02-27-2018, Web Development
by Antoni Zolciak
Web Development Trends in 2018
Last year, one of the most popular articles on our blog was related to web design and development trends.
We thought it would be cool if we did a similar thing this year.
Below, you’ll find our take on crucial web development trends for 2018. This time, we’re focusing more on what kind of technology will matter on both front- and back-end.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
In February 2017, Adobe reported that AMP pages accounted for 7 percent of all web traffic for top publishers in the United States.
But do you know what AMP actually is?
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source project designed to improve the performance of web content and advertisements. It’s being sponsored by Google, and supported by Bing, Twitter, Pinterest, Baidu, and more. AMP is considered a competitor to Facebook’s Instant Articles.
The big idea – you search for something in Google, click on the result, and have it instantly displayed on your phone’s screen.
Does it work? Yes.
Do users like it? Yes, according to 9 to 5 Google’s poll.
If implemented thoroughly, AMP can offer benefits like improved site speed, better user experience, more revenue, better visibility in search results, and being ahead of the competition in a thought-leadership space.
What’s the downside, then?
Progressive Web Applications (PWA)
Back in 2017, we published an extensive article on Progressive Web Applications and how they differentiate from native apps.
In 2018, PWAs are still crucial to modern-day web development. The whole concept is based on the evolution of the Internet, especially with the mass adoption of HTML 5.
The truth is, PWAs are capable of providing similar functionality and seamless user experience to traditional native apps – but it’s all done from within your mobile browser.
Before we dive more into the possibilities of the technology, let’s just say that Flipkart saw a 70 percent increase in conversions and tripled the time spent on the site after introducing a Progressive Web App. Their re-engagement rate went 40 percent higher. What’s more, their data usage became three times lower. Flipkart and Google even made a whole case study to demonstrate PWA’s strengths.
Single Page Applications (SPA)
Because it works inside a browser, an SPA doesn’t need the page to reload when in use. Facebook, Gmail, Github (which is more of a “hybrid” than an SPA), and Google Maps are a few examples of popular Single-Page Applications.
Talk to us to find out more about the benefits of SPA technology.
Facebook is the best example of how an SPA works. The majority of the interactions you see on the page happen without the site reloading. If you open the conversations menu or click on a photo, your browser gets sent to a new URL, but the page doesn’t refresh. Once you close the picture, you return to the original URL without the website getting reloaded.
Chatbots and Online Support
I guess it’s already full-blown – but still, at In’saneLab we believe 2018 will bring even more popularity to proper online support.
With organizations losing about $62 million every year due to poor customer service, talking to your potential customers most conveniently (for THEM, not for you) will be crucial.
And we’re close to the industry, too. One of our clients is LiveHelpNow, an Inc. 5000 company, and one of the most popular chat support solutions on the market.
We’re also working with HelpSquad, for which we’ve prepared an online training game for support agents.
If misused, they will drive your readers insane.
If used correctly, they can be a crucial tool for driving traffic and conversions.
Push notifications are one of the most influential solutions for engagement within mobile apps. The key here is to provide value with each push notification. Don’t overuse them.
If you have a fresh sale coming up, want to inform about sports score, sudden weather change, or something of similar, real-time value for your user, using push notification will be the appropriate solution.
At In’saneLab, we’re using push notifications for automating our readership. As we invest time and effort into crafting our content, we try and provide our visitors at least a couple on-site distribution solutions. Push is one of them – and it sends out notifications each time we publish a blog post.
Imagine the most basic – but aesthetic – website.
What’s the upside? It’s simple, secure, it loads quickly, and is absolutely not expensive to develop. Hell, it’s cheap!
Of course static and straightforward doesn’t mean that your website will be boring. You can invest in more content to keep it interesting for your visitors!
A great example here (although it does have some background parallax) comes from Atlassian: You Waste a Lot of Time at Work.
RAIL: User-Centric Performance
This can be big! RAIL has been present on the development scene since 2015, but it’s still a relatively new concept.
The acronym stands for:
- Response, which measures how quickly reaction happens after any input
- Animation, which focuses on keeping up with the ideal rate of 60 frames per second for visual animations, scrolling, dragging, etc.
