We may not even be halfway through 2017 yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. In today’s constantly evolving business atmosphere, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of technology trends.

Tech and business have become irrevocably interrelated, and 2018 will have more high-tech innovations affecting web design than anything we’ve experienced in the past. Learn the latest technology trends for website design and start considering which ones might drive your business into the future.

Use Artificial Intelligence for Genuine Results

Artificial intelligence (AI) is officially a reality in today’s world – and it’s making a splash in website design. Wix and Grid are two sites already incorporating AI into the user experience.

Creating a website on Wix, for example, now comes with the option to work with the site’s AI coordinator. Their AI bot uses a complex algorithm to help users build websites in moments, based on answers to a few simple questions. Thanks to AI, users don’t have to enter web design details painstakingly one at a time – the website comes together in moments with personalized design elements.

Your own website can capitalize on the current AI trend by including this technology in your marketing campaigns. For example, invest in a chatbot to help you automate email blasts and book appointments with customers. Chatbots are becoming more and more advanced, using user data to create hyper-realistic answers to questions and correspondence with customers. This is just one example of how machine learning could boost your brand.

Chatbot App by Adrien Laurent

Chatbot App by Adrien Laurent

Introduce AI to your company with something simple, such as automating a process that none of your employees enjoys completing. Turn over your next email blast to an AI system or use AI to interpret customer data more efficiently. Your company can save time and money by automating tedious tasks, moving your human manpower to more important business endeavors, such as new product development or customer service. Keep your eye on AI – this technology will become more common in the business sphere.

Explore Virtual and Augmented Realities

Pokémon GO might be last year’s news, but the barriers it took down for augmented reality (AR) in mainstream media is a topic that till pervades today’s market. This game was the first widespread use of AR via users’ smartphones in history – and its smashing success speaks to how well users reacted.

Today, brands are using AR and virtual reality (VR) for more than just gaming. These technologies are starting to change website design. As AR/VR-compatible technologies become more mainstream, brands in every industry should start to assess just how to capitalize on these trends. The answer is in smart, tech-savvy website design.

Ink Hunter app making use of augmented reality

The Ink Hunter app making use of augmented reality

As VR-compatible browsers start to hit the market, this design element will become more prominent on everyday websites. Brands that sell products can use AR and VR technologies to give potential customers virtual 3D tours of their shops from the comfort of their homes.

Customers can use VR headsets like the popular Oculus Rift or simply attach their smartphones to the ultra-affordable Google Cardboard (on the market for just $15). The more developers learn about AR and VR, the more affordable these technologies have become. Now, almost any brand can afford to implement an alternate reality into its website in one way or another.

VR- and AR-enabled websites can connect consumers with their favorite brands in ways previously unknown. For example, a real estate agent can use 3D models to give potential buyers home tours without leaving the office.

Buyers can walk around a prospective property, inspect features up close, and feel like they’re really there. Real estate agents could give private tours of the same house to multiple prospects at the same time and save money and time on transportation. This is just one example of an industry that could significantly benefit from this innovative technology.

Create VR- and AR-Compatible Apps

Compatible apps are one of the simplest ways to introduce your brand to VR and AR. Create a business app that users can access via Google Cardboard and other VR devices. Take advantage of this technology by publishing a 360-degree map of your facility or giving behind-the-scenes VR tours of the process behind creating your product.

Virtual tours and tutorials can lend more value to your website visitors and make the entire process more engaging. Your customers will feel immersed in your brand and be more willing to make a purchase and keep coming back.

It has become much easier for brands to incorporate AR and VR into their businesses. For example, InstaVR creates VR apps in minutes. Select what type of app you’d like to develop – storytelling, gaming, marketing, education, real estate, etc. – and publish to all VR platforms in no time.

Solutions like this are becoming more common and easily accessible to brands across all industries. This is good news for you, as it’s now easier than ever to jump on the VR bandwagon. AR and VR apps are the wave of the future, and soon all consumers will expect brands to incorporate this technology somewhere on their websites.

Make Buying Fun with Gamification

Gamification has made incredible strides in the last year, and it’s only getting started. Companies cite great success with gamification. Hyatt Hotels is using a trivia game to train salespeople. The game provides incentives to employees to reward them for each step they accomplish. Gamification for training can encourage employees to try harder and complete training faster. It also establishes a work environment of healthy competition, motivation, and goal-driven employees.

Gamification has a special place in web design. This trend can make browsing a website more fun and rewarding to potential buyers. It can encourage them to engage with the company and keep coming back for more. For example, take the Wonderful Pistachios gamification campaign, “Help Ernie.”

This campaign markets Wonderful Pistachios throughout the game, advertising the product while giving users an enjoyable experience. Users play the games, which center around Ernie the Elephant, to enter a company sweepstakes.

Turning an element of your site, such as product exploration or meeting the team, into a game can increase user engagement and boost site traffic. It can also increase word-of-mouth advertising, as users are more likely to share a game they found fun or exciting with their friends.

Since games center on a sense of competition, many website visitors will keep returning to continue playing or try to beat a high score. The more time visitors spend on your site playing your game, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Design for the Touch Screen

Mobile-first design is certainly not a new web trend, but tech developers are coming up with new and exciting ways to market to mobile users first. One example is in advanced touch interactions in the user interface (UI).

Since users access websites on a touch-sensitive display, website designers can use touch to their advantage. They can get creative with touch interactions, such as creating a slightly uncomfortable vibration sensation when a user clicks away from your site. Touching the “Purchase” button, on the other hand, can generate a pleasant pulse sensation.

Design custom touch interactions carefully to let users explore your mobile site intuitively. Don’t let touch become too overbearing or fall to the wayside. Provide a unique experience for your site visitors that makes sense for your brand. Keep your touch interactions consistent across devices – make sure every device supports the functionality of your custom touch interactions. Implementing touch is the latest way you can connect with your audience and encourage certain actions, such as signing up for a subscription list or making a purchase.

Combine touch with your visitors’ micro-interactions to bring the user experience home. A micro-interaction is a task your user accomplishes, such as clicking on a piece of content to view the full article.

They inundate your users on a daily basis. Use this to your advantage in website design – mark micro-interactions with appropriate touch interactions to improve your user experience. Touch interactions can provide feedback to your users, letting them know your website understood the action and is generating the desired effect. Designing for the touch screen has never been more important than it is in today’s mobile-centric consumer environment.

Stay on Top of Changing Tech Trends in Website Design

When it comes to website design, optimizing your site for what may come in the future will help you keep your costs down, stay SEO friendly, and stay a step ahead of your competition. Watch these budding trends now to get ready for what website design might look like in 2018 and beyond.

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