The year 2017 was very much about micro interactions and web animations, chat bots and conversational interfaces, bespoke illustrations and design sprints. The approach even which rejected the mainstream trends of web design became itself a trend, brutalism. Now, each of these trends will develop in 2018. The co-founder of Clearleft, a pioneering UX consultancy Andy Budd is of the opinion that the fine shift from UX design to that of digital service design will continue and there will be much more interest in this service design field from the digital sector in 2018. Certain trends of web design even originated several months ago which are currently developing and entering the mainstream. Well, let us see the web design trends that can be expected to lead in 2018.
The strategist, teacher and designer Jason Pamental believes that variable fonts would make a great debut in 2018. He asserts that support for variable fonts are growing in a rapid rate at the OS as well as browser level. The big providers are making rapid move for expanding the available typefaces. This is setting a stage for massive change in how one could design for the web. As per Jason’s prediction, there might be even a boost in the way we could design for the context of user. Variable fonts allow tailoring width of character for distinct screen sizes as well as languages for rendering improved line length. It will help to adjust the text grade for individuals in low-light scenarios or with low vision and even the characters ‘optical size’ at physically small sizes for refined readability.
As per the partner of The Banner Years design studio, Brad Weaver, this year would yet see shorter steps in respect to VR and AR. Brad believes that we are just some years away from the first experience of watershed VR. The developer advocate for Samsung, Ada Rose Cannon has seen plenty of content producers to move to WebVR last year. This shift appears to take the advantage of two WebVR features. First, it decreases the hurdles for users for using what you create. The users just need to worry about to put their headset instead of installing a software. Second, as soon as it would be made for single platform, it would operate on new platforms out of box that is handy for fast progress of VR hardware. Ada admits that it is a tradeoff and it is best for small experiences. If one has to download about hundreds of megabytes’ assets before rendering their first frame, then it would be tough to build and even there will not be much advantage to use WebVR.
The biggest trend of last year was Chatbots and voice user interfaces, even called as conversational UIs. At present, AI might not have driven a lot of them but Clearleft CEO and co-founder Andy Budd feels that AI is surely in air. As per his prediction, we might come to see plenty of more articles, case studies and talks on the intersection between AI and UX design. And the intersection would be mostly noticed in robotics field, the utmost ‘headless UI’. For getting ahead of this specific trend, Andy had the pleasure to take twenty technologists, designers, futurists and academics on AI retreat the last September.
Chen Hui Jing, the self-taught designer and developer from Singapore believes that CSS Grid’ official release in 2017 is a milestone in field of web design. As she explains, there has been a control level for the first time over how elements are offered on one web page which was not there before. She further explains that the web is a special medium and it is a high time they confirmed one new normal for it, making it free from trammels of the static print design. This new normal consists of relinquish control of their designs to browsers which offer them instead of engaging constantly in this battle for dictating where each pixel must fall. Well, more than 75% of people who access the web employ a browser which supports the CSS Grid along with other layout properties such as Flexbox and CSS Shapes become more famous. Hui Jing is of the expectation that more creative layouts will launch which use concepts of graphic designs such as vertical and overlap whitespace.
It is a fact that the internet utilizes nearly 10% of the globe’s energy. The environmental impact of it is already 50% larger in comparison to airline industry and it is fostering at a rapid rate. The CEO of Mightybytes which is a digital agency based on Chicago and Designing for Sustainability’s author, Tim Frick asserts his views on it. He explains that the environmental community has taken the lead successfully to pressure large number of tech companies such as Apple, Google as well as Facebook for powering their centers of data with the renewable energy. At almost 3.4MB, the average web page is nearly 400% larger than what it was only seven years before. Billions of web pages are online but they have built a web fulfilled with bloated, slow, esoteric experiences which irritate users and grant significantly to the global carbon emissions globally. However, the design community is in a special position for making vital progress on this matter.
Principles of Sustainable design could and should create a big difference at the level of micro-interaction as well as the global level.
Leonie Watson expects that inclusive design would become more ubiquitous in 2018. As she asserts that the days to make assumptions about why, where and how people are consuming content in their ways are all over. The requirement of inclusion is now pervasive. Heydon Pickering is the author of Inclusive Design Patterns, consultant of freelance web accessibility and interface designer. He is happy to see inclusive design emerging as a trend since he has been trying to make it a topic to discuss and more mainstream practice.
While inclusive and sustainable designs are predictive of a wide movement in web design, ethics are turning to be more significant. The designer at IBM Design, Lara Hanlon says that the apps are mostly designed for interrupting, distracting or encouraging digital addiction that could have substantial consequences including poise increase of depression and anxiety among the today’s teenagers. The co-founder of a digital studio Hactar, Andy Beaumont agrees to the point that to move fast and break things may appear like a fun for sometime but many people who work in digital started to notice that these are actually breaking people. Howeber, evil powers which digital designers employ could even be utilized for good.
The chief creative officer at Edenspiekermann, Paul Woods believes that no more the design is only about screens. As per his suggestions, the screens would become smaller day by day and designers would have to extent their toolbox for encompassing a non-visual skill-set. Future UX designers have to understand the way to create excellent voice-powered interfaces as it would become an ever-increasing need. Rarely Impossible’s managing director agrees that voice experiences would take a major amount of time and complete duties of everyday in the coming days for their time-saving advantage. They have found in one of their voice experiments drop off of about 20 to 30% engagement by adding only two extra words to the response of a three-word sentence.
Brad Weaver, the product designer predicts that the homepage could die finally in this year. As per his anticipation, maximum new websites from the forward-thinking brands which will be seen this year would progress further away from a customary homepage and bring about more enterprising entry points. People can expect to enjoy more customized experience while visiting websites on the basis of your location, history as well as big data profile. Well, Brad believes that the definition of website is one of the biggest changes itself. With evolve of mobile apps, social profiles and conversational interfaces, a website as a shopping experience or brochure is changing. Plenty of websites are becoming nucleus for disparate information pieces and people might see a real innovation this year on how organization and consumption of information is done in a central space.
Chris Gannon, the interactive designer says that animation could play a big part to make interfaces and ideas easy to understand. In this hurry world where time is really short, animation can play a good part in conveying complex ideas in a short time and at the same time will inform and engage users. The senior digital designer of Lightful, Bruno La Versa says that old and new brands are operating on personality and storytelling for capturing users’ attention and here, animations are beginning to play a major role. He further exclaims that web animation will continue to represent the strength of the brand in digital world, offering a rigid personality to the brand and making it more dynamic and less static.
Well, all the trends for web design in 2018 are designed in making a refined user experience. The important thing to consider is that web design in modern time is no more focused on websites, no matter whether they are accessed on desktop or mobile. Now, the designers have to regard a big picture to make vital decision on which trends to follow, from where to take the inspiration and what types of methods to apply on the basis of how much it affects the brand as well as the experience as a whole.