With the increasing shift toward AR, AI and responsive design technologies in web development, designers and creators have found themselves at a proverbial crossroad. Whether you are a web developer yourself or specialize in content creation and subsequent SEO, the way you create your work correlates with industry trends.

According to Lara Lee, 42% of users leave a website outright if the load times are longer than 10 seconds, while 37% cite poor design and navigation as the main reason for leaving. There is more to what these users say than meets the eye since their browsing habits and expectations are directly driven by the predominant web design trends at the time of research. Another study done by John Kramer indicates similar results in terms of user engagement. The data states that 88% of users are very unlikely to return to a website after a bad initial experience, with 94% of bad feedback directly related to web design elements.

The trends that are bound to take shape in 2020 are poised to transform the way we think about web development, from wireframing down to SEO optimization. With that said, let’s dive into possible trends and predictions of what comes next in terms of web development standards and the ways in which we can use these technologies to our advantage.

  • Minimalism over Visual Splendor

While it is important to impress first-time web visitors will high-quality visuals and professionally-curated content, it’s also essential for that content to be appealing and easy on the eyes. In terms of visuals, web development trends are slowly but surely shifting toward minimalism and clean design solutions.

These trends have been pioneered by tech giants such as Microsoft in their OS development choices when it comes to flat design elements, easy-to-navigate UIs, as well as touch-screen ready element placement. Dominant visual elements such as flashy banner ads and complex motion graphics can be streamlined to take less time and attention from the viewer, putting content in focus instead.

Websites which embrace minimalistic design early will enjoy much better search engine ranking and traffic than they would otherwise. Clean UI and navigation bring faster load times, lower bandwidth and CPU requirements, as well as higher user engagement percentages as a result of accessibility.

  • Personalized UX Design

User Experience (UX) design has become a predominant part of web development and online content as a whole. Websites without curated UX will have a hard time reaching new audiences in 2020 and beyond due to a shift in users’ expectations.

Simple elements such as navigation bar placement, native advertisement presence and a lack of distracting popups can do wonders for your traffic and conversion rates. In order to personalize your web development’s UX according to your product or service portfolio, you will have to conduct demographic research beforehand.

Create customer profiles in order to pinpoint who your audience is before making drastic changes to your UX or UI. Once you are certain of the type of user who typically visits your website, personalizing its UX will be an afterthought.

  • AI Content Curation

At the end of the day, the merit of a website is measured by the content it can provide to its users. Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms will soon take over the curation process from editors in order to better match content with the end user.

While the production processes won’t change in terms of research, writing, and optimization, users will have a much easier time finding relevant content than ever before. AI content curation will effectively eliminate unwanted, uninteresting or unappealing content from an individual user’s browsing experience while they are present on your website.

For example, an SEO specialist won’t necessarily be interested in printed advertisement blog posts, effectively triggering the AI to place SEO-related content to the forefront. However, it’s also important for web developers to allow users to opt out of AI curation should they want a more hands-on approach to filtering their own content as is the case in today’s internet browsing.

  • Native Chatbot Implementation

Web interactivity is in high demand due to popularity of social media platforms and messaging apps. In that regard, users are prone to search for websites with native chatbot support which they can use for a variety of reasons.

It’s quite difficult to service customers who may or may not know your native language without hiring outside consultants and freelancers to serve as your representatives. Chances are that you also won’t be able to have on-staff customer support representatives available 24/7 for your global audience – this is what makes chatbots irreplaceable in today’s web climate. You can combine chatbots with writing platforms such as Trust My Paper and Evernote to write personalized content for them to use in everyday user engagement.

It’s easy to program chatbots to perform a variety of user-centric roles, including general help, purchase advice, website troubleshooting or for users to get in touch with your representative by booking a chat via the chatbot. Chatbots offer endless implementation possibilities in every aspect of your website or application – explore the ways in which you can use them to enhance your visitors’ experience in 2020 and beyond.

  • Voice-Enabled Navigation

In terms of high search engine result page (SERP) ranking, web developers should aim for high accessibility. The more people can enjoy your content, the better your odds will be at ranking high in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

In that respect, voice-enabled navigation takes priority since it offers an accessible, leisurely and user-friendly option for people of different calibers. It has become common courtesy to make web content available to as many people as possible, whether through content localization or voice-enabled browsing technologies.

