Top 10 website development trends in 2021

Now that the year is coming to an end, what were the top 10 website development trends in 2021? What design, copy or media elements defined the year or maintained their dominance? If you’re pressed for time, we see the standout trends as:

  1. COVID-19 policies & procedures pages become standard practice.
  2. Artificial Intelligence and bots help with UX and customer service.
  3. Single Page Application (SPA) sites increase in popularity.
  4. Mobile-first development is now the norm but watch out for Apple users.
  5. Serverless applications and architecture enable remote working.
  6. Product test automation reduces development costs.
  7. Motion UI harnessed to funnel users through the journey.
  8. IoT dominates the boardroom with web crossover.
  9. Content optimised for voice search first.
  10. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) plugin saves dev costs.

We’ll sort them into the three key development areas of mobile-first, pandemic related and UX inspired trends and provide a bit more flavour to their emergence below.

Mobile-first trends

More than half of all internet traffic is mobile now. We don’t even need to link you to the reports, intuitively you know. Chances are your own browsing habits have migrated to mostly mobile in recent years. So, it’s obvious that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Mobile-First Development and Single Page Application (SPA) are leading the charge in design for phones. We expect these trends to continue with good web development focused on near-instant mobile load speeds, rapid conversion and streamlined UI. Lastly, recent changes by Apple on user privacy rules on their devices have changed a lot about what can be tracked now. Essentially not much is passed on to advertisers, websites and merchants any longer, so it’s a space to watch as well.

Pandemic-related

Privately and in the corporate world, COVID has changed our lives forever. Safety precautions are now listed on nearly every website and our work from home directives have informed tech. AWS (AWS Lambda), Google Cloud (Google Functions) and Microsoft Azure (Azure Functions) lead the charge on serverless computing allowing commerce and business to continue uninterrupted. And collaboration service partners like Cisco are already thinking about syncing their tech with any return to the office with IoT devices like the Cisco Webex Board. We’ve also cut out unnecessary costs in support through automation and bots to help with testing and customer service.

UX-focused

Artificial Intelligence and bots now dominate the first-touch response for many businesses. They help direct users to resources or manage workflows for service departments. But design is contributing to the user experience too. According to InVision, “motion helps make UIs expressive and easy to use, it’s one of the newer members of the UI design family.” But with new, vast SASS libraries, that’s becoming less of a concern. Lastly, all content is slowly becoming optimised for natural language as sites compete for ‘position zero’ across search engines and home devices. Want Alexa or Google Home to read your content as a result? You’ll need to write for a natural voice response.

Want to talk about design, UX or anything else on the internet? Our expert team is standing by.

How to Choose Good Images for Website Sales Conversions

The type of images you choose could be reducing your sales figures. Yes, that’s right! People respond to images in different ways and picking the wrong ones could put customers off your product. And it’s not just that. You could be reducing your overall web traffic if you don’t have any images. According to Jeff Bullas, “Articles with images get 94% more total views.” That’s a huge difference in traffic. But having good quality images will make a huge positive impact. So, if you’re wondering how to choose good images for website sales conversions, consider the following:

 

  1. Skip the cheezy, staged stock photos.
  2. Show real people having an emotion.
  3. Don’t just go with what you like, test it!
  4. Use the best quality and clarity image you can.
  5. Make it relevant to the content and true to the brand.

 

Ban cheesy stock

You know the ones. A comedically overstressed worker pulling at his hair, a frazzled housewife surrounded by messy toys or a smiling ethnically ambiguous woman clutching a shopping bag; these don’t really say anything new. Think about communicating a unique message. Look for photos that jump off the page at you. Scroll past any you feel you’ve seen before. There are loads of options for great free stock photos like Unsplash and Pixabay.

Show real emotion

People buy from people. Try to use human faces or human body parts wherever you can. This will help your visitor imagine themselves using your product or service. Try to show them what they’ll feel when you solve their problem. Oh and it never hurts if the people in your images resemble your target audience too.

Test, test, test

Often, people just pick an image they like and go with it. They never actually stop to think if this image will resonate with the customer. One way to test this is to have multiple versions of the same landing page with different images. Keep the one that performs the best. Do this with every page on your site for the best results.

Clear, high quality

Even if you find the ‘perfect’ image, don’t bother with it if the resolution and quality are low. Today’s modern consumers are used to crisp, crystal imagery. Think of all the perfectly filtered Instagram images they scroll past each day. A poor quality image will do more harm than good. Just don’t chance it. Source another image.

Totally relevant

Not only should the image be relevant to the topic discussed within that element or article, but the brand should factor too. Think about your brand colours and values. If you’re a bright and fun brand you shouldn’t select dark-background imagery for example. There’s a visual disconnect there between the image and the overall page. They need to marry up.

 

Images are very important to design and sales performance. But if you want more tips on how to improve your website SEO overall, check out our previous article.