How old is your current website? If it's older than 3 years, you and your team should do a top-to-bottom review. Look for outdated content, missing services, old photos, lack of photos or images, broken links, etc. This gives you a good start on improving the site.
That sounds like a no-brainer, but I've known more than a few clients who have slapped up a templated site using free software with predictably ineffective results. You don't want your website to look like it was designed by amateurs. Unless you have coding and design skills, partner with a firm that specializes in creating professional websites.
Performance, and specifically Mobile Performance is the Buzzword. Last year mobile usage overtook desktop browsing in the race for digital space. Next year, we will see innovations fully utilize mobile functionality never seen on desktop browsers. Speed, Security, easy navigation and conversational bots will be trends that no company having an online presence can ignore.
To go along with the minimalistic styles of 2018, Typography as a design-element will be taking center-stage. Already we’re seeing colorful, playful, and artistic fonts taking the place of images. For mobile in particular, this makes a lot of sense. Unlike images, which add weight to a page, scaling size to your typography doesn’t impact performance. Eliminating images and relying on expressive typography creates cleaner lines with more negative space — so logos and calls-to-action really pop on-page.
Scrolled animation triggers are not new; however, in 2018 we’re using them differently. Just like with cinemagraphs, we’re no longer creating animation simply for flash and flare. We’re using them for a purpose. Here is a website with a great example of a scroll triggered animation done right. These animations will be strategic and minimalist, designed for the purpose of increasing engagement and conversions. The animation entices the user to keep scrolling, drawing them down the funnel to the conversion-point, while also educating them about the product.
Apps account for 85% of Media Time. Many designers, recognizing the popularity of mobile apps, have begin developing a blend of traditional app behaviors with web page behaviors. This website-app hybrid is called a Progressive Web App. As we enter the development space of progressive web apps, we’ll see a trend in upgrading the functionality of websites to include things like push notifications, splash screens, offline mode, and animated page transitions. Websites like Twitter, Washington Post, and Medium have already created progressive web apps, easily accessible with just one click.
As we begin blending traditional apps and web pages together, sites will be able to take on the more advanced functionality of apps. As stated above, this will undoubtedly include a push towards using voice search, heuristic bots, and natural language processing. All of this is becoming possible, again, due to the shift towards mobile browsing and the feature rich platform it delivers. Intelligent Conversational Bots may be implemented in dozens of creative ways. For example, they could be programed into a Q&A page–or as a core on any page–allowing people to verbally ask questions instead of scrolling through a fixed list.
We can’t ignore the relevance of cultural shifts in our design trends. In 2017, malicious hacking became an even bigger issue. Malware was bad enough — but the Ransomware outbreak is a thousand times worse. They lock up every file on your computer, every picture of your family, and it’s all encrypted, and you have to pay ransom to get the key. In 2018, trust is going to be a major concern of users who visit your web pages. Can they trust your download, they can even trust your contact form? Is there email and other personal information secure? Will your website infect their computer? Using HTTPS to protect confidential online transactions like online banking and online shopping order forms is the standard today, but given the rapid expansion of ransomware and malware, soon users will expect a secure experience and a trusted certificate on any webpage they visit and interact with.
Search engine optimization (SEO) makes it easy for patients and prospects to find your website. There's no sense in designing a new website if it turns up on page 22 when people search for it. You need your website to consistently turn up high in search rankings. Again, work with a professional firm that specializes in this area.