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18th December 2018
Another year has almost passed and we look to December as a time for reflection. Last year was the year for gradients and colour transitions, 90s inspired patterns and palettes, along with the illustration and animation trend continuing to rise. But attractive transitions and colour palettes don’t always make for a high performing website. A website shouldn’t just look great to convert users - its design is just part of a larger puzzle. Let's take a look at the trends set to sweep 2019 and see what they mean for not just design but performance too.
Let's talk lightning speed! We live in a fast paced world so it goes without saying our websites have to perform to keep up with demand. How much time do you think you have to make a great first impression with a potential customer? If you’re thinking about interacting online then it’s less than 3 seconds. Yes, 3 seconds to make that lasting impression. Those few seconds can be a real deal breaker and if you’re dreaming of being a high performing e-commerce website, then those precious moments make all the difference between bagging that sale or leaving the user unhappy and alone at the checkout.
In this face paced environment a beautifully designed site is purely just that. If the design is data-heavy and takes too long to load, your site will be draining visitors quicker than the roadrunner. Those visitors also mean revenue - if no one is sticking around to see your service offering or products, then that’s a whole lot of money down the drain. Along with the Google Speed Update that took effect in July 2018, whereby Google is now prioritising site rankings by those that load faster than others, it proves now more than ever, that websites need to load faster.
Designers can’t simply rely of the developer to perform a miracle with their design by making it lean - this is a designers task to consider how their design will translate online - and when built, large images and videos must be compressed whilst still holding quality. In 2019 there will be a huge focus on site speed and performance and there’s no doubt about it.
The use of shape in web design isn’t new, in fact it's been floating around for a while but as we reach 2019, its growing even more in popularity. It’s a very simple and effective design element to add to any website. These flat geometric shapes add design flare without impacting largely on site performance. Using CSS clipping paths and masking images within shapes, along with adding CSS animations and transitions on the shapes, make for a great design feature.
UX in motion - bring on the micro animations or “microinteractions” as they’re more commonly referred. Users encounter them regularly in the digital world and they are by no means a new thing. These brief animations are created to direct the user through tasks as they interact with a digital product. 2019 will see the rise of these delightful “app like” animations being used more widespread in website design. The importance of offering up a great user experience to your site visitors is paramount. We expect that many web design projects throughout 2019 will see enhancements and the introduction of more stylish and meaningful uses of microinteraction.
The humble GIF is overdone, right? Looking for a subtle replacement? Say hello to Cinemagraphs. Again, not a new trend as Cinemagraphs have been about since 2011 when the “Living Photograph” was born. They’ve not been widely used on commercial websites for some reason as gifs seem to have taken centre stage, but we think 2019 may be the year for Cinemagraphs - especially in the arts and creative world. These living pictures are an excellent substitute for GIFs as they’re much more subtle and soft in comparison. Unlike the GIF, Cinemagraphs are static images with only one moving element making them more like works of art. Keep your eyes peeled for Cinemagraphs as they’ll be here to stay.
Feeling inspired? Here’s how to make a cinemagraph.
As the users of your website grow in their digital knowledge, there is a need for your site to be more intelligent and work harder to give the user what they want. With the rise of interacting and communicating with chatbots over the last year, users expect to get a bespoke service without really having to deal with a human. I bet the last time you chatted with a customer service operative online, it was actually a bot, but it answered your question no doubt. We must remember that although you’re not speaking to a human, there was a human at the heart of the responses. A team of Designers, Copywriters and Product Managers spent countless hours scripting responses and prototyping the personality of the chat system to make sure the users experience was seamless.
"The challenge of building a bot isn't a technical one, it's conversational. Your job is to understand the interactions your audience is already having with your brand. Then, harness the chat interface in a way that yields maximum impact with minimal fluff."
"Yes, witty banter is a plus. But, the ultimate mission of a bot is to provide a service people actually want to use. As long as you think of your bot as just another communication channel, your focus will be misguided. The best bots harness the micro-decisions consumers experience on a daily basis and see them as an opportunity to help. Whether it's adjusting a reservation, updating the shipping info for an order, or giving medical advice, bots provide a solution when people need it most."
source: hubspot stories - Battle of the bots
The need for intelligent websites will see a huge increase in 2019. We can see new technologies paving the way to offer up a bespoke experience to each and every user, based on their location, needs, interests and even purchase history.
With the ever growing need for speed, performance and security online, designers and developers are always on the lookout for tools to give them the ability to design and iterate quicker. Looking back to the roots of the web static HTML provides the key to leaner processes. This is less a design trend and more of a development challenge. Utilising tools like gatsby will see sites being built at speed, delivering less technical overheads to take the pressure off of the browser to deliver. Building sites in this way sees better performance, higher security, lower cost of scaling, and an all round better developer experience.
Checkout this list of Static Site Generators
Creating a unique digital brand is proving more popular for brands. They no longer want a standard out of the box website that looks exactly like their competitors - they want to be unique, to stand out above the rest and be disruptive in their market space. The use of non-standard bespoke fonts on the web are on the rise, we are seeing brands utilising their unique brand font in the digital space too. The team at Airbnb designed their own font “Cereal” this past year. Designing and using accessible custom digital fonts are a great way to express your brand online. They keep a user’s attention on your brand at every point in their journey and that’s key to standing out against the crowd. Daring to be different pays off.
We’ve had another great year here at Abstrakt. We’re always introducing new ideas and trends across our digital projects and we’ve already started to work on some of 2019’s trends in our projects throughout 2018 to keep our clients ahead of the curve. Keep an eye out in the months to come as we’ll be showcasing more of our work from the last year and announcing some great new projects we’ll be working on in 2019.
Interesting? There’s plenty more where that came from…