You should really know by now that design is not about how things look. It’s about how they work. This idea is applicable to various types of design,whether it’s for a street sign, a website or a robot. Designers need to be aware of technologies and trends to keep up with their work. But now I want to focus on the web, and how technology is changing UX for the web.
2018 has brought this strong feeling that we should be swimming in an ocean of colors and hand-drawn letters while being guided by voice control in virtual reality. If at least one of these images excites you, this guide is for you.
Web Design Trends for 2018
With its bright colors, expressive typography and integrated animations, 2018 is set to become one of the most fun years for web design in a long time. Web design is a broad category. We have traditional “web pages”, but now the web is so powerful that it enables full applications, from social networks to 3D experiences. We can’t wait to see what designers will come up with and how they’re going to push the boundaries of the web.
It has become tremendously easy to create 3D experiences. They are somewhere between web design and virtual reality. Loaded is a brilliant example of a luxurious 3D website. Immersive browsing gives us an unforgettable experience, and creative animation allows the rich website to stand out. But the truth is that the mass-market demand for this technology is low. There are reasons for that: first of all, it’s very costly to produce 3D websites. Second, 3D content takes a long time to load, and most users want information and services that are easy to use.
We use various types of animation — with video effects, subtle, and native SVG to tell stories and entertain and to increase the speed of interactions. It allows us to advertise ourselves and our products and to improve our users’ experiences. Interactive elements can completely capture a user’s attention, and explain at a glance what the company or brand offers. Now, due to integrated animation, websites are not just dynamic; they react to consumer actions and give the impression that they are thoughtful resources.
It’s truly exciting that web animation adds another dimension to how we can design for the web and profit from the rich histories of design, animation, and film. A framework for creating SVG animation, CodePen, is a good reference for front-end developers who want to become animators, and for designers learning to code.
Following the lead of Google’s Material Design system, IBM and Salesforce have released their own layout systems with motion guidelines. More and more, large companies are investing in UI animations produced according to these guidelines. Medium-to-large companies follow the examples of these giants, who can afford to spend a lot of time to improve their design systems and branding.
Expressive Typography And Hand-Drawn Fonts
Can typography encourage prolonged reading, and not just scanning? What are the most exciting cutting-edge experimentations in typographic technology and digital layout, and what new skills will we need to design web content in 2018? Expressive Typography is a web design trend that uses massive letters, contrasting sans serif and serif headings, which together create dynamic parallels, improve the UX and keeps the visitor coming back to the website Seasoncreates.
With the exception of Internet Explorer, many browsers can support hand-drawn fonts that are enabled by CSS for web browsers. You can change the color of the letters in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign, which makes it appealing to graphic design professionals and anyone who admires handmade fonts. However, such expressive hand-drawn fonts contain either raster images or vector files. That’s why each character or shape of these not-keyable fonts must be composed and set by hand.
Common web fonts need each typeface variant to be stored in a separate file. For instance, this is what the folder of the Roboto web font looks like:
Experimental variable fonts use a single typeface file with unlimited variants that the browser has to load only once. After being loaded, it can serve all the variants from just that one binary. This way, it becomes possible to adjust the typeface for different devices, viewpoints, orientations, and other design constraints.
To be sure, 2018 is definitely the year for bright and contrasting colors online. In the past, many brands and designers preferred mostly web-safe colors. Today, more designers are becoming braver in their approaches to color. They’re using saturated and colourful shades combined with vertical headers and changing background tone. Technological advances in monitors and devices with screens can reproduce richer colors. Most new brands use vibrant, even clashing colors, hoping to immediately attract their visitors’ attention.
Bright colours give website a distinct personality and invite users on an exotic journey. Website colour creates an emotional association in the user’s brain and allows web design and digital art practices to merge. The new wave of strong and dynamic colours is part of the unforgettable web design experience.
Fashion Effects: Asymmetry, Geometric Patterns
Good designers redesign, great designers realign. Instead of using a clear-cut grid, so popular in 2016 – 2017, try to use a “broken” grid. MSDS Studio has transformed page design using a mixed-up order to kindle their user’s interest, however, they don’t forget about logic.
2018 will also see a rise in popularity for creative background patterns that interact with the foreground, whether through harmony or negative space. This interplay between foreground and background creates a visual contrast that allows an immersive internet surfing experience.
Fashion and design often move the same direction and have similar trends. Designers follow their unconscious when it comes to fashion effects, including glitch, morphing, broken geometry, color explosion, and minimalism. Geometric patterns make a website more lively and create a semantic link between the elements.
Stripping away gimmicks and fancy effects and focusing on the design structure results in a more aesthetically pleasing web design and a better UX. frame OPTIK shows us that the key to a beautiful minimalist site is a solid layout and well-designed typography.
Dinner for Five favors the philosophy of minimalism, and the idea that you can’t be everything to everybody. This less-is-more philosophy of craft design makes its website incredibly easy to use and, consequently, very popular among customers.
UX principles are built on physical principles. It seems that people have special internal mechanisms for seeing lines. We may be better at seeing horizontal and vertical lines than oblique lines or circles. If the usual horizontal menu looks boring, don’t be afraid to experiment and place the navigation bar vertically and use unusual fonts. This will give your site a modern feel, as in the case of Shiz.
However, be careful where you apply these creative effects. They will definitely not fit on a public library website, and might turn away more conservative users. Creative menus will work best on business-card websites for artists, designers, photographers, filmmakers and other creative people.
