Five years from now, one thing is certain. The way that websites look, feel and run will be completely different and keeping up with the ever changing online world can be a challenge, even for the most skilled of web designers. From tiny visual patterns and responsiveness of the designs to a comprehensive redesign on how we use websites in general. From implementing virtual reality and AI to Augmented Reality that can be viewed on mobile phones. It is likely to all change and evolve in a different way to how it is now and years ago.
The future user experience and the use of new technologies like VR and AR means that designers will need to take time and invest in new technology to improve their skills as a web designer to meet the demands of both the user and the customer wanting a new site.
Take a look at our guide on the impending evolution of website design and get excited people! The future looks bright!
An Introduction To The Future Of Web Design Trends
When the web was in its infancy in the early 1990s, people thought that that stuff was smart! But now when we look back those first website designs were unavoidably primitive. This was not only due to the lack of resources available to web designers at the time; it was a consequence of the incredibly slow internet connections, lower quality technology and devices that simply do not match up to today’s standards.
With faster network speeds, feature-rich sites, tools which combine both form and functionality without sacrificing on technology have swarmed the market over the last 5 years and the technological advancements seem to be coming quick these days. The advent of smart mobile phones has recently had the impact of raising mobile-first design to the top of the agenda. This is just part of the continuous evolution over the years that has been witnessed by the industry.
Now you know where web design has come from and where it is now and, let’s think about where it is now heading. When new technologies join the fray, what will web design look like in the future, and how will the direction of web development change?
Artificial Intelligence & Chatbot Technology
The theory of artificial intelligence is being discussed a lot (AI). The question is not only about whether a computer that can think for itself can be programmed, but whether we should.
Terminator-style concerns aside, AI will decide not just the future of web design; early examples of autonomous online services are already in operation today. One of the most obvious examples of this comes in the form of chatbots, which are now used to engage web users across thousands of company websites.
Chatbots are able to answer simple questions, deal with grievances and free up time for customer support. And because they’re modular, small companies and global corporations alike can use them. Chatbots are taking over the network from supermarkets to restaurants and hotel chains and will soon become the norm in the real world, thanks to the creation of robotic assistants for sectors as diverse as hospitality and healthcare.
A Grand View Research study report forecasts that by 2025, the chatbot market will be worth $1.23 billion (£881 million) annually. A survey commissioned by Oracle, meanwhile, found that 80 percent of individuals had either made use of an online chatbot or plan to have done so by the end of the decade.
Also becoming prominent are chatbots that piggyback on popular instant messaging sites, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. This is part of the larger trend for blending services offered with different third-party applications on a website, further blurring the boundaries between platforms and devices.
In 2023, AI will expand its tendrils into all other parts of web design. Machine learning algorithms make sure that with every question they handle, chatbots are getting smarter and more powerful. When it comes to voice search, this is especially important.
A variety of other improvements to web design that sound like science fiction at the moment, but could easily come true by 2023, are easy to foresee.
In the next five years, if AI and chatbots become sophisticated enough, then it is entirely fair to believe that while visiting e-commerce sites, individuals will be able to use autonomous personal shoppers.
Also, high-end fashion sites invest in dedicated shopping assistant programs that are operated by real people. This is related to the ecosystem of influencer marketing, which has become viable only thanks to emerging technology and online channels. There should still be a place in the modern online world for people-powered services, even if AI and automation become the norm.
Voice Interface Technology
Voice interface services like Siri and Google Assistant have made the concept of vocalizing questions and receiving a spoken answer from their smartphones more common to individuals. This has been taken further by Amazon’s Alexa and the Echo set of speakers, completely circumventing websites and firing off responses without the need for the details to be displayed on a computer.
Voice interfaces are likely to be embraced over the next five years as consumers accept a more realistic, conversational approach to communicating with sites. This implies that during the design process, as well as when producing content, voice would have to be considered. Sadly, the ideas of voice interfaces are entirely distinctive, which presents an apparent obstacle to developers.
AI and automation will come to the rescue and are already being used to change the way questions are answered by voice assistants. The SEO age’s short, concentrated, keyword-driven strategies will give way to a time when long-tail search terms are much more effective. In order to reflect this, content strategies will change, with FAQs pulling in visitors more efficiently than past keyword-packed posts.
The voice could liberate sites and make them less dependent on structured, rigidly formatted content, despite the obstacles to adoption. Voice is also seen as a challenge to conventional search engines such as Google, a business that is anchored in this arms race itself. Understandably, perfecting and implementing this will take a few years, but you should expect to see voice reshaping the network by 2023 in the same way as smartphones have over the past ten years.
Smarter Website Designs
Now that smartphones are more commonly used for web browsing than laptops or desktop PCs, adaptability has become important. In 2023, with smarter sites that steer clear of ‘normal’ templates and tired formats, you can expect web design to have gone much further down this road.
Only one branch of this tree is Responsive Design. Other patterns are set to be increasingly popular, such as voice-optimized interfaces, chatbots, and context-specific page adaptations.
