Technology in the past ten years has changed so much that sometimes we need a little extra push to avoid becoming obsolete. As technology continues to move forward, we also need to be willing to adapt to these new ideas and solutions to problems. It's not too late to start researching best practices, solutions, must-haves, and trends for your website. Today, I would like to give you a glimpse at some website must-haves and trends you can't ignore.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Is More Important Than Ever
The amount of data we can find online today has drastically increased in the past ten years. What we are able to find by just opening our favorite browser and making a quick search is immensely superior to what we had back in the day. However, with great power comes great responsibility.
As content creators produce more content and make it available online, the amount of pages per topic or subject is overwhelming. In response, search engines like Google and their Chrome web browser are constantly making updates to algorithms to better list and rank all this data online.
Great search engine optimized websites are leaving mediocre ones at the bottom of search results. I have always said the internet is for everyone, and as we make it available for people around the world with fewer resources and bandwidth, things like the speed and accessibility of our websites will have a greater impact on our communities.
Related Article: Five Ways to Improve Your Website SEO
Single Page Applications Increase Website Speed and Performance
Another hot topic is the continued rise of single-page applications. Websites like Netflix, Airbnb, Pinterest, and PayPal are a few examples of sites that are using this technology. In the past, our online community has made use of server-side rendering, which means that the user opens their favorite browser on their computer and types the name of their favorite website; the browser sends a request to a server somewhere in a remote part of the world. That server then sends a response back to the browser, and the browser displays the website.
Animations Can Guide the Flow of Content on Your Webpage
Animations continue to take our websites by storm. Even though the concept of animation is anything but new, we are seeing more online content and websites use animations to grab the users' attention. We are expecting websites to continue to use this method of showing users how information flows on your website. The use of fluid motions and smooth transitions provide context to user stories. However, we should not replace good content with more animations, making it impossible for the user to focus on the content because of the excessive use of animations. When done right, animations can be a useful tool.
Rethinking Mobile Navigation in Relation to our Thumbs
Thumb-friendly sites are a must, with more people browsing websites using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It's important that web design is focused on making sites more mobile user-friendly. Responsive design just isn't enough anymore. Your website must have thumb-friendly navigation, so users are more comfortable accessing your site. Navigation buttons, the menu, and even the contact buttons on websites should be easily accessible to our thumbs.
Voice Engine Optimization Must be Part of Your Website SEO Strategy
Voice search engines like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are changing the way we approach SEO. Voice Engine Optimization (VEO) is focused on optimizing your brand to be the result in voice search. Features like voice shopping are taking the market by storm and are expected to climb in the industry. Like SEO, keywords are at the root of VEO. If your keyword or keyword phrases are too general, your website will fail to rank anywhere near the top of the results.
Related Article: What is Voice Search, and How do I Optimize for It?
Mobile Responsiveness Remains Essential to User Experience
I know some of you might be thinking, “mobile responsiveness is nothing new," and you are correct. We have been dealing with this technology since the beginning of smartphones, but you will be surprised how many websites, even today, need extensive design and rework of their mobile responsiveness. With the yearly battle in the mobile device industry and so many new prototypes being placed in the market, screen resolutions and sizes keep scaling upward. Mobile responsiveness isn’t an option. As people become more connected and mobile devices become a necessary tool for many, it is super important that your website can deliver a friendly user experience across any device.
Dark Mode Options Are in Demand
This design feature is a color scheme that uses light-colored text, icons, and graphical user interface elements on a dark background. I assure you that most of your favorite sites and applications have it somewhere in their settings. This is a must-have feature your eyes will thank you for using. To fully understand the importance of dark mode, we must dig deeper into accessibility and eye strain. Going back to our mission of "internet for everyone," users with eye disabilities can make use of this feature to reduce the amount of bright light seen from their screen. Personally, I love dark-mode themes. About two years ago, I experienced headaches and blurry vision from using my computer at night. It was time to start using the dark mode to protect my eyes and reduce blue light exposure. Making the change eliminated my headaches and blurry vision.
No matter what time of the year it is, we must stay relevant with advances in website technology. I hope you are as excited as I am about website must-haves and trends for this year.