Author: Steven Riggs, Managing Partner
It’s time for our mid-year check-in on what’s hot in website development. As we’re in the dog days of July, I checked in with a couple of our website developers for their thoughts on these sizzling trends.
No surprise here! AI-Generated Images Lead the List
Topping Digital Information World’s top 10 list is AI-generated images. Touted for being search engine friendly and helping to improve your posts’ Google ranking, an AI generator tool “makes it easier for people without any design experience, to create compelling graphics.”
RCG Website Development Director Bryan Klugh shared, “We use AI in conjunction with web images every day. If an image doesn’t exist, AI can make it. If an image is too small, AI can make it larger. This has been the best productivity tool for web development in 2023.”
This benefit noted it’s important to consider looming concerns around authenticity and brand personalization when considering AI-generated images. As noted in this recent New York Times article, “Artificial intelligence allows virtually anyone to create complex artworks… or lifelike images that blur the line between what is real and what is fiction. Plug in a text description, and the technology can produce a related image — no special skills required.” When wanting something unique and personal, consider another trend noted on Digital Information World’s top 10 list; the growing use of hand-drawn illustrations and custom graphics. As noted, in addition to making your brand identity distinct and effectively communicating your messages, illustrations have the benefit of loading faster than images and improving your web page’s loading speed.
Consider Colors, Contrasts, and Motion
Other design trends include the use of:
- non-traditional, more unique asymmetrical layouts that increase visual interest,
- bold and contrasting colors schemes, gradients, and duotones that make a visual impact,
- minimalist designs that focus on simplicity,
- dark-themed websites that reduce eye strain and enhance user experience,
- micro-interactions with subtle elements that enhance user engagement,
- voice user interactions (VUI) that respond to voice commands, and
- three dimensional (3D) elements that add depth and create an interactive.
As we discussed in our 2022 blog on website development trends, using motion UI graphics continues to be a go-to for impactful and engaging storytelling. “I like to incorporate different animations, transitions, and soundless videos to enhance the user experience and create a visually appealing and interactive website,” shared RCG Website Developer Kyle Amaker.
More Focus on Cybersecurity
Long a best practice for website development, it’s important to add a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to authenticate your website’s identity and enable an encrypted connection. This security protocol creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. “SSL certificates are a must. It’s no longer an option as Google will mark your website unsafe as well as hurt your rankings,” shared Kyle.
Addressing cybersecurity concerns is also an ongoing challenge and requires that website developers apply proactive security or a security-by-design method that thwarts or lessens entry points for cyberattacks.
“Cyberattacks are on the rise and we need to keep updating our servers and system,” notes Bryan. In addition to building the website in a way that resists cyberattacks, “we employ tactics like disabling XML RPC in WordPress and putting all clients behind multiple firewalls and a threat mitigating system. Additionally, we enforce strong passwords and have added a CAPTCHA to the login page of all websites.”
Website Architecture Matters
Beyond the basics of ensuring your website is mobile responsive, trends relating to the structure of your website include using serverless architecture and considering the use of APPs — such as accelerated mobile page apps and progressive web apps.
Serverless architecture as explained in this PR News Wire trends article “refers to a computer architecture that enables programmers to create and run programs without having to provide, set up, or manage infrastructure.” According to Bryan, that’s been a game changer in boosting productivity. “We have gone to a completely cloud-based server architecture that allows our systems to scale with the client. This saves time when provisioning sites and allows every site to maintain top speed and responsiveness. We can now run bulk patches and update environments on the fly,” he notes.
With user experience as the priority, FreeCodeCamp.org explains the benefit of implementing a progressive web application (PWA) as it “unites the advantages of both web and mobile apps into a single software product.” Kyle shares that he “likes using a PWA app as it functions as a mobile app but it’s an enhanced website. The user can add the icon to the home screen just like an app. PWAs can also be used as a mobile (digital) business card.”
An accelerated mobile page app is a mobile-friendly web page that loads instantly. Kyle explains, “It’s a different way to display mobile content.” It can have the look and feel of a social media page (e.g. Facebook Stories) and the app can easily be shared from your website.
Stay in the Know
As digital trends change rapidly, our RCG website development team members keep their fingers on the pulse of the industry and apply best practices to benefit your web user preferences, experience, interactions, and engagement. Follow us to stay in the know.