Web Development Trends for Improving User Experience
The user experience and UX design should be something all businesses consider. The easier it is for your website’s customer experience, the higher the conversion rates will be. But technology can change at what can feel like lightning-fast speeds, resulting in an overwhelming amount of work for your small business or startup. However, it does not have to feel that way. In this article, we discuss the latest top web development trends so you can feel on top of the market and decide what is best for you.
As one of our experts (Jonathan Cardella, Founder & Chairman, Ventive) says:
“You should assume every website you develop will be consumed on smartphones, and a bad mobile experience (when the thought to visit is fresh in users’ minds) will drastically reduce your desktop presence. Start where the people are. And the people are on mobile.”
As you will see in this article, the majority of trends are tied to mobile development. Mobile devices provide accessibility, instant gratification, and information to the masses. If you want your company to thrive using web development tools, then you must think mobile-centrically.
“With multiple options for nearly everything, users no longer have to put up with a bad experience, they can go find a good one somewhere else. Absolutely. People are the future. And if the people aren’t happy, they’ll just figure out how to build what they want themselves. And then where will your company be? Left in the dust.”
Keep. It. Stupid. Simple (KISS)
Not to be confused with Keep. It. Simple. Stupid, this saying is both more to the point and positive. Website development does not need to be complicated and with more and more users using web pages, keeping it stupid simple is more important than ever. Just see what our expert has to say:
“Make using your site as mindless and intuitive as possible. The less someone has to think to get to the information they need the more brain power they can dedicate to digesting your amazing content and be more inclined to complete their buyer journey.
Strategies like this make the user feel empowered because they didn’t experience any speedbumps during their journey to solve their problem. If you can reduce clicks from five to three, think of how much that would delight a visitor. They got their answer that much faster… and your website was the one that provided it.
Instant gratification is only becoming more and more available due to technologies and with newer generations growing up in this type of social businesses will only be pushed to address this need. Making a customer’s journey and experience with your business as straightforward and predictable as possible–regardless of how complicated your service/product is–will bring joy to your customers.”
–Sarah Perry, Senior Marketing Director, Third Angle
In general, the simpler and more minimalistic you can create and design your website, the more likely you will have a better user experience and increase your conversion rates.
As website use is ubiquitous and is expected for any business to have, the need for No-code websites is more prevalent. A no-code website is a website builder that makes it so those who have little to no technical skills can build websites with little or no coding at all. The process is all visual using drag and drop capabilities. An example of this is SquareSpace. Here is what one expert said:
“Some of these tools have built-in modules/code that can take care of the small annoying stuff that can take time to implement. SW Development Services builds custom websites, however, we have used an awesome animation builder that helped and delivered value that we could pass down to the client.”
–Tim Strawbridge, President, SW Development Services
As this article explains, around 44% of all websites use some form of a content management system (CMS), like WordPress. However, CMS systems are not always user-friendly which is why a no-code builder like SquareSpace or Wix are great options for budget-conscious businesses or laymen who want to do their website.
Motion User Interface
In addition to an easy-to-use website, users are expecting that the website will work well on their devices. One study suggests that more customers use websites on their smartphones. However, if your website is not mobile-friendly, then they are more likely to bounce off and not be converted into a lead. This is where Motion User Interface comes in. Motion User Interface uses SASS and CSS transitions to improve animation and interaction on a mobile website. The result is that the user feels part of the experience of the website, finds the information easily, and thus leads to a converted lead or revenue for your business.
From a technical standpoint, the front-end framework allows developers to design applications with pre-defined motions. The downside to Motion UI is that it is typically used in native apps (ones that are designed for a particular platform) making it less ubiquitous.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
One trend that is not going anywhere is serverless architecture. Previously, code-based websites (or anything really) held their architecture in a hardwired server. This structure was precarious because if something went wrong with the hardware (fire, overheating, water damage), the database would also go down creating havoc. Now, it is becoming more prevalent to house such code in the cloud.