Based on variables such as the location of the visitor, the type of computer they are using and the other services they are logging into, sites can already be tweaked. They will be much more versatile as they get smarter and more autonomous. For example, a push notification that is sent to their phone will provide them with an exclusive deal or a connection to the website of the company when a customer passes through a real-world store. It combines online marketing with the presence of bricks and mortar.
For millions of customers, personalization is critical, so the one-size-fits-all approach of the past will have to be left aside. New technology will enable developers to construct personalized experiences, while models for cookie cutters and inflexible interfaces will be consigned to history’s dustbin. Start-ups such as LiftIgniter build applications designed to provide automatic adaptability to sites, ensuring that no two users can have the same experience. This will improve everything from the interface to the content itself, which demonstrates the breadth of what experts in this field are trying to accomplish.
Augmented Reality Web Design
This is where stuff gets really interesting. Thanks to devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, virtual reality (VR) has become a common phenomenon. Yet Virtual Reality would probably bring about the greatest improvements when it comes to the future of web design trends.
In recent years, AR has been passed down to customers through a variety of products, most notably through mobile applications such as Pokemon GO also referred to as ‘mixed reality’ by Microsoft and several other businesses. In view of the growth of augmented reality (AR), the future of web design will be reframed, with analysts estimating that by 2020 this industry will be worth around £116 billion.
Much of this revenue will come from sales of hardware, but consumers will need experience with apps to go along with the headsets they have snapped up and the AR-ready smartphones they purchase. Wearable technology will allow designers to position interactive, location-based elements above the visitor’s real-world perspective. The possibilities are infinite when paired with object recognition and facial scanning.
Users could walk down a traditional high street with AR, look at a retailer and obtain immediate offers from their website. With the data pulled from the internet from their wearable tracker, they could walk by a restaurant and see what’s on the menu.
This will push sites to become more versatile and minimalist, or at least adaptable enough to show visitors across the top of the globe, all without becoming obtrusive. This is not in itself a fresh juggling act; it is just that the systems involved have changed. Designers and developers will need to get a grip on this technology, ready for when bigger tech focussed sites start pushing it through their own websites, apps and platforms – it will be a design feature that everyone will need and is certainly up there when it comes to predicting the future of web design.
What Web Designers Won’t Be Seeing In The Future
Change is not only about adding fresh stuff to the design mix, but about getting rid of stale components in current design. In the world of web design, where trends can grow rapidly and flame out just as quickly, this is particularly true. But by the time the trends are introduced, what patterns that are common at the moment would have been kicked to the kerb?
First of all, it’s time to wave goodbye to parallax scrolling, an effect that has become so commonplace that it fades into the background ironically and does not engage visitors as it used to. It is not its supremacy that is the greatest sin of parallax scrolling, but the fact that it has a detrimental effect on page load speeds. The future of web design involves sites wanting to trim the fat off their designs and make their brands and websites as seamless as possible as browsing on mobile phones becomes ever more prevalent. The end can’t come fast enough for this trend.
Next up is difficult typography, which in recent years has become a bane of the industry. Ramming in as many fonts as possible is a terrible idea today, and will still be a no-no in 2023, simply to get a response from visitors. On a mobile, it makes pages look messy, inconsistent and difficult to use. To break away from this trend, keep things plain, clean and uncluttered.
Finally, in the next five years, the death of needlessly cluttered web design interfaces is sure to come. The effect of voice search will be just as critical as the success of mobile devices to stimulate this change. The best way to bring down bounce rates would be to be able to get users the data they need in the shortest period of time. Meanwhile, the dodo would go the way of sites that stick to overly complex formats and pages overflowing with material.
Mike O’Raw, Lead web Designer of KIJO, has some theories about the life and death of web design patterns.
You can see a consistent trend in the history of design. There is a reaction when a movement gets popularized long enough a movement that is the exact opposite of the former. In Dada and Constructivism, this can be seen. I assume we’ll see designers leave the asymmetrical, streamlined look we see now in five years and return to more intentional and organized layouts.
A radical re-think of how we approach website design and creation will be required by the advent of the emerging technologies covered above. The main message is that a new army of various website interaction strategies is on the march and the future will be much more complex than we imagine. From emerging technology such as AI and voice and from VR and AR, web design techniques will need to adapt to reflect these emerging technological features. Sadly, those who can;t compete on the highest levels of web design, may face being replaced by AI itself as new intelligent ways of automated web design also emerge. If automated web design facilities of a better grade can be provided for designers of websites than is provided for the general public to use then site designers might feel a need to purchase access to those to stay ahead of the game. There are already future thinking plugins available for developers who use WordPress for their site design.
Most significantly, these future focussed systems, plugins, apps and tech would more than likely complement, not substitute, conventional interfaces that we already use, this will cause less havoc however, it’s imperative that you stay ahead of the curve to prevent falling behind. With that said, sign up to our newsletter to get the most recent updates on the ever changing world of web design or check out our other blogs for more ideas, information and inspiration.