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    Web development trends: 2018 in review

    by James Holloway Partnership Director

    2018 is almost over and what a year it has been. The web development industry has seen continued advancements and emerging trends this year, ending notably on the release of the highly anticipated WordPress 5.0. Here are some top web development trends we’ve noticed throughout 2018 and a few to watch out for in 2019.


    2018 brought more popularity to online support through chatbots to improve and automate customer service. By 2020, Gartner predicts that 85% of customer interactions will happen without a human on the business end. The evidence also shows that consumers will drive this change, with 43% already preferring to contact a company via live chat over other methods.

    Push notifications

    Push notifications have become far more prominent over the past year, with many sites incorporating them into their designs. Click-rates of push notifications have been increasing on iOS devices since 2016 showing that consumers are engaging more with them, perhaps due to the rise in brands personalising their push notifications. Proceed with caution though, they should always add value to users and overusing them can lead to users becoming irritated.

    If you are wanting to incorporate push notifications into your web marketing strategy, WordPress (unsurprisingly) have plugins that you can use, e.g. OneSignal.

    Modular design

    The concept of developing web pages using content blocks to display information. This approach makes development more visual and simpler particularly for those without much coding knowledge and can result in fast development time, meaning the end product will be cheaper while remaining of high quality.

    This is one of the most prominent web development trends of the year and includes WordPress’ Gutenberg editor (see here for more information) which was introduced this year as part of the WordPress 5.0 release.

    Voice search optimisation

    Voice search is becoming more and more popular, with Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant and Alexa taking the reins. Currently, 2 in 5 people say that voice-activated devices are essential to their lives and it is predicted that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. As adoption of voice search is growing, it is essential to optimise for it now to avoid falling behind.

    People speak differently to how they talk so keep this in mind when determining keywords.

    Progressive Web Apps

    A Progressive Web App delivers an app-like experience to users.  The aim is to combine benefits of desktop and mobile devices and create a seamless user experience so that the user cannot tell the difference between that and a standard mobile app. Before 2018, only a few publishers and eCommerce providers had adopted progressive web apps but it is

    Motion UI

    2018 has seen an increase in the use of Motion UI as an attempt to capture the attention of web visitors. Motion UI is an Sass library that is used to create CSS transitions and animations easily, enabling developers to animate elements and seamlessly integrate them into their website. The human attention span is getting shorter, and has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds. When used appropriately, motion UI can better engage viewers and improve conversion rate, but be careful not to overdo it and clutter your web pages.

    It is likely you will see more of these as attention spans continue to suffer.

    Into the future: expected web development trends of 2019…

    • Continuing to address the declining human attention spans, video backgrounds will still be popular going into 2019. Videos are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and result in visitors spending more time on your page when used on landing pages.
    • Increased use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an idea from Twitter and Google aimed to create faster mobile pages. These lightweight HTML pages, designed to be heavily cached for fast loading, will address the frustration that users feel when presented with slow-loading pages.
    • The rise of one-page websites – web development in 2019 will centre around speed and convenience. People don’t like to have to search for information so keep it simple and make it easy for the user to navigate through information.

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