As a web developer myself, I try my best to stay on top of the best web development practices and trends, to keep my work relevant. Some trends can’t even be called that since they’re pretty much here to stay. On the other hand, sometimes it proves difficult to keep track of all emerging trends with their volatile popularity. Here is a little summary of my research into this year’s top trends.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

Long gone are the days when responsive web design was the emerging trend back in 2012. A “mobile first” design and accurate implementation of CSS3 media queries have gone from trend to industry standard and practically mandatory for any website. Progressive web applications come as a logical stage of web development evolution.

A term first heard back in 2015, coined by Frances Berriman at Google, “progressive web apps” are still one of the most impactful trends in web development in 2019. They make the website browsing experience more user-friendly by making websites resemble native mobile apps.

“