Web design is not just about making sites look aesthetically pleasing to the eye – it is also about creating interfaces that perform vital functions, and serve visitors in a way that is seamless and useful. This means that web designers cannot simply work in a bubble; they need to be aware of broader trends influencing how current users expect websites to look, feel and function. Here are some of the largest and most popular changes currently taking place on the internet.
- 1. Voice Chat
Customer service chatbots are conversational interfaces that make you think you’re talking to a real person, when you’re actually communicating with a computer program. They have been utilized by businesses since the early 2000’s. Right now, most chatbots are mainly just a fun and user-friendly method for filling in web forms. However, when combined with voice recognition technologies, it has become increasingly possible to actually converse with chatbots. For instance, last year Google revealed that an astonishing 20 per cent of mobile enquiries were made by voice.
In some cases, chatbots come across as intrusive and somewhat annoying for customers. For e-commerce sites in particular, however, they are likely to become increasingly necessary to drive vital conversions and sales. With Amazon, Apple and Google all feverishly developing their own voice UIs, not to mention mass-market conversation devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, they are likely going to become increasingly accurate and useful.
- 2. Streaming
Streaming is rapidly taking over and replacing broadcast and cable television. Netflix currently makes up more than 30% of home entertainment revenue in the US; not to mention that streaming music, led by Spotify, has surpassed physical music revenue. Web giants are actively trying to nudge out broadcast TV when it comes to live streaming video. Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are all competing to acquire large deals with companies for advertising.
Because of this, downloads, broadcast and cable TV are dying, and the future is firmly fixed on online streaming.
- 3. Ads
Remember of thinking we could make a living from our blog, simply by putting up a few ads on it? Those days seem to be numbered, even for large media companies. As the overall supply of ad space has increased, more programmatic ad systems have driven the price down across the board, making passive revenue almost impossible. Ad blocking services are also killing online free media. As a result, many newspapers are now utilizing pay-walls, or ending each article with a letter begging for donations.
- 4. Content Skimming
Users increasingly prefer to skim content; therefore, it is recommended that you design your website content for skimming purposes. Research has shown that a staggering amount of people who share content on Facebook and Twitter don’t actually look at the content – they just glance over the headlines.
With this in mind, most likely you cannot rely on people reading your website’s content from cover to cover. Take this fundamental truth into account when brainstorming ideas for headlines, and make it your goal to pull them into the actual meat of your content.
Florin A. is an promotion expert with deep knowledge using client information and data to develop and produce alternatives that achieve wonderful client experience and professional advantage. All images are author owned!