The history of web design tells us that things change … customers' expectations, technological advances, and competitive demands. To match those changes, the web design industry has gone through a necessary evolution over the last 20 years.
Early websites were almost purely text-based and were used exclusively for informational purposes. By the late 1990s, websites were slowly integrating graphics and began using a sectional approach, dividing the page into various sections dedicated to different areas of information.
Today, web designers have many more tools at their disposal and freedom to creatively design great looking ecommerce sites that enhance brand image, create customer engagement, and ultimately result in continuing success. Take a look at the following ecommerce web design trends to follow in 2018:
IoT – As 2018 rolls on, web designers are going to have to come to grips with the fact that everything from refrigerators to vacuum cleaners and virtually anything in-between are going to be "smart." Therefore, talented webmasters will need to incorporate IoT interaction into the feature list for many sites. Amazon has taken the lead in this area by making common household items easy to reorder with their Dash button.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI is coming to rapidly change and improve just about every industry in the global marketplace. Look for many more websites to use AI as a way of getting to know the customer better. The more you know about the customer's likes, dislikes, and past web interactions, the more immersive and intuitive your website becomes.
As credit cards have become more sophisticated, fraudsters have moved online. As a result of heightened security, false declines of legitimate transactions cost merchants an estimated $118 billion per year. Artificial intelligence allows payment networks and their merchants the ability to quickly and accurately approve transactions, reducing false declines.
Virtual Reality (VR) – Not long ago, developers were introducing video as a must-have for a truly interactive user experience. In 2018, web designers should be ready to take that one step further, and use VR as a way of expressing the cutting-edge culture of their brand.
Home goods and fashion retailers are quickly adopting virtual reality as a means for consumers to preview designs in their living room or in their closet mirror.
Minimalism – Minimalistic web design will remain key in 2018. Customers still favor simplicity and usability over complexity and artistic genius. In short, the more you can accomplish with less is still going to be popular in 2018 and beyond.
Most importantly, as mobile commerce overtakes desktop, fast load times and fewer clicks will separate successful ecommerce sites from the rest of the pack.
Security – It doesn't matter if a website has won a bazillion awards, is loved by all their customers, and is the envy of the entire industry … if it's not secure. All it takes is one damaging attack to prevent customers from ever wanting to click on their website again.
It is now expected that ecommerce sites have SSL certificates and Google is rewarding sites for making the change. That not only provides a layer of protection for ecommerce sites from hackers, it is important to SEO.
Animation – In previous years, animation was seen as an annoying, distracting, load-time hog. However, animation is like almost anything else in life … it's about balance. In other words, the occasional double cheeseburger and fries can be extremely satisfying, but too much of it can be uncomfortable and flat-out deadly. Similarly, the occasional animated logo on a clean, flat webpage can be very effective, but dancing hamsters and psychotic kittens on every square inch of available real estate are a big problem.
Ultimately, expect 2018 to be a good year to be a little edgy with web design. Don't be afraid to take a few risks with some of the new technology available because it could separate a brand from the rest of the herd, afraid to try anything new. Brands shouldn't chase every new shiny object but test products that better communicate the value of the product.