There may be four months left in 2016, but the fast-paced cybersphere says that it’s time to look to 2017. Website design is an ever-changing field; staying on top of burgeoning trends can mean the difference between a flourishing business and getting left in the dust. These seven trends for 2017 can help business owners plan a website design or redesign to impress the consumers of tomorrow.
1. Widespread Adoption of Mobile-First Design
In 2014, mobile officially outstripped desktop in terms of global internet users. Almost three years later, web designers have finally mastered mobile-first design. In 2017, web design will no longer focus on desktop first and mobile second—today’s mobile-centric world has reversed the roles. Optimizing a website for mobile requires a web designer to create a site for mobile first and then expand it to fit a larger screen. A web designer must account for responsive design, prioritized content, and haptic feedback—which brings us to our next trend.
2. Incorporation of Advanced Haptic Technologies
Haptic feedback refers to a user’s sense of touch on a touchscreen interface. A virtual keyboard, for example, must be able to pinpoint a user’s touch and translate it appropriately. Haptic technology has advanced quickly to accommodate the trend toward mobile and touch. New developments make it possible for web designers to incorporate a user’s sense of touch in mobile design.
For instance, a savvy designer could use pleasant pulsing sensations to encourage users to stay on a page and an abrupt vibration on the exit key to dissuade them from leaving. The use of haptic feedback to modify user behavior is called “hapnotic feedback.” This combination of haptic technology and hypnotic usage is just emerging, but expect it to become the norm in 2017.
3. Optimized Responsive Web Design
It’s no secret that responsive web design has taken the cyber universe by storm. In 2017, however, responsive design will reach a whole new level. Instead of simply adapting based on device, websites will adapt based on each user. A website’s content, color scheme, font sizes, and spacing will morph to accommodate a user based on his or her age.
4. More Creative Advertising Techniques
If your website has seen improved conversions thanks to pop-up content, you may suffer a hit starting on January 10, 2017. On this date, Google will penalize websites with intrusive interstitials—those pop-ups that cover a website’s main content when a user initially accesses a webpage or as the user scrolls (e.g., the user has to exit the pop-up before he or she can access the site’s content).
Google advises website managers to use banners that don’t take up too much screen space or to use interstitials only in response to a legal obligation. Thanks to Google’s new signal to detect intrusive interstitials, websites will need more creative ways to get their pop-up messages across.
5. Content Tailored Toward Voice Searches
Consumers are drawn to systems like Siri and Alexa, who respond to voice commands and spoken questions. Voice search developments have made this the preferred search method for many consumers, who now ask their devices questions such as “Where are the nearest dentists to me?” Businesses must consider these voice searches when creating content for websites in 2017, making it more conversational and using natural phrases instead of keywords.
6. Custom-Designed Illustrations
As millennials move into the consumer spotlight, expect to see a trend toward greater brand personalization. It’s no longer enough to create a brand with a quality product or service. To stay relevant in the modern marketplace, brands need something to set them apart from the competition. Websites can achieve this individualistic online presence with custom-designed illustrations instead of stock photographs. These illustrations may take more time and money on the designer’s end, but the finished product will be worth the investment. Sites that feature hand-drawn or unique images will beat out the competition in 2017.
7. Video Wins the Day
One trend that grew quickly the past year is video content—a website design tactic that isn’t just a passing fad. Video content is increasingly cost-effective to produce, especially with apps that enable quick and easy live video recording and professional-grade productions. The combination of decreasing costs of video and growing popularity of this medium is the perfect storm for video to overtake written content as king. 2017 is the year to jump on the Vine or Snapchat bandwagon if your brand hasn’t already—take advantage of the consumer need for imagery.
Next year is on the horizon, and it’s bringing more technological breakthroughs and surprising web design trends than the world has ever seen. With each passing day, the modern world hits a new record for digital advancement. The future of web design looks bright for those ready to embrace positive changes.