Some people might be unable to use traditional mouse-and-keyboard setups due to a number of medical reasons. Others might want to browse your website while walking down the street and lack time to stop and type, swipe and click. Voice navigation can provide your users with a plethora of quality-of-life improvements and should definitely find its way into your web development schedule before 2020 rolls around.

  • SEO-Driven Content Creation

Web content creation is already driven by a competitive need to rank higher than others in one’s respective industry. However, these trends will take on a much stronger presence in the near future, with SEO-driven content ideation and creation being the norm.

Tools such as Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush can be used to detect which keywords and phrases are currently trending in different industries. Using these words as a baseline for content creation will allow writers and designers to come up with SEO-friendly content much faster than before.

This will result in search engine ranking competitions between different brands who want to attract as many users as possible to their websites. Adopting an SEO-first content strategy early on should give pioneers of this trend a head-start in the upcoming year – make sure to try the method out in an upcoming content production cycle to see if it fits your needs.

  • AR-Enabled Features

Augmented Reality (AR) technologies have seen a spike in app development integration in the past several years. Pokémon GO is only the most predominant example of AR which took the world by storm and showcased the potential of this technology when it is implemented correctly.

However, AR is slowly finding its way into web development and it will allow designers and developers more flexibility and creativity as a result. You can link your business’ or client’s smartphone apps or messaging platforms to the main website in interesting ways though AR.

It’s also possible to place real-world and exploratory elements into your web development project via external platforms such as Google Maps. While not industry standard norm, AR will allow websites to stick out from the competition with seamless, barrier-breaking features which will bridge the gaps between virtual and reality in 2020.

  • Responsive as the New Norm

Speaking of norms, desktop-only web development practices will slowly die away in this and upcoming years. More and more users expect mobile support, responsive web design and a curated on-the-go experience from the sites they visit frequently.

Make sure to think of web development as responsive-first when it comes to UI design, content types to implement and which plugins or widgets to use. Mobile-based content requires more direct and informative thinking with no place for long-form articles or pieces which require exuberant scrolling.

Consider combining a minimalistic approach to web design with responsive visual elements which will adjust to the user’s screen and peripheral. Doing so will allow you to attract much more traffic and revenue to your web-based business regardless of whether you curate an eCommerce store or provide SEO services for B2B clients.

  • Full GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in effect for the past year and has made quite an impact on web developers across the globe. As the European internet policy is now a standard for all web-based services which operate on the continent in any capacity, it has become more than a welcome addition.

This means that you should enable GDPR regulations on your upcoming web development projects, whether they are service-based, centered on eCommerce or web application production. Websites and services with GDPR present are already accepted much better than those without these guidelines enabled – and for good reasons.

The omission of GDPR means that a business is either unwilling to comply with the regulations or doesn’t follow web development trends – both of which are red flags in the eyes of internet users. With internet data privacy in such short supply these days, allowing users to control the way you handle their personal information is a must in 2020 and further on.

  • User Data Security

Lastly, cybersecurity is an increasingly serious concern for internet users across the globe. The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal is only one instance of a harmful data security breach which happened as a result of human judgment.

In order to attract a sizable audience to your web site or app, you should do your best to provide data security and account info protection. Cyber attacks such as account hijacks, database breaches, malware intrusions, and other harmful scenarios can lead to a steep drop in reputation and traffic for your website.

It’s good practice to highlight the types of security you actively provide to visitors and clients on your website’s landing page for increased transparency. Sites which provide guarantees of safety for their users will grow exponentially in 2020, so make sure to keep an eye out on cybersecurity features you can add to your projects.

In Summary

The fact of the matter is that no one really knows which trends and predictions will come to full fruition by the time 2020 rolls around. However, the facts we’ve listed above still stand and could potentially have transformative effects on the web development industry. Keep these predictions in mind the next time you optimize your site for SEO or delve into web development. Don’t be afraid to pioneer new trends and you will assuredly attract new users to your products and services.

This article was contributed by Estelle Liotard; read more about her at 3to5marketing.com.

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