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Meredith Dunn
By Meredith Dunn

Meredith is a BECK Digital enthusiast with a weak spot for business planning, full cycle digital marketing and killer content.



Websites have changed a lot in the past 10 years. Who remembers glossy buttons, HTML frames and Flash? Yikes. And it’s hard to remember a time when we couldn’t access websites on our smartphones.

Everchanging online trends can keep web designers and developers (and users!) on their toes. And staying on top of current web design trends is absolutely critical to your business and online success, as well.

A site that looks good today is often outdated by tomorrow, and when your website falls behind current trends, it sends a message to your customers that you aren’t keeping up. An outdated site can make users wonder if your product or service will meet today’s standards, or if it, too, will lag behind your competition.

With this in mind, check out these four important web design trends we’re seeing in 2018.


1. Mobile first

If you’ve so much as dipped your toes in the world of web design, you know that responsive design is absolutely essential to the success of a website nowadays.

But mobile-first design goes even further than traditional responsive design. Responsive web designs are built to automatically adapt to fit device screens of all sizes. Mobile-first design is a design strategy to that prioritizes mobile use before desktop designs are even considered.

This may seem counterintuitive, but with statistics showing that more than half of all web traffic originates from mobile devices, it makes sense to design for mobile users first.

The idea is that once a site is designed for mobile, it’s easier to adapt that design to other devices. If your site is strong on mobile, it can be built to be strong on tablet and desktop, too.

Airbnb is a great example of mobile-first design. The mobile site is optimized for smartphone users and clearly hits it out of the park with smooth user interface design, easy functionality and intuitive navigation.

Mobile website:

Via mockplus.com

Desktop website:

Via Airbnb


2. Animation

Gone are the days when animation was restricted by unsupportive browsers and limited mobile capability. In 2018, animations are the norm.

Via Adidas

Animations work well to create involved experiences for visitors. Just as an image is more visually appealing than text, animation (in moderation) is more engaging than a static image.

Smaller animations, like the one shown below, are useful in keeping the user visually interested while navigating a web page.

Via Zendesk

The use of animation in web design has numerous benefits. It’s been shown to reduce bounce rates, meaning visitors stay on your site longer, and it encourages more shares and revisits to your site.


3. Live chat/Chatbots

In 2018 it’s become common for businesses to feature live chat options providing users with immediate online help that goes beyond calling or emailing customer service.

Larger businesses like Nordstrom and Shopify hire dedicated employees to answer questions and resolve customer care issues on the spot, as seen below. With live chat, questions from customers are met with responses from real employees. In some cases, bots can even be programmed to answer FAQs when agents are away.



Via Nordstrom

Some businesses prefer not to dedicate real-time employees to live chat messaging, whether due to resources, budget or simply preference. But that doesn’t mean businesses have to miss out on the trend!

Chatbots, like the Starbucks bot you see below, are convenient solutions that provide users with services or answers to common questions without requiring a live chat team.

In a particularly creative use of chatbot, Starbucks’ bot within the mobile app allows users to place orders instantly and gives them information such as price and estimated wait time.

Via Topbots.com

Chatbots are quickly growing in popularity due to the personalized and quality experience they can provide. In fact, Business Insider reports that 80% of all businesses want Chatbots by 2020!

Platforms like MobileMonkey, MEOKAY, and Botsify make it easy for businesses to set up chatbots for their websites with minimal development effort. Here’s a list of the top 10 best chatbot platform tools for your business.


4. Bright colors and vivid gradients

Web designers are getting bolder in their color schemes.

This is partially due to higher quality device screens that can now produce vibrant, visually appealing colors, and partially due to designers turning to unconventional color schemes to attract attention stand out among the competition.

Via Adobe

Gradients are also making a comeback, as seen in the well-known Instagram logo.

Via Instagram

There are a few reasons why gradients are rising out of the ashes of the 1990’s and regaining popularity in 2018.

We see more gradients in real life than we do flat colors, like multicolor fall leaves or a transitional sky. Gradients create depth and the illusion of three dimensional elements, making color really pop on a device screen.

This makes gradients the more compelling and realistic option in web design. The Instagram logo above is reminiscent of a live sunset or light shining on a surface.



Via Elje Group

If bright colors and gradients don’t match your business, image and personality, it’s best to avoid them rather than follow a trend. However, if it makes sense for your brand and audience, allow your web designers to have a little fun.  

Conclusion

When is the last time you redesigned your website? By industry standard, a redesign is recommended every three years in order to keep your site fresh and on-pace with the rapidly changing nature of websites and technology. Try out one of these trends and you’ll be on the right track.



If your website isn’t keeping up with the times, check out our web design services! BECK Digital’s talented team of experienced designers and developers would be happy to incorporate the latest trends while ensuring excellent online functionality.


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