Since its inception, the web has consistently evolved. The early days of Mosaic and Netscape Navigator helped popularize the internet, and, since then, every year has brought new concepts, ideas, and trends – some good and some bad.
One important lesson learned from all of those years of changes and trends is that success is often related to riding the wave of change rather than following in its wake. You can do that by exploring the trends of tomorrow and then looking to incorporate those that apply to you before everyone else does.
So, without further ado, here are eight web development trends that should have the most considerable overall impact on the industry in 2018:
Improved Online Support
Being connected to users is more important than ever. Chatbots, those computer programs that have conversations with us via text or auditory messages, allow a website to have a 24/7 contact point without maintaining a 24-hour customer service department.
The evolution of chatbots has led to them being able to do things like answering common questions, directing people to information and pages, or even knowing how to complete a transaction.
As consumers become more comfortable with the idea of a chatbot along with how to interact with them, the expectations for every site having them will increase.
Progressive Web Apps
A recent study about mobile usage found that mobile apps account for 89% of total mobile media time. It makes sense then that utilizing a similar format to mobile apps would be well-received by target audiences.
Progressive web apps are web applications that can appear to users like mobile applications but are actually web pages or websites. They take advantage of the host of features on web browsers but deliver an app-like user experience.
This technology has numerous benefits, such as the ability to work offline, near-instant loading (as much of the information is stored in the cache), reliability, and the ability to receive push notifications.
Such apps can be built in less time, they can work for any user, and are generally easier to deploy and maintain, all of which are beneficial to developers and consumers alike.
Push Notification With Websites
One of the most powerful mobile app tools is push notifications. The ability to send direct information to a user who provides value has proven to be extremely popular with everything from traffic changes, sports scores, or notifications about sales.
This type of communication works on websites as well once a user enables push notifications. The benefits are higher engagement without the additional cost of creating a mobile app to replace a website.
The single-page website trend found its footing this year and should continue to become more common. This design is one long webpage, and navigation is based on scrolling or using links that jump up or down the page to a particular section.
The biggest advantage of this type of website is simplicity. There is no complex navigation or deep menu to traverse, and the design works well on mobile devices, where scrolling is a standard navigation method. This style provides a modern solution to simple online needs and is inexpensive to develop and host.
A static website is very basic. Each page is simply coded using HTML and displays the same fixed or static content to every user. Why would people want to effectively take a step or three backward regarding web technology and options? Simplicity.
These websites are safe, load quickly, and can be cheaply made. Static websites should see a resurgence in use for cost-conscious projects, as they are miles ahead of the original static websites from the web’s infancy but not nearly as dull or labor-intensive to create.
Motion User Interface
Interfaces have been a top concern for developers for years. Even the best-looking design can be pointless if you can’t find the necessary information. Initially designed for mobile apps, a mobile user interface allows the use of animations and transitions to help alert users to actions or important components, along with adding life and style to a project.
This technology offers a high degree of customization, offering a developer many options to choose from when crafting a highly functional and stunning site. Anything from easing in, overlay, cloning, obscuration, and parallax, to parenting, dimensionality, and offset delay can be employed to create stunning transition and animation effects.
Phasing Out Flash
Flash was a very exciting component for websites allowing animation and other motion aspects. While it’s seen frequent use over the years, it is now something that everyone should look to phase out.
Adobe announced this year that the Flash Player would no longer be updated or distributed after 2020. Additionally, it is incompatible with most types of mobile devices. Rather than losing out on web traffic, especially on your mobile site, you should replace any Flash with HTML5, which is quickly becoming the most common, universal format on the web.
The value of a good photo has never been higher in web development, primarily because a good photo can help spur conversions. This concept is not new, as during the heyday of print magazines, great product photos were in high demand to help create conversations simply based on the story an image told. Unique pictures and photos showing individuality while conveying information will be essential to online success in 2018.
The bottom line is that trends will come and go, spurred by the evolution of our technology. These developments can be utilized to both entice and engage new and existing users when applied optimally. That is why it is important to look to the future now for ideas and inspiration so that you can stay ahead of the competition.
Originally published on Forbes.