Products, aesthetics, and technology are always changing. Trends come and go, and the Internet is always looking different. Shaunacy Ferro writes ‘when you’re creating something for the web or mobile devices, it’s not going to stay the same for very long.’
The Wayback Machine provides evidence of this. Search for a website design in the year 2000, and then see what it looks like now. You don’t even need to search back 10 or 20 years to see major web design changes. Popular website designs are continuously evolving, and look different every year.
As 2019 is just around the corner, let’s talk about the user experience trends we expect to see within the next 12 months.
A deeper understanding of user experience
Many people have heard of the term user experience, and even use it in their daily conversations. They may not however, understand exactly what it means. User experience (or in simple terms UX), is often perceived as a trendy buzzword.
This doesn’t detract from its importance, however. User experience is a fundamental necessity for all Internet users. If you have ever complained that a website is difficult to use, you were complaining about poor user experience. We rely on websites to do so much for us – banking, holiday bookings, finding new clients, and communicating in emergencies.
When a website works well, we hardly even realise it. But when a site doesn’t help us achieve our goals, is frustratingly slow, or doesn’t have the information we need – we notice this.
The first trend in UX design for 2019, is a deep understanding of what UX is, AND how important it is. Mumbrella defines user experience as a customer or user’s ‘experience with a specific digital touchpoint – usually a website, app or piece of software.’
Web designers are increasing their knowledge and skills in user experience. Business owners are increasingly valuing websites that actually work, and function seamlessly for all users. Web design agencies frequently promote themselves, by saying they ‘build websites that work’. They know that this is what their clients really want.
A broader definition of inclusive design
Inclusive, or accessible web design, usually refers to designs that support users with disabilities. Web designers may choose a colour scheme that allows people with colour blindness the same user experience as those that don’t.
In 2019, inclusive design will be more supportive of people with cognitive differences. Many people suffer from depression and anxiety. As a result, they have difficulty following instructions, or staying focused on a task. Great user experience will support people in achieving their goals, without becoming stressed or distracted.
As a business owner, you need your customers to complete tasks on your website. This could be completing a form, signing up to a newsletter, making a phone call, or making a purchase. Supporting users of your website to complete these tasks, is in your business’s best interest.
Unfortunately, many websites are overly distracting. The designers incorrectly believe they need to over stimulate and overwhelm their prospective customers. Sign up forms jump out everywhere, a single page has multiple free resources, and too many deals are offered.
Many consumers don’t feel enticed by overstimulating web pages. Distraction and overwhelm set in, and cause them to click away, either intentionally or unintentionally. Web designers can improve user experience in their designs, by considering the cognitive abilities of website visitors.
Make forms simple to use, without the need for instructions. Place contact details prominently, and offer multiple methods of contact. Some people prefer to talk to somebody in person or over the phone. For other people, this makes them nervous so they prefer to send emails.
User experience is about helping users achieve their goals, effortlessly. Provide simple solutions and a few different options (but not too many), and your website will be better at meeting people’s needs.
Websites will support voice search better
Android mobile and tablet devices have improved voice search capabilities, and more people are using voice activated devices like Google Home. Improvements in voice recognition technology, means that more consumers will be searching for things they need by voice.
User experience specialists are starting to consider how users will interact with their websites by using this technology. Currently, users can search for answers to questions on Google, and find out facts using voice. The results are delivered to them, without them even seeing the web page that provided the information.
Web designers are now building websites that encourage Google to use their information in search results. By providing great content and answers to questions, Google may consider your website as an authority. Provide accurate and helpful information, and an efficient user experience can be delivered without the user visiting your website at all.
As web users become comfortable with searching by voice, new technologies will allow them to navigate and interact with websites by voice. Voice to text can already be used for filling out forms, including contact forms. Web design agencies will be thinking about how this impacts user experience.
Video will be integrated better into websites
Web users and web design companies already recognise that video is becoming important on the Internet. Many businesses are jumping onboard this trend, because it will not go away. They are creating promotional and instructional videos, and videos just for entertainment. These are published and shared on YouTube, social media, and on their own websites.
LinkedIn has seen many professionals jump onboard the video trend, creating their own videos using mobile devices. The enthusiasm for video is evident, but 2019 will see an increase in the quality of videos that are published.
People will think more about the purpose of their online videos. Web design experts and user experience specialists will think more about video integration. To achieve user experience success, videos need to be helpful and accessible.
Website videos and animations should not be too distracting, and they should integrate well within the rest of the website. Website visitors should know exactly what a video is about before they press play. They should have a choice about whether they watch it or not, and have easy control over volume levels.
Many years ago, the latest trend was adding background music that automatically played when a visitor landed on a website. At the time, it seemed technically advanced and creative, but most website users were not impressed. If a computer’s speakers were set too loud, unexpected music was a shock.
Today, videos that automatically play, can be just as unwanted. With so many people accessing the Internet via mobile phones in public places, loud audio tracks can be socially unacceptable. A user experience designer’s job, is to make life easier for website users, not make their lives more difficult or uncomfortable.
Talk to a team that understand user experience
Design Point is a digital agency in Melbourne. We build websites, but most importantly we build brands. Our websites don’t only function, they attract visitors who are genuinely interested in the products and services. Our custom web design layouts also offer impressive user experience.
Talk to us about your web design needs in 2019. If you are looking for a web design Melbourne agency, please contact us to have a chat.