“Many websites experience downtime when servers cannot manage the requirements of the site. With this new technology, we can reduce data loss, system overloading, and other development costs. Unlike web servers where we store website component files in a computer server, serverless technology runs on cloud technology. This enables users to run codes for any type of application or backend service with zero administration. There will be no need for managing, provisioning, or upgrading servers. Some of the big companies that have pioneered using this technology are Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
These trends answer many web development and user experience concerns. They provide long-term solutions to users and, most especially, to web developers and owners. With these new improvements, we can ensure security, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, easier maintenance, and SEO-friendliness.”
-Deb Wallace, CEO, Tulumi Digital Marketing
An additional consideration is that with serverless architecture, it is easier to fix issues including attacks on your website that buffer your cybersecurity.
First Party Customer Data
An important tool for web developers is gathering data on what their customers and users are experiencing when on their website. This is where First-Party data (or 1P data) comes in. First-party data is the information that your company has collected first-hand from your audience. This could be your customers, site visitors, or users on social media who have visited your page/accounts. Here is what one expert says about the use of 1P data:
“First-party data gives you a peek into what your user’s specific requirements are. We can look at items like funnel abandonment to determine when we are undeserving our users. By improving the experience we are helping our users achieve their goals. Using first-party data allows businesses to become closer with their customers by creating a better user experience.”
–Rory Mullin, Co-Founder, Hammerhead
First-party data is important because regardless of the trend you then use to improve your UI or UX, you need to first compile the data to analyze and then make a strategic choice for your next step.
Dynamic versus static animations are becoming more and more popular. Dynamic animations are created and controlled by web developers to make a website more engaging and user-friendly. Static animations are automatic to the browser and are not ideal if you are trying to create a more friendly or marketable UI for your customer.
“By using dynamic animations throughout your website, you provide a much more engaging website experience by directing your user’s attention to key areas throughout the site.”
–Meg Mothershed, Co-Owner & COO, Mothershed Design Co.
The benefit of a dynamic animation is that it reacts to each user’s interaction with the software or website. This makes the experience feel unique and thus can make your website more marketable to users.
Localization is giving a geo-specific experience to a user depending on where they are located at the time of use. An example of this is when a user goes on a website and notices that British English is used versus when they are in the United States and American English is used. The benefit of localization is personalization, as our expert explains:
“UX is expected to become more personal as hyper-personalization becomes mainstream. Data-driven online experiences will address customer needs before they ask for them. Localization is also essential in this regard. For instance, users in specific regions might want different login options. Designers of UX products should focus on giving users control over their experiences, from dashboards to notifications to checkout options. Spotify is an excellent example of how personalization has become a part of our daily lives, knowing exactly what we want to listen to next. Things are only going to get better.
This will help in providing the users with more ease in navigating through the product or service. Localization will contribute to cultural and regional aspects and target the touch points of that particular area or region. Thus users will feel more special and they will stick to the product/service. Because we are heading towards a personalized oriented world where you have to think out of the box to capture the user’s attention.”
–Daniel Gray, SEO Lead, Market Media Connect
Localization can also be used through advertisements. For example, if you listen to a podcast in the United States vs in South America, the advertising experience may be different depending on the advertisers who are sponsoring the podcast. This makes it so that the podcast can make money regardless of the market and the listeners have access to the show.
Progressive Web Applications
“Writing mobile apps using progressive web applications (PWAs) instead of OS-specific or hybrid mobile apps, which cost more to develop. Costs are lower, delivery time is faster, and most (but not all) features can be implemented for iOS and Android. Who wouldn’t want to get their app delivered faster and cheaper with one code base for web and mobile development?”
–Joe Wilson, Director, and Co-Founder, Volare Software
Moving to progressive web apps (or PWAs) for your application use can go a long way to saving money, and increasing customer engagement and your conversation rates.
According to DataReportal, the average American spends seven hours and four minutes looking at a screen every day. This new phenomenon is causing eye strain and vision loss. Developers have combated through new computer designs, blue light glasses, and then with UI–specifically, through Dark Mode. Dark Mode or night mode, is when there is reduced light emanating from a device and reduced contrast in color is used, reducing eye strain for the user.
Blake Nolan, Founder and Chief Operation Officer at Storm Brain says:
“Dark mode is the biggest UI change in the past few years, and it will only continue to grow.”
While Dark mode does not prevent further eye strain, it is better than having a bright screen constantly.
Accessibility not only means easy-to-use or easy-to-find, but it also means thinking of all users, regardless of ability. As one of our experts states, when creating or modifying a website, keep The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in mind:
“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Business owners often think of ADA compliance as making sure store fronts and restrooms are accessible by having ramps and wider doorways. In reality, their websites must also be accessible to someone who is vision impaired, deaf, uses a screen reader or keyboard navigation, etc. There are multiple guidelines issued by W3C called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
If your website is not equally accessible to someone with disabilities, you are at risk of being sued for discrimination. More than 11,000 lawsuits and civil rights complaints alleging discriminatory practices were filed in 2021. These lawsuits may be from actual users but can also come from trolling attorneys and organizations focused on civil rights.”
– Arif Gangji, Managing Partner, Neon Rain
As this article explains, there are some simple ways to make sure your website is ADA compliant, including ensuring it is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. This means that it is easy to navigate, read (provide multiple languages, audio options, or allows for voice search), navigable, and accessible on multiple devices or platforms.
The use of Artificial Intelligence is a trend across all technological platforms. Machine learning and AI are expected to reach $126 Billion in revenue generation by 2025. The use of these technologies will make all technologies easier to use, faster to upgrade, and reduce staff costs. One expert explains further:
“Artificial intelligence (AI) and User Experience (UX) have very similar goals. It’s about gathering information, analyzing the user’s engagement with the website, and thereby using predictive analysis to understand human behavior. AI certainly has evolved and matured to a level to make this possible.
At the top of the list of how AI impacts UX is the ability to personalize the website experience for visitors. A personalized UX will deliver efficiencies to the user and enhance their relationship with the brand. When it comes to AI tools, the marketplace is quite competitive and it is best to research the tool best suited to a website’s requirements.
A personalized UX will deliver efficiencies to the user and enhance their relationship with the brand. When it comes to AI tools, the marketplace is quite competitive and it is best to research the tool best suited to a website’s requirements.”
– Melih Oztalay, CEO, SmartFinds Marketing
An example of AI that is becoming more and more popular is a chatbot feature. Chatbots are an automated messaging system that comes up when a user arrives at a website. Chatbots provide common answers to questions and can direct the user to the appropriate place to find the answer on the website. This reduces the amount of time a user clicks through the website, reduces the likelihood they will bounce out of the site, and reduces customer service manual engagement so staff can work on other items for your company, reducing costs.
Nothing is more infuriating than using technology and it is not working or acting slow. The number one reason users bounce off a site is because they cannot connect to the relevant topics. After all, the page load time on the site is too slow. As one expert states:
“Website speed should be a top priority for all web pages. People do not have the patience to wait for your website to load, especially on a mobile device. They will get frustrated and head to another website. Technology is only getting faster, and people will continue to want the bar raised when it comes to providing a seamless web experience.”
– Noah Kain, Owner. Noah Kain Consulting
Besides the annoyance of fixing broken websites or waiting until web page loads, it is important to consider that “website performance has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. Pinterest reduced perceived wait times by 40%, and this increased search engine traffic and sign-ups by 15%,” as Eric Caldwell, CEO/Founder of WebJIVE says.
While not a “new” trend, ensuring that your website or software is working as fast as it can, is critical. Higher and higher speeds are becoming available, and you should be sure that you are using the best technology at any given moment.
What Are Your Next Steps?
As you can see there are plenty of options to improve the user experience on your website. However, if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to start, UpCity has some great providers that can help you with front-end website design and web development trends. Our list can help you find the perfect web design development company for you.
About the author
Haldis Toppen is the Director of Communications of the cultural exchange organization, Greenheart International. With 10 years of experience in leading marketing and communication teams, Haldis has a proven record of successfully leading national campaigns and international programming. She is passionate about bringing the right message to the masses and finding those audiences who need to hear it!