The web designing and development is a highly competitive and dynamic industry where we get to witness new tools, trends, features, frameworks every now and then. Most aspects are irregular in terms of usability and preference, especially when it comes to trends. For instance, the emergence and fall of flash-based web animations, sliders on first fold, stock images, etc. have been evident in this regard.
But when we talk about user experience in a website, professional developers and companies are always striving to improve it, no matter whatever the current trend is. Improving UX is further backed as it directly influences several business-related aspects including metrics such as conversion, bounce rate, etc. So let’s examine the new trends that businesses can except to see throughout 2017 and incorporate them into their web development team for a better UX.
1. Approximate read time to enhance readership
Whenever we come across an online article, it becomes a subconscious action to scroll up and down the website page to figure out the time it will consume for complete reading. If the article is congested, lengthy and looks somewhat does not appeal to the reader, it is highly likely you will either skim through, or even leave the page. In order to prevent this, it is better to calculate and state the average time it will take to go through the complete article. This will give users an accurate insight on whether they should spend time on an article or not.
The practice is further backed by The New Yorker, “The more we know about something – including precisely how much time it will consume – the greater the chance we will commit to it.”
The feature is also important as some articles may seem lengthy, but are actually quite mediocre in length. The article may seem long due to the formatting and excessive images in the content.
2. Chatbots—a modern conversational experience
Whenever we visit a departmental store nearby, it is a common sight to watch people asking help from the staff of salesman in locating a product they are unable to find. And when we talk about online store, we browse through the categories to search our desired product, or simply enter our question in the search field. This is where chatbots step in!
As per a study conducted by Juniper Research, ”merchant integration of technologies such as bots and natural language interfaces will lead to remote goods purchases by mobile totaling $2.1 trillion by 2021.”
Chatbots have already been incorporated from some popular names including Google Now, ShopBot from eBay, all due to the recent advancements in machine learning. ShopBot is powerful enough to answer your shopping-related queries and concerns on eBay much better than a simple search engine.
3. Gestures and voice-based experience
Today advancements have gone well beyond the graphical user interfaces. Now we have the opportunity to use gestures and voice-directed interfaces as well. The concept of online personal assistants is getting increasingly familiar for most of us. Take iOS, Android, Windows for instance, they have introduced personal assistants Apple Siri, Google Assistance, and Microsoft Cortana, respectively that absorb your voice inputs and answer your concerns accordingly.
The Google Search also offers the voice recognition feature that allows the user to speak his/her query, rather than needing to spend time typing the whole text.
Take Apple Siri for example, which provides answer to voiced questions regarding daily whether updates. This voice based experience is proving to be a significant improvement in the user experience for someone going through a website or mobile app.
4. Purposeful micro interactions
Micro interactions, also known as small visual prompts that occur when a user performs a specific act. These interactions can be a minor animation or a simple CSS transition. For instance, an outlined button on a website is filled with a solid color when you float the curser over it. Such cues provides a sense of control to the user and displays a reaction received for their action. The trend is likely to be incorporated in the upcoming apps in the App Store and Google as well as in future websites as a mighty indicator of elevated UX.
On the other hand, if there is no micro interaction to experience, we might not feel in control given the website is not responding to any of our action. Take Facebook for instance, the newly introduced emojis have provided user the opportunity to express their actions and emotions more specifically. One might not prefer to ‘like’ a sad or depressing image posted in a page!
Realizing the need, any experienced and accomplished web design company is well-aware of how to create meaningful micro interactions and capture a user’s attention in an instant.
5. Scrolling triggered animations
Some websites incorporate special kind of animations—where visualization starts to form as your scroll down the page of the app. A phenomenon also termed as scroll triggered animations, is a powerful way of expressing or demonstrating a product in a compelling manner. Rather than asking users to go through the product details in a somewhat boring and readable way, it is much more tempting to showcase in the product through simple yet attractive visuals.
Scroll triggered animations also work fine with single page websites constituting various sections. As you start scrolling down the page of the website, the animation will start fabricating at the point you are looking at. Take Apple’s website for instance, where navigating through the Mac Pro section is the perfect example of scroll triggered animations. The product is visually demonstrated from inside out and not with text-based presentation.
6. Less means more
Is congesting a web page with text and visual content the best way to lure your target audience? Of course not, rather the reality is quite opposite. The impact will not cause an increase in the bounce rate, but the reduction in the conversion stats as well. What developers need to understand and incorporate is, a negative space.
The purpose of a negative space is to enhance the prominence of the content, while sidelining some irrelevant elements such as stock images, sidebars, etc.
Philip House is a great example of using negative spaces brilliantly that makes content the core focus of the website. The point is to provide the user with a distraction-free experience and promote a better engagement with the brand. However, let’s not forget that focusing on negative spaces does not result in removing the essential website components like footer navigation.
Above are the trends that are running high and are expected to ride by the same momentum throughout 2017. However, its better any newcomer in the industry inspects and incorporates such trends in a single-page website first, rather than engulfing them on the whole website. This will precisely tell you whether the trend you are following has any considerable influence on the performance of your website or not.
Emna Fadila is an experienced UX Designer at a leading web design company serving clients from all industries across the globe. Besides her profession, Emna Fadila is also an avid researcher and writer of web designing and development blogs directed to foster the skills and theoretical knowledge of industry professionals.