Trends in UX for 2018 and Its Implementation in Web Design
Intriguing technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and voice user interfaces are rapidly developing and improving. Along with them, user behavior is changing and demanding more from UX. Today, to create something progressive and astonishing in web design, you must closely follow new technologies and trends in user experience.
The biggest recent announcement comes from Mozilla: starting right now, Firefox will require HTTPS for all new features built into the browser.
Voice User Interface (VUI)
Voice user interfaces such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri can now understand and act according to complicated voice instructions. Voice user interface design is an emerging key strategic skill for a new generation of web designers. Voice user interface (VUI) designers solve existing problems in new ways that greatly improve life for many individuals. Hugely improved accessibility is the biggest impact that voice user experiences provides.
VUIs allow us to remain fully human in our interactions and remain more connected to other humans in the room. And these VUIs are life-changing for those who can’t easily adapt themselves to traditional computer use. There are many testimonials from customers with physical and cognitive disabilities about how the Amazon Echo Dot speaker has changed their life at home.
In the nearestt future, expect to see websites with their own voice user interfaces, or integrating with existing ones. Voice and image search will explode, digital assistants will become the norm, and mobile search results will become the focus for many businesses.
PWA (Progressive Web Apps)
What if you could give users a deeply engaging experience as soon as they landed on your website, instead of asking them to install a native app? What if they could get a native-like experience directly from the web? In the past few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the quality and capabilities of web apps, and their audiences have became more knowledgeable. An average web platform supports push notifications, placement on the home screen and service-workers technology: they all make your website more stable. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) take advantage of these technologies — they are reliable, fast and allow for deeply engaging experiences on the web.
Progressive Web App is a website with special powers. But don’t let yourself get hung up on the word “app”; “Progressive Web App” is just a marketing term. PWA technology means you can easily save the app to your home screen, read an article when you’re offline or listen to a podcast. The Financial Times and Forbes launched PWA versions of their mobile websites with improved user experience, longer user engagement and more personalization. In Forbes’ case, this led to a 43% increase in the number of users per session and a 100% increase in session duration. Using PWA, visitors stay longer on the website, so they see more advertising.
In fact, Twitter and Lyft have already gone in that direction. Twitter Lite shows what happens if we just add a couple of features that are currently missing on the web, and how much better it can be. Twitter Lite is a huge win for faster and more intuitive web design. Push notifications, in particular, are incredibly important for social sites like this, as re-engagement is crucial to the long-term success of your platform. Install-ability is also important in that regard.
Lyft launched a new mobile website as a Progressive Web App that allowed it to attract users in emerging markets. Instead of making a website as a landing page, Lyft built in the complete feature of their website, just without the install function. After all, the goal isn’t to get users to install an app; rather it’s to get them to use your services.
By building PWA, which helps you engage and retain users who are already coming to your website, you are making the experience of the mobile website radically better. In 2018, PWA will positively impact sites worldwide, and this is great for businesses.
VR has already gone mainstream, and it is important that web designers are ready to take advantage of this new platform. VR has a huge effect on users and is the true evolution of know-how on the Internet. It introduces a shift from the internet of information, services and commerce to the immersive internet of experiences.
According to Google tests, people can spend more than 30 minutes on a VR experience. So user engagement is greater compared to most digital products. This evaluation of web design trends in 2018 shows that we can expect VR to develop beyond video games.
VR as an immersive medium can be used in medicine and education to enhance interaction. The Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles introduced VR to release the stress and reduce pain in chronic patients. VR immerses them in the alternative worlds and helps distract them during medical treatments.
In 2018, we will see a peak in AR development as augmented-reality and mixed-reality devices start to enter the consumer realm. The sphere is seeing new investments from significant players such as Facebook, Snapchat, Weibo, as well as from middle-range and small organisations. The AR Measuring ToolKit for iOS 11, AirMeasure, shows what AR apps are capable of – it helps users measure anything from small distances to faraway points and heights. There are also additional tools that help users calculate a person’s height, preview virtual furniture in a room, add laser levels to a wall or draw in 3D space.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots
Over the years, our communication with chatbots has increased. Thanks to improved artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, those сhatbots have become much smarter.
The new AI technology – which researchers simply call the drawing bot – under development in Microsoft’s research labs can generate images using descriptions in natural language. Image generation also benefits from machine learning algorithms that enable AI to imagine missing parts in the images.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) makes use of technology to connect devices to the internet. Examples of IoT include smart lightbulbs, or handy apps like TrackR that help you track down your lost keys. Websites will definitely use IoT technology. In 2018, expect to see IoT interfaces on websites that allow you to interact with smart devices. A smarter web design will require designers who can look beyond their disciplinary field and who understand the constraints and possibilities at the intersection of digital and physical. The primary challenge today lies in designing a great UX at the level of both an individual device and a unified system.
The “user experience” (UX) is how a human feels when using the interface of a digital product while attempting to accomplish a task or a goal. When producing digital products, we must conduct UX research, redesign, and remarket to keep up with emerging markets and new mental models. That is why, when a new approach is harmful to some users, it’s good to talk about how we can fix those problems without throwing out the progress that’s been made. When trying to bring greater experiences to the web with the new web design trends, we should never forget about the users’ needs.
We have learned some really important lessons and common patterns over a past few years. In 2018, we can continue to work together and create a balance between pushing the boundaries of the web and keeping it open and accessible for everyone.
And the last one: while swimming in the ocean of colors, fonts and realities, try to breathe. We need you to check out these trends during the year and share your thoughts on them.