At the rate technology evolves in the 21st century, the future never seems that far away. While most of these web design trends are waiting for technology to catch up, it won’t be too long before these ideas are in widespread practice. In fact, some of them are already being tested.
As your company plans for the future, it’s essential to keep digital needs in mind as many of these upcoming website trends will require investment in backend systems and a rethinking of customer interactions that may even change your company’s future business practices.
Hyper-personalization is one of the trends that will come to fruition first. We are already familiar with personalization through customized suggestions from Amazon and YouTube, but the sites themselves don’t change, just the suggestions. In the future, hyper-personalized website designs and content will alter to fit the customer’s needs using Artifical Intelligence (AI) tools that mine information from previous customer interactions and other publicly accessible data like social media posts.
As AI has become more developed and cheaper to access, companies have already begun to use it in fields like data analysis and marketing. The main barriers to implementing AI in web design are a lack of usable customer information and data siloed in incompatible databases.
While true hyper-personalization will require further development of AI interfaces and databases, you don’t have to wait to experiment with personalizing website designs. You just have to use more readily available tools. For instance, Stripe and Uber customize experiences by changing customer company logos and the language used based on the visitor’s IP address. Other websites like Intercom, create personalized landing pages based on which ad a visitor clicks to visit their site.
By following links through social media and Google searches, people are less likely to land on a company’s homepage than in the past. What this means for the traditional homepage is still up in the air, but some companies are already seeking different ways to improve the user’s homepage experience.
Optimizely crafted an intricate testing strategy and began creating personalized homepages based on a user’s IP address, from what link they were entering the site, and what time of day they were visiting. Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed, garnering impressed tweets, and a higher rate of conversion. The English National Opera went a different direction after finding that the majority of their visitors were only interested in finding their events page. The homepage was a barrier to potential ticket sales, so they decided to remove their traditional homepage and replace it with their most popular (and profitable) page—the “What’s On” page.
Perhaps in the future, no sites will have a homepage, or perhaps they will use data points and AI to create personalized homepages for visitors. Or maybe when a user enters a website, the design of the page on which they land will be transformed into a homepage style. The future of the homepage is still murky but will quickly become more evident as businesses continue to experiment.
As AI and other technologies progress, websites will increasingly feature conversational interfaces. The most popular conversational tool currently in use is chatbots. Chatbots are texting services that pop up once a visitor has been on the website for a certain amount of time. They use machine learning to respond to input from the website visitor, either answering their question using the company’s database of information or gathering data from the visitor to hand that person off to a real person. Chatbots allow users to have real-time interactions with a company instead of filling out a form and waiting to be contacted days later.
Companies mostly use chatbots in the lower or upper corners of their website, like pop-ups, but what if the entire site was a conversational experience? Check out landbot.io to see the potential of an entirely conversational website.
Voice User Interfaces
As people become accustomed to using tools like Alexa and Siri, websites will increasingly require the ability to respond to voice interactions. User experience designers and developers have begun to focus on creating tools that will allow visitors to find information on websites via voice commands. As voice user interfaces become more prevalent, they will revolutionize how sites are structured and change the way they look.
To create an effective voice-based experience, companies will have to understand what visitors want to do and find on their websites, and also understand the variety of ways users will attempt to complete these tasks via voice commands. This will require a lot of data analysis of any current and future website interactions, which, regardless, is a good habit to begin as it will help you optimize your existing website as well.
The need for voice user interfaces may seem a long way away, but it’s not. Websites will likely become more conversational via text first, and the step from text-based conversational to voice-operated is less steep than you may think as they will both apply the same type of machine learning.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been around for a while, but are still in their developing stages—too expensive for most companies to create and too difficult for users to access. However, at the rate of technological innovations, widespread VR and AR use isn’t that far off. At first, it will likely be used in standalone experience sites for games or branding purposes, but a few years after that, VR and AR experiences may be the new norm for all websites. Instead of a 2-D video, people will be able to step into the stories of your company or try on clothing virtually before buying it. In the further future, the entire internet might be developed with the VR experience in mind.
These are just a few of the future expectations—both near and far—for the internet and web design. It’s important to know what the future holds to get a lead on your competitors. But don’t get so caught up in the future that you forget to stay up-to-date on current design trends.
Web Redefined can help you do both by designing your websites in the now and planning your websites of the future. Contact us today to learn more about our services.