- Idle, which is essential for work being done in the background
- Load, which needs to happen under 1 second for the initial paint
RAIL aims to help web developers and designers ensure a good user experience. How is it achieved? Here (based on Smashing Magazine’s report):
- RAIL breaks down UX into critical actions (like tap, drag, scroll, and so on)
- RAIL provides performance goals for said actions
- RAIL offers a structure for thinking about performance
RAIL came into existence as a way of user-centric approach to talking about performance goals.
You can measure everything nowadays, and everyone is doing it differently. RAIL is trying to somehow standardize this so that we can develop websites with more… backbone.
Even with a minimalistic website, motion UI can be something that will differentiate your design. It has to be both beautiful and useful. Diving into motion with a sole purpose of having it is pointless.
Web users of today don’t want overcomplicated things. They want something that’s intuitive and lets them find what they’re looking for quickly.
The less clutter, the better.
When motion UI is appropriately implemented and is based on an extensive UX/UI research, it can do wonders for usability and conversion rate on your page.
In last year’s 16 Web Design Trends to Expect in 2017 article, we were writing about our animated project that we were working on at the time.
You know what?
Functional Programming: What Is It?
On principle, functional code is more predictable than object-oriented or imperative code. It’s also easier to test.
With functional programming (FP), you use pure functions while avoiding shared state, mutable data, and side-effects.
Wikipedia defines functional programming as “a style of building structure and elements” of a software.
Functional programming can be understood as a paradigm that focuses on computing results, not performing actions.
Long story short, functional languages are merely using a different philosophy compared to other types of languages.
Browser extensions are becoming increasingly popular. If you search for “extensions in 2018” you’ll find a massive article at Tom’s Guide titled 41 Best Google Chrome Extensions.
One browser, and 41 best extensions.You can immediately tell that the demand is there.
There’s a dark side to this phenomena too, though. For several years now, browser extensions users are being alerted of potential privacy issues. With the kind of permissions it requires, extensions can read a lot of what you’re doing online.
But that’s not the entire issue. You need to be aware of extensions being sometimes sold to the highest bidder – and sometimes, the highest bidder is a malware company.
All the problems aside, extensions are doing a really good job with almost anything you can think of.
Real-Time Web Apps
With a real-time web app, information is transmitted between users and the server instantaneously. The connection between users’ browser and the server is kept open via web socket (usually). A client doesn’t have to ask for information from the server, as he has to do with traditional web apps.
The obvious examples of real-time web apps would be browser-based multiplayer games or chat apps, such as Skype (web) and Facebook Messenger.
The tech behind the software depends on your goal.
If you were to build a new chat app, then – according to our development team – socket.io would be the optimal solutions.
It won’t do you any good when you’re building an online game, though. In such case, you’ll need an engine. Elixir might be a good choice, or buffed up node.js. With a sophisticated project, you need not only real-time transfer of information, but also a proper computing cloud.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
VR and AR are changing how we interact with websites.
Also, venture capitalists think that virtual and augmented realities will become huge. Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance announced a $10 billion-worth of investment in VR and augmented reality projects.
It’s important to distinct VR and AR, though. It’s like Mateusz described in Augmented Reality in 2018. ‘Black Mirror’ Is Not That Far from Real Life:
Augmented reality is not to be confused with virtual reality (VR). These are two completely separate things. VR refers to accessing a virtual reality through a VR device. The most notable examples here are Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Google Daydream View, and Samsung Gear VR.
VR technology immerses you in a complete virtual world. It’s used mostly for gaming and, to some extent, for watching videos. VR does not have much to do with the real world – but it can deliver on the promise of v-commerce.
AR, on the other hand, has a strong connection with the real world. It simply enhances it. Easy, right?
The market for both AR and VR should be worth $162 billion by 2020.
Web Development Trends in 2018: Key Takeaways
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) can do wonders for your conversion rate
- Progressive Web Applications (PWA) can provide a similar functionality to those of native apps
- Single Page Applications (SPA) are one of the most comfortable solutions for the user
- Chatbots and proper online support are expected to gain even more traction this year
- Educate yourself on push notifications before implementing them; you may easily annoy your users
- Statis websites are The Thing in 2018
- RAIL acronym stands for Response, Animation, Idle, and Load
- Motion UI can make the most boring site interesting
- Functional programming is on the rise
- There’s no end to the popularity of browser extensions – but they can also pose a security threat
- Real-time web apps: maybe it’s time to invest in one?
- Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can turn a conventional website into an immersive experience