How Do We Expect Web Design to Change in 2019?

Web design is changing as the year ends and 2019 beckons, and there are many trends that are unfolding. Some aren’t likely to make a major impact in the next 12 months, but we’ll focus on the ones that we should see grow in importance throughout the year.

Here are some of the things we expect to see in web design during 2019.

Speed Matters More Than Ever

While smartphones and internet connections are faster than ever, we’re accessing our devices while doing several things at the same time. For example, our mobile apps could be updating while a cloud-based app is syncing data and trying to load the website at the same time. Whilst computing power and internet speeds have both increased, we’re trying to do more with them.

Since July 2018, Google has started paying serious attention to loading times for websites. It’s ideally looking for sites that load in under 3 seconds on the top end, otherwise the site risks getting marked down for sluggishness.

Think about what data is used with a website:

  1. Page structural code (static)
  2. Content
  3. Page dynamic content (JavaScript, etc.)
  4. Images, including infographics
  5. Video

Some of these will be pulled in using a content delivery network, but not all of it. To speed up the load time of your website, use plugins to compress the website’s code and JavaScript too. Use asynchronous JavaScript to have scripts loaded at the end after the content is already showing on the screen. This has the effect of looking like a fast-loading page/website.

Choosing a fast web host and hosting package is important too. When stuck on an overloaded shared hosting package with a host renowned for slow servers, it doesn’t matter how optimised the code is. If page serving is slow, overcoming that bottleneck on the server side isn’t possible. To keep up with the trends in 2019, invest in the site by getting better-quality web hosting.

By using a speed checker for the site, it’s possible to see how quick it loads. A service like GT Metrix also confirms any issues it may have found that are slowing down the page loading. It also links out to information on how to implement improvements.

Brand Typography for the Win

As the web looks to ape what newspapers looked like back in the day, typography is getting larger and more experimental. Bigger headlines that grab the reader’s attention are becoming the thing. It takes little time to download a font once and makes a powerful introduction to the page or website for new visitors.

The businesses that choose to have their own font developed, like IBM with their IBM Plex, stand out from the crowd. Their font is now open-source and can even be used on a Linux operating system if you are an IBM loyalist. Other companies with their own custom font include:

  • Netflix
  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Google

Mobile First is a Reality

The Mobile First initiative from Google made the switch from indexing the desktop version of a website to indexing the mobile version first. This is in response to the typical site being viewed more on mobile than on a desktop PC now.

The switch has been confusing for some designers and web developers. This is because Google is indexing the mobile version that often has less information (so it can load faster) than the desktop version. If that site is the primary one that drives what’s indexed in the largest search engine, what does that leave out?

The answer has been to lighten the code on mobile versions rather than losing content. This includes having less JavaScript, making it all asynchronous, and not allowing designers to go crazy with their code just because they can. Less is more in code and presentation, so the content (in all forms) can load in faster. A useful feature like lazy loading for videos as well as images prevents slow-loading visual content by downloading it only when that part of the page is in view.

Embracing Minimalism with One-Page Designs

For websites with a single goal, a one-page design sometimes works for them. The navigation at the top acts as a page anchor pulling the visitor down to the correct spot. Effectively, six pages of content get condensed onto a single page.

Web design for one-page designs is modified for clarity about what section the visitor is viewing to avoid them getting lost on the page. The design idea works when the site is visually interesting and has limited scope. For instance, agency and business services websites can take advantage of this trend for minimalistic websites without needing to reduce the scope of what they’re publishing.

There are some advantages with a one-page design:

  • Single HTML, CSS and JavaScript files to load
  • Written content downloaded quickly

There are some disadvantages with a one-page design:

  • More difficult for Google to know what the page/website is about (*)
  • Not usually suitable larger sites

* It’s worth noting that the search engine is getting better at indexing anchor links and linking in the search results directly.

Going Artificial with Live Chat and Chatbots

With artificial intelligence and natural language continuing to grow at a startling pace, we’re beginning to see chatbots being used on websites, on chat systems like Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

Able to recognise repeated questions and provide standardised answers, these bots can be incorporated into websites to reduce the workload for the human customer service reps. For questions where there’s a fast answer on record, this can be shown. When there’s not, the chat can move to a human-to-human interaction.

Companies will push towards this model in 2019 because it’s their equivalent of a ‘Knowledge Base’ of online or audio answers that is provided when a customer calls in and selects a number from the list of options. It cuts down the time and money spent dealing with customer queries using expensive human elements. The smarter the bots and natural language gets, the more ubiquitous the technology will become across websites.

What web design trends do you expect to see in 2019? Is there anything we’ve left out?

Let us know – we’re keen to get our readers’ insights.

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