2017 was basically the year of flat design. With websites turning to Google’s Material Design visual language, responsive design became a constant in web design. Also, 2017 witnessed progressive web apps that have the ability to run offline as well, coming to the fore and centre.
On the other hand, 2018 has really been all about mobile websites. It is safe to say that mobile applications and mobile websites will be seen as the key takeaway from 2018 when the year comes to an end. The most significant change will be about what and how website designers think about their designs and that is what is going to be driving the trends in 2018.
It has been observed that it is generally the big players in the industry that set and lead the trends of any particular year. Players like Amazon are known to lead these progressions in website design and also impact the upcoming trends with their new ideas. It is likely that the remainder of 2018 will see website designs becoming more adaptable and more responsive to mobile screens. Let us take a look at some the key trends in e-commerce site designs that 2018 holds for us.
1. Responsive Design (Mobile-First Approach)
With smartphones being the reality of today’s world, any e-commerce venture or online store needs to cater first to its mobile customers. The arrangement or design of your website has to be in such a manner that it is demonstrated perfectly on any device that runs an operating system. But how the tides have turned now.
In fact, circumstances and technology have changed so much now that e-commerce website designers are now developing the website for mobile devices first and then making the same responsive design the desktop. This adaptation of designs to a mobile-friendly website has ensured that even desktop sites now have features such as long scrolling pages, finger-friendly icons, and a card-like layout. This change in design, at times, leaves many desktop users perplexed.
Customers are focused on having a mobile-friendly experience, and if your website does not meet their expectations, they will not hesitate for a second before moving on to a competitor’s site. So satisfy your mobile customers and win more sales from the mobile website.
2. Interactive Shopping: Animations and Cinemagraphs
Animation associates a thumbnail with its detailed view.
The animated GIF has made a big comeback in 2018. However, one cannot really call it a GIF as it has arrived in a subtler form and is now called a cinemagraph. A cinemagraph has progressed from a GIF in that it is actually just a still picture with some small, repeating animation added to it.
The effect achieved is much subtler as compared to a GIF, but eye-catching nevertheless. These are being used as category headers, background images, banners for home pages and even product pictures in some cases.
So, set the bar high when choosing a designer for your pictures and animation. Most e-commerce website owners add images or animations to their websites to provide an unforgettable experience for their visitors. A particular good image or animation usually stays with the visitor even after they have left the page. So, pictures and cinemagraphs are like to continue trending for the remainder of 2018 as an important element of website design.
3. Material Design Still Rules
Google developed the concept of material design for Android devices. This concept has a neat and clean and highly-usable charm attached to it and many website designers like using it. While it was initially meant for sites designed for Android devices, the trend has now moved past Android and is now spreading everywhere.
Material design is considered to be a vibrant and modernistic design style for websites, yet at the same time having a focus on content. It has a minimalistic appearance that appeals to many site owners of today. Due to the usage of shadow effects and depth, website designers are able to create many beautiful and clean-looking interfaces with a highly realistic appearance for their users.
This trend of material design is unlikely to be fading away anytime soon, and business owners and designers alike appear to have taken a shine to this concept.
Website designers have lately been turning towards the concept of storytelling. This trend has been gaining in popularity and appears to continue strong in 2018. Storytelling uses several design approaches to tell a complete brand story.
Designers follow the concept that a great story can breathe life into a lifeless brand and weave magic by creating a story around the brand. It has been seen that through storytelling, brands are successful in creating an emotional bond with their customers.
Storytelling allows consumers to develop an emotional bond with your brand by coming to know if they share some kind of a history or background or culture with the brand they are purchasing from. This earns them credibility and trust from their customer base and also makes the e-commerce brand and business stand apart from the competition. The important tips of storytelling that have to be followed include:
– Highlighting the brand’s humble beginnings
– Demonstrating your passion for the product or service
– Providing an excellent solution to the customer’s problems
5. Long Scrolls and Lazy Loading
As mobiles are the latest devices on which browsing takes place, website designers are also tweaking their websites for maximum efficiency on loading on these devices.
Long scrolls and lazy loading are trends that have become popular due to the popularity of smartphones. As the loading of new pages takes a lot of time, designers are now creating longer pages that can be scrolled to great lengths.
It loads objects as they are required. For example, a product page will load ten products at a time. Once the user scrolls vertically, the page will further continue to load or add ten more featured products. Users can continue to view 50-100 such products before the web page asks them to load a completely new page.
This reduces the load times of web pages by nearly half and also increases the overall performance of the website. It is expected that this kind of longer page scroll views will continue to dominate the e-commerce space for website designs.
6. Striking Colours
While the last three to four years saw a revolution of minimalism and maximizing the usage of white space on websites, 2018 has definitely been the year of bold and bright colours. Website designers are experimenting with the use of bright and bold colours to bring websites to life. They understand that colour no longer serves the purpose of only aesthetics.
They can be used to create a connection with your customers as well. The intelligent and sharp use of colours is helping website owners to not only convey messages but spread a positive shopping experience to their customers and visitors as well.
Homepages are being made to pop with vibrant colours. Strikingly coloured websites paired with big typography or highlighted letters are becoming the trend for 2018. If you want an example of some of the trending colour combinations going around in 2018, you can check out Pantone’s colour pairings for 2018.
7. Bold, Creative Typography
As website designers continue to push the boundaries with colours how can the font or typography be far behind? The year 2018 witnessed a lot of creativity in the use of typography and 2018 is also continuing to witness the same.
Typography is expected to get bigger, bolder and more creative. It is expected to take up a lot more space on a website and also get more creative with the typefaces. Gone are the days of the usual fonts that were used.
Large and flexible typography is here to stay as designers make it work not only for desktops but for mobile devices as well. With the changing nature of the business, large typefaces are being in demand these days to send out a powerful and confident message to customers and competitors alike.
This new trend in typography is having a huge impact on readability, user experience and the overall mood of the website as well. Customers are loving this new trend and it is going to stay with us for the remainder of 2018.
8. Emotionally Intelligent Design
A smart website designer is not going to ignore this trend in website design that is perhaps the most underrated of them all. Emotionally intelligent website designs are often ignored by many designers. With studies showing the link between making rational decisions and being emotional, business owners and website designers are looking to tap into this ’emotional intelligence’ factor.
In a way, websites are getting people addicted to them so that they keep on returning. Technology is trying to make chatbots smarter by having them understand what kind of a day you are going through or whether you are about to leave for a big event or a long weekend.
They want to be able to understand whether their service is delighting you or vice versa. While at the moment the technology lacks this emotional intelligence, it is only a matter of time before it becomes an integral part of website development. So, while it is still at a stage of experimentation, this trend of emotional intelligence is likely to gain prominence in the coming years.
Micro-interactions can be known as the subtle but substantial methods of interacting with a website. These are found often in click animations, scrolling effects, and hovers. Though they have been around for a long time, it has only been lately that website designers are paying a lot of close attention to them. These micro-interactions are being refined further and made to become more informative.
The most commonly used micro-interaction is the hover or rollover. This is where a website visitor can just move their mouse or cursor to certain parts of the website to see these micro-interactions and also intercommunicate with the website in this manner.
As visitors rarely even notice that they are performing these micro-interactions, it becomes a part of the natural way in which they interact with the products and services of the business owner. Micro-interactions work as a great habit-building tool. They make the subtle difference between a good website and a great website.
No doubt that 2018 has already seen some great websites and before the year ends, more great websites are likely to follow. While website design is a slow-moving process, there is constant change in this field of work. Influencers like Google and Amazon will keep being the path leaders and website designers will continue to incorporate the innovative concepts of these stalwarts.
While some of these trends may fade out with the year, many will continue to remain popular as we head into 2018. Rest assured that many of the best website design trends are yet to come.
One thing that is known about website design is that change is constant. Designing trends keep on changing on a yearly basis. So to stay current, it is absolutely necessary that you keep upgrading your website from time to time and keep adding some of the other latest trends to keep your website popular amongst your customers.