For the last few years, we’ve taken a moment at the beginning of the year to predict the important trends in website design/development and digital marketing industry that we expect to prevail for the upcoming year. As marketers, it is crucial to stay on top (and ahead) of the trends to make sure that we’re providing our clients with the latest and greatest techniques and strategies.
So, without further ado, here are the trends we see for 2017:
Implementing good web security has always been important for sites that process sensitive information. However, in the past few years, our society has become increasingly aware of privacy concerns and many folks in our field now agree that the web is heading in the direction of ALL sites being transmitted over HTTPS. I think this will continue to be a very important trend in 2017 and I think that we’ll see more than 50% of all websites using HTTPS before the end of the year.
Let’s face it: great content should always be a trend. After all, without great content, what value is your website really providing? We think 2017 will continue to see brands using their websites and social media platforms to provide interesting and valuable content to their audience to keep them engaged. And even though not a new trend, we think video content will continue to appeal most and garner the best engagement.
When Google introduced AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) in 2015, we were excited by the possibility and optimistic that this was a great move forward for the mobile web. After all, who wouldn’t want nearly-instantaneous display on mobile? However, in recent months some doubt has been cast (in our minds, at least) over the future of this once-promising technology. We’ve read many articles that point out some of AMP’s more critical flaws. Most of it has to do with the user experience and how the pages are served and displayed in your browser. We’re still optimistic that Google will find a way forward with AMP and we think AMP will see deeper adoption in 2017.
Even as blazing-fast broadband internet and speedy (and getting speedier!) wireless connectivity is now ubiquitous in our society, I still believe that a focus on site speed is an important trend that will continue through 2017 and beyond. As speed increases, so does the expectations of website visitors. To help with this, I think we’ll continue see more prevalent usage of SVG images, mobile-first design, and CDN (Content Delivery Network) usage. I also think we’ll start to see great adoption of PHP 7 and HTTP/2 in 2017, both of which will greatly aid in page speed.
In August 2016, Google announced that they will begin using the existence of interstitials as a ranking signal. What I inferred from this was that if you run a website where you have programmed a popup or banner to appear over the page content, Google may not rank your site as highly as it would otherwise. As proponents of good user experience, we think this is a great move by Google and we think this may turn the tide on the over-usage of this annoying design strategy.
We’re excited about all of the change happening in our industry right now and we can’t wait to see what other changes occur that we haven’t anticipated. All of these changes support improving the web to make it a faster, more secure, and more engaging place.
About the author:
Partner, Director of Technology
Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.