It has been 27 years since the first website was made in the month of August 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee. The website contained information regarding the World Wide Web Project and instructions and guidelines on how to make web pages on the world wide web.
In the time which spans to over a quarter of a century, the world wide web and the websites that can be viewed and accessed on it collectively have been able to change humanity. The popularization of websites has managed to change the way we work, the way we communicate and socialize and of course, even the way we procrastinate. In the past decade, websites have been an integral part of any business. The digitalization of businesses through websites has impacted the way we do business. It has strengthened some industries, created new ones and changed the shape of the overall economy. Currently, the richest man in the world is Jeff Bezos and his massive net worth started with a website that sold books on the internet named Amazon.
Ever since the first website was made, these websites not only reshaped the economy, they have evolved themselves. In the present day, the world has become so dependent on websites that it needs to constantly evolve and change along with the change in human perception. It has come to a point where business organizations are making websites with artificial intelligence that tailors the website to the need of individual viewer or customer. Thus, the same website is different for different people. This trait is highly prevalent in websites that operate to drive and generate sales.
Web building platforms and frameworks or CMS (Content Management Systems) such as WordPress, Magento and others are dishing out improvements and updates almost every day, CMS builders like Wix and Squarespace are making web designing so accessible and easy that even a child can now make a basic website in a matter of minutes, an ordeal that took extensive knowledge of coding and hours and hours of time just 5 years back. This growth and evolution will only accelerate in the days to come.
From a business standpoint, the look of a website is just as important as the content it presents to the viewers as well as its functionalities. Thus, the future trend of websites can be effectively divided into two major categories, Design Trends, and Functional Trends.
Design Trends of Websites
Responsive Design: In the current day and age people are moving away from desktop computers to more portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. Data shows that more than 60% of the visitors to any website view these sites on a portable device. Therefore, designs trends in the future will focus more on making websites smartphone friendly. This means the site has to be light and fast as well as support viewing resolutions of hundreds of different types portable devices. The future of websites is a responsive one where the design will alter itself to suit the screen the viewer is using.
One Page Websites: Design trends these days are shifting towards one-page sites, especially service-oriented websites. Presenting all the information in a single page saves the customer the hassle of opening different pages for different services and burn through their data. This saves time as well and makes the website faster to load and more user-friendly.
Minimalistic UX/UI: Service-oriented and organizational websites are moving towards a minimalistic approach in the user interface. Keeping things easy and simple to understand and giving their site a cleaner makes the user experience much more favorable because less is more.
Readable and Easily Scannable Fonts: As most users view websites on smaller screens on portable devices, the content on the site needs to be readable. Using easily readable fonts is the key to making a well-designed website. This was the philosophy behind moving to Sans Fonts from Sans Serif Fonts. Sans fonts are just much cleaner.
A Mobile First Approach: It is an already established fact that mobile users generate more than half of the traffic on a website. That trend is only going to increase in time thanks to the leapfrog booming of mobile technology in developing countries. A generation of young people are always online through their smartphones and use them as their primary tool to access web pages.
A mobile first approach will be critical to search rankings soon. Google has already started rolling out its new mobile-first index, which will eventually rank and display sites based on the mobile-readiness of a website. Google has also created Accelerated Mobile Pages(AMP) functionality for WordPress websites that create faster loading versions of existing pages to meet the demands of mobile users.
Developers and designers are already taking this into account to get ready for the future because it only makes sense to do so. It is also good for business.
Content is Key: Content is the most important driving factor for any website. Using attractive and more importantly, high quality relatable content for viewers and customers is the always more effective is attracting their attention.
Recent trend shows that video content is the most readily consumed and effective type of content for driving engagement. People spend billions of hours every day on just YouTube consuming video content and has been proven most effective in driving sales than other forms of content.
Websites are Becoming more ‘Human’: The future of websites is going to a place where these web pages will offer humanlike interactions. Websites are becoming less of websites and more of ‘Smart Sites’. The trend is to tell stories and emulate an emotional connection with the customer rather than just pushing robotic content towards them.
The Age of Artificial Intelligence: Users around the world are becoming smarter and more advanced. With the recent boom in the use of ‘Mobile Assistance’ and ‘Home Assistance’ technology more people are using artificial intelligence such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to do tasks, including looking for and reading content. Web content strategy will need to be ready, as “artificial” audiences may not pick up on the subtleties of visual cues such as images, colors or video. Therefore, the language use will need to precise and conversational for these AI powered assistants to deem relatable.
Advanced Marketing Automation: The future websites will be equipped with Marketing Automation (MA). Marketing Automation is already a big trend and will continue to make advancements in automated systems for collecting data, integrating it into a website, and communicating with customers. Marketing Automation programs will enable and accelerate the personalization of website content based on the customer data and customer behavior. Websites will be tailored to meet the individual customer’s needs, offering solutions to them that are more relatable for that individual customer.
Chatbots: Chatbots are increasingly becoming an integral part of any service or sale-oriented website. These chatbots help cater to the customer’s queries and even generate sales. They answer customer queries based on ‘Keywords’ and predetermined answers. They connect the website to social media and some advanced chatbots even drives sales from the customer’s social media personal inbox. These chatbots are like your digital door-to-door salesperson.
It is quite clear that the future of websites is wherever the viewer/content consumer/customer takes it. It is less about what should be shown to the customer and more about what the customer wants to see and experience and future website will know exactly how to do that. Future websites will offer a different experience to every single visitor because that is where the future lies.