Staying afloat in today’s digital marketplace requires your website to make good use of technology and design trends. But you can’t consider design trends without development. Website development—the coding and the programming behind the design—is what brings a site’s design elements to life. And in 2017, it’s equally as important that your team is keeping an eye on the latest trends in development. Here, we take a look at some of the latest trends to help you get started.
OpenCart for E-commerce
In today’s fast-paced, fast-tracked world, people are looking to speed up even the most basic of everyday tasks. This includes shopping. From clothes and gadgets to paper towels and vitamins, people are now turning to their devices to help them round up their retail needs and deliver them straight to their doorstep, all with the click of a button.
It’s a booming business with no hint of slowing down anytime soon. Worldwide e-commerce sales were estimated at $1.9 trillion. By 2020, global sales are expected to hit $4 trillion. And in order to keep up, e-commerce developers are now looking for platforms that are easy to navigate and host. Enter: Open Cart.
OpenCart is an e-commerce platform, which allows developers to create extensions and customizations with relative ease. The administrative dashboard features straightforward and easy to navigate menus, which are now mobile-friendly—allowing developers to access and manage the platform from their smartphones and tablets. The platform also offers developers a plethora of options and support. As of today, there are thousands of multilingual posts on the OpenCart forum; more than 12,000 extensions available, and multiple ready-to-use design templates to choose from. The platform also has a multi-store mode, allowing multiple online stores to be managed from one admin panel. And last but not least, the platform is Google friendly. A Google Analytics extension can easily be added to the admin dashboard, allowing developers to monitor and boost SEO practices.
Chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) systems that interact over text, have become a dominant force in online customer service. From e-commerce sites to social media applications, chatbots are now allowing brands to have direct, one-on-one customer interactions. They’re answering questions and forging relationships with consumers, helping to boost engagement and brand loyalty along the way.
But chatbots are just one facet of AI that’s expected to grow in 2017. In fact, AI systems have already begun to transform the way that Internet services operate. These systems are now allowing sites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype to analyze tremendous amounts of user data in order to gain a much deeper understanding of human behavior and thought processes on the web. This approach to development is called “deep learning,” and it’s expected to have huge implications in the development world.
In fact, many analysts say that the new wave Internet of Things (IoT) —using apps to control household appliances, to monitor medical devices, track crime, etc.—is doomed without AI systems of learning. You see, the amount of data that will be generated by IoT devices will be gargantuan in scope. Humans will depend on AI systems to analyze, make sense, learn, and to move forward in the realm of IoT.
Chatbots are driving direct, one-on-one customer interactions. Image courtesy of Chatbots Magazine.
Images in Motion
The days of static images on the page are long gone. Users are demanding more visually engaging, more interactive experiences on the web now more than ever before. And the best website designs are the ones making use of new technologies to give it to them. Animations, videos, and graphical interchange formats (GIFs), have taken the world of web design by storm. Not only are moving images enhancing engagement and interactivity, they’re also proving to be new, powerful storytelling tools for brands, enabling them to establish strong identities on the web. You can expect developers to continue looking for ways to incorporate cinematography, 360-degree videos, animations, and GIFs onto the page in 2017.
One Page Websites
There’s one final trend that’s been showing up in some of this year’s top designs, and it’s likely to transform the world of development: one-page websites. For companies looking to go mobile-friendly, one-page sites are essential. Multiple tabs and pages don’t work for users on smartphones and tablets. And with more than half of all global Internet users now mobile, there’s a pressing need for sites to be mobile responsive. From a design point of view, one-page sites reduce clutter on the screen, captivate users, and are easily intuitive. In short, they offer a more immersive, more engaging user experience. And if those aren’t good enough reasons to go one page, then consider the fact that they’re yielding higher conversion rates.
One page sites reduce clutter, enhance storytelling, and are easy to intuit.