It’s that time of year again when we look into the future and predict what to expect in the world of web design for the year to come. A lot has changed behind the scenes when it comes to all important elements such as SEO and security, but what’s changing out front where the action is really happening? Here’s a guide to what to look for in 2018.
1. Cool Colours
For the last year, the crisp, clean white background seems to have been the norm, allowing individual graphics and text areas to stand out. However, there seems to be an explosion of colour going on in 2018, as leading brands attempt to use vibrant, excessive colours to draw users into an incredible sensory experience, taking advantage of new display technologies that support a greater than ever range of colour and leave the web-safe palette a thing of the past. Prepare your eyes for an all colour onslaught!
2. Mobile First
There has been plenty of attention over the last year on the topic of mobile browsing trends, and search engines such as Google have made it clear that having a great mobile experience is essential to maintaining position with the new algorithms. However, the shift in browsing habits has had a seismic effect on the entire web design process, meaning that in fact it is now becoming the norm to design for mobile first and then adapt to larger displays, rather than the opposite approach generally practised up until now.
3. More Animation
If the focus in 2017 was on telling the story, then the rising trend in animation is a natural continuation. Animations help brands to tell their story in a powerful way that expresses their personality, as well as demonstrating that they are up-to-date, dynamic and tuned in to their audience.
4. Fantastic Fonts
Until fairly recently, web designers have relied on web safe fonts for the majority of website text, enhancing the appearance of sites with a carefully rationed selection of more fancy fonts such as those available in the now substantial Google library. All that is old hat now, however, as sharper resolutions open up the options and allow users to have an exceptional experience even with more complex and adventurous fonts. There is also likely to be a rise in the use of custom fonts.
5. Breaking the Mould
As you can see already, 2018 is all about challenging the norm and making a big, bold statement. No surprise then that we can expect to see more and more sites choosing to escape the confines of the typical symmetrical grid layout and opt instead for asymmetrical, broken grid layouts that create a unique and different user experience, especially for brands who want to present themselves as bold, risqué or experimental in their nature.
6. Data Driven
It is said that a picture says a thousand words. In the connected world we live in, big data, when presented effectively, can exponentially increase what is conveyed. Look out for more and more websites using animation and other creative solutions to present the numbers that matter. Of course, all this data will also drive behind the scenes change too, helping designers and developers to stay a step ahead of their users in a way that was never before possible.
7. Flat is Back
Those of you who enjoy keeping an eye on design trends will be familiar with the relatively recent trend of long shadows that threatened to upset the apple cart and spell an end to the simple beauty of flat design. Fear not – flat is back. Flat design, it seems, has seen a resurgence in popularity, as part of a style statement that is all about subtlety and restraint.
Graduated colour blocks have, largely thanks to the stereotype of unimaginative Powerpoint presentations, been a big no-no for web designers for the memorable past. However, it seems that gradients are right back up there, partly thanks to the amazing colour depth offered by modern display technologies. Expect to see increased use of gradients not just for large background areas, but also for image overlays as designers seek new ways to create intriguing and eye-catching imagery.
9. eCommerce Excitement
The eCommerce sector had a great year in 2017 and is only going to continue to grow in 2018. But what does this mean for web design? Firstly, there is greater confidence among existing eCommerce entreprises, meaning that they are more willing to take risks and shake up the experience with some bold and brave design decisions, such as those already discussed. Secondly, more and more companies will begin to see themselves as an eCommerce company and look to embrace this in their web presence and direct the customer relationship through the website, rather than solely relying on the traditional ‘brochure site’ that simply showcased their brand.
10. Particle Backgrounds
11. (Don’t) Walk the Line
Just as we’ve seen a move towards the asymmetrical, broken grid layout, the move away from the conventional constraints of straight lines and symmetry is also reflected in a wider shift away from horizontal and vertical lines in favour of diagonals, curves, rounded edges and flowing, organic curves.