Website Design Trends
From artificial intelligence to wearables, here are some of the biggest ideas shaping website design trends today.
Web design thrives on two things: innovation and imitation. Unfortunately, there’s often a lot more of the latter. We all like to seize upon the latest trends, use them until they’re ubiquitous, and then look desperately for the next big thing. Think about sliders. They were all the rage a couple years ago. Today, they feel dated. What to do? Stop chasing micro trends, and start looking at the big picture. Here, we’ve isolated six website design trends that are here to stay.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Context is everything. Where and when an interaction happens is now as important as how or why. Is it on a phone? A tablet? Indoors or outdoors? What is the user doing in that moment? Users interact with a product in all kinds of different situations.
Designers have to make the product’s response as seamless and as helpful as possible. Of course, they can’t instantaneously read a user’s context in real time. But sophisticated and emergent artificial intelligence engines can. Such as:
- Facebook M
- Smart Reply for Gmail
- The Grid
Many other forms of artificial intelligence are beginning to automate the web. The eventual outcome: a greater reliance on AI to analyze and interpret user context, and then coordinate the best offers and solutions.
Consider the development of online virtual assistants. Seamless speech interpretation and instantaneous responses to user requests are some of the biggest challenges designers are working on today. Programs like Cortana, Siri, and GoButler are racing to obliterate our ability to discern between man and machine. Virtual assistants such as these will have a tremendous impact on how users interact with web and mobile apps.
AI newbies can get started by using various WordPress plugins like The Client Relations Factory, which puts an animated, autonomous customer-service representative on your website.
One consistent complaint about the web design world is how often it engages in, shall we say, less than original practices.
The proclivity of WordPress templates, responsive frameworks, and the desire to achieve a certain look (corporate, personal, portfolio, etc.) has led to a large degree of uniformity in design. This can only last so long.
Websites don’t have to fit into a mold. Certainly there will be clients who’ll want their websites to match others in the same industry. But there are always calls for a fresh take—for something that feels different. Of course, many of these requests are only for superficial differences. However, as website design trends mature, it’s only natural that it should diversify in earnest.
This doesn’t mean you need to start putting together abstract designs for novelty’s sake. Rather, you should feel free to push boundaries, while holding onto the basics that make for a smooth user experience.
One space where this trend is taking off is in theatrical presentations.
The website for a documentary called Sons of Gallipoli, for instance, has unique navigation and presentation.
Video controls show progress in a semi-transparent overlay while the documentary is still playing.
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