Website Trends to Look Forward to in 2018
As technology continues to constantly evolve, it’s important that we stay on top of the latest trends in the web services industry. Nowadays, your website in particular is usually the first interaction a customer will have with your company, so staying on top of it to ensure it features the latest attributes is important.
What did we see in 2017?
For 2017, we saw a variety of website trends that were projected to be popular. Each of these website trends can be tied back to technological advancements that therefore drove website attributes to further innovation. For example, a more simple and straightforward approach to design seems like it became the most popular trend in 2017, which can be tied back to the shift to mobile browsing. With consumers using their phones more, having a streamlined and efficient website was priority.
Additionally, in 2017 we saw that having more higher quality images with a faster load time was essential. Going back to mobile, tech giants such as Apple have continued to enhance their Retina displays on the iPhone, so having vivid and bright graphics on your website coincided with this trend. As for faster load time, that’s pretty straightforward. Users expect a website to load quickly, especially when they are viewing it on a mobile device, otherwise they’re inclined to move on instead of waiting around.
Yet another trend we saw in 2017 was the use of video backgrounds. With the internet’s connectivity gaining higher speed, it allowed for larger files, such as video to display on websites. Having moving footage on your website, particularly the homepage, created a more interactive, dynamic, immersive and engaging experience for those visiting your website.
A good article that covers more website trends in 2017 is Elcom’s 8 Website Design Trends That Have Taken Off in 2017.
What can we expect for 2018?
In 2018, we see a few elements being at the forefront of website design. The focus of them being primarily on visual components and customer experience.
A more fun and exciting advancement we’ll see in 2018 is that of subtle animations. Again, because technology has advanced to the point where websites can better hold and handle animation, we expect to see some more subdued attributes play into websites, such as animated logos.
Below is an example of the different and creative ways Fubiz Media, one of the largest online magazines in France, integrated animation into their logo.
The animation in these logos make it a memorable and fun one for those visiting the website, therefore solidifying the brand in their mindset.
Virtual Reality Video
Going back to technology’s advancements in video, another popular element we’ve already seen and are sure to continue seeing in 2018 is virtual video. Examples of this include 360 degree videos (oftentimes seen on social media when someone is at visually compelling location), 360 degree modeling, video mapping and interactive videos.
Below is a great example from USA Today showcasing a 360 degree video of the Blue Angels’ flight operations. Once the video plays you can click on it and drag your mouse in different directions to experience the flight as if you’re on the aircraft yourself.
Ideally having these 360 images or videos of your inventory at your dealership provides the next level of experience for your customer. It essentially becomes the virtual extension of your dealership that they can access and experience at any time of day no matter where they’re physically located.
Chatbots, AI, and Machine Learning
Chatbots have become a piece of everyday life for us. Whether it’s calling your cell phone provider and being met with an automated system to better direct your call, or going on Facebook to upload a photo and having the social media giant recommend individuals to tag in the photo based on facial recognition. This kind of technology is quickly becoming ingrained in our daily interactions.
In 2018, we will continue to see the advancement of this technology specifically in how customers potentially navigate your website in the future. Right now, we’re seeing this applied most commonly with the increased accuracy of chatbots in live chats on websites.
One of the most common concerns our dealers have when deciding whether to incorporate Live Chat on their website is who is going to be designated to address the chats if customers utilize the tool. Ideally in the future, there will be an automated chatbot that can assist your customer, creating an efficient experience for both parties and taking the burden of being on call to answer chats off of your team.
If you’re interested in learning about more website trends projected to be popular in 2018, TheeDesign.com has a great piece you can read.
While the specific trends between 2017 and 2018 are different, they all relate back to the fact that technology is evolving quickly. Increased enhancements to image and video make it the forefront of website design, especially since users are utilizing mobile more frequently. Continuing to integrate these features into your website will keep you ahead of your competitors and in line with your customers’ needs.