The web is always changing, evolving, and growing. Here at WebDevStudios (WDS), we thrive on staying up-to-date on the latest trends to ensure the success of all of our clients’ websites. The end of the year is approaching, but there is still plenty of time between now and then to start planning on how to improve your website for next year.
Why Start Now?
It’s still 2019, so why should you be concerned about what will be on-trend next year? The planning process is pivotal in successful website builds, which takes time. You want to ensure your site is at the forefront of the the changing landscape of the web and not playing catch-up against your competitors. The sooner you start planning, the faster development can begin to get your site become a trailblazer in the new year.
Why Do Trends Change and Why Are They So Important?
It probably feels like it’s a never-ending cycle to keep up with the new trends and updates that come yearly for WordPress and the web in general, and you wouldn’t be wrong. With so many talented developers (many of which we have here at WDS) contributing to open-source platforms, trends and necessary features will always be changing in an attempt to find the next big thing for developers and consumers alike.
Some of these trends may be purely aesthetic, which are still very important in maintaining your brand’s image on the web, but many of them are imperative to ensuring your site remains secure, accessible, and provides a friendly user experience. You want to position your company as a leader in your industry, and your website is going to be the first reflection of that for many visitors. Let’s explore some of the ways you can improve your website for next year.
What Improvements Should You Make in 2020?
1. Make sure your website is mobile-first and thumb-friendly.
Due to the continued growth in the use of mobile devices, it’s not enough anymore to just make sure your site works on mobile. Since so many users will be interacting with your site on a mobile device (and in some cases, solely on mobile), it’s imperative to design for a mobile experience first. By keeping mobile at the forefront of your design, you’ll definitely see some of the following benefits.
- You’ll give users an improved customer experience with design elements meant to be displayed on a smaller screen utilizing touch interactions.
- Keeping the design “thumb-friendly” (since often times users hold phones in the palm of the hand using their thumb to scroll, click, and interact) ensures all the content is within easy reach.
- Search engines, such as Google, are starting to give preference in indexing mobile-first designs to serve up more relevant searches for mobile users.
2. Use motion in your design with micro-animations.
Users love feedback and emotional connections with websites. Micro-animations are becoming increasingly popular in providing users with a rewarding user experience while providing valuable user feedback. These may sound like small details to add to a site, but don’t underestimate how something so simple can help differentiate a site from ordinary to a stand-out.
Micro-animations can provide beneficial feedback through elements such as:
- Showing visual progress – visually seeing the progression of a loading bar complete
- Directing user navigation – utilizing subtle direction arrows or colors to directional cues
- Making use of natural swipe tendencies – creating seamless transitions generate an interactive and smooth site flow
- Visual feedback for security – implementing a color bar illustrating the strength of a password
- And so many more!
3. Optimize your site for accessibility.
Just like many other facets of life, some individuals need to utilize the web in a different manner than as initially designed due to a disability. Therefore, although this one may be more difficult to implement than some other trends, upgrading the accessibility of your website is a crucial way to improve your website for next year because it allows you to reach a vast audience and, in some cases, makes sure you are in accordance with laws and policies.
Designing for accessibility includes a vast number of things to consider and can require some additional education in understanding proper code structures to do so. However, simple things can be done to make drastic improvements to your accessibility on your site, including:
- Adding closed captions to videos
- Using headers correctly
- Integrating tab navigation
- Utilizing high color contrast
4. Make use of audio and voice search optimization.
Going along with accessibility, users are exploring websites with more than just their finger tips now. With the increase in voice assistants, such as Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, more users are navigating the web utilizing their voice.
Ensuring your site is set up for audio and voice optimizations comes down to how content is organized on your site and how easily a search engine is able to find it. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:
- Making sure that your important content is within HTML (not images)
- Use phrases similar to natural speech (not just keywords)
- Ensure your site has a quick load speed (since Google will search those first in its queries)
Positive Impact of These Trends
These are just a few of the trends to note, and by no means do you need to start incorporating every new one you come across. By keeping some of these in mind to plan for next year, you can ensure you are are positioning your site as a leader in the web landscape for 2020. Some of these improvements may give your site a visual edge that will attract a consumer’s eye. Some will ensure your site remains secure and safe, while others are working to make sure you are presenting the best user experience.
WebDevStudios Can Improve Your Website
Are you ready to make improvements to your website for the new year? We’d love to chat. Contact us today and let’s start 2020 right by building an updated and on-trend website for your business or nonprofit organization.