aspects and design features of a website were optimized for desktops and adapted poorly to mobile devices.
This is no longer the case.
Mobile First flips this workflow and the way in which approach our design projects, beginning by actually considering and designing for mobile and then scaling up to a larger desktop version. It is an approach that has been made necessary due to the importance and significance the mobile market has taken on the field, a trend that isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
It is a design focus that comes with its own challenges and pitfalls to overcome, but in the end, the results speak for themselves, as Mobile First responds to an evolution of the market, so we need to move and evolve with it.
SEO Web Design
The final web design trends for 2018 we’ll cover on this post is the so-called SEO Web Design, and again, this concept speaks to a new way of seeing things in the design stages of a project.
For a long time, SEO was the realm – almost exclusively – of content, and it very much still is. However, as we continuously gain new insights and understandings on how search engine algorithms work, there are new pieces of the puzzle falling into place that can be taken advantage from those who are quick to react.
One of these elements that is causing a lot of buzz after its announcement just a few months back is how Google is going to be considering mobile page speed for their mobile search results ranking.
Another good example is imagery in E-commerce sites. While close-up photos or pictures in unusual angles can be artistically appealing and do provide some benefit to listings, some of the major online sales site’s algorithms actually penalize listings that don’t give a good, clear showcase of the product being sold, causing your listings to rank lower in result pages.
These are but two examples of the myriad of variables our teams at OTT take into account, and what these two examples have in common is that they fall mostly under the purview of our web designers.
Thus, SEO web design speaks to another angle of approach to the discipline, that takes notice and accounts for who design elements can affect and influence a site’s rankings on search engines.
By eliminating those traits that search engines like Google and Bing, or algorithms like Amazon’s A9, would find undesirable in the design stages, we are immediately helping your digital assets to start with an advantage from the get-go. More importantly, by designing websites with this approach, we are guaranteeing you’ll avoid issues that might not even become evident at the outset of the project.
UX oriented, Mobile First, and SEO web design are definitively at the point of the spear that leads the web design trends for 2018. However, they aren’t the only ones.
The world of design is one that changes and evolves constantly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, by the end of the year, a new trend has carved itself a spot in these types of lists. That’s why it is vital to keep on top of these developments and implement the most innovative techniques we have right now, while continually looking at tomorrow for what comes.
It is the only way to stay ahead in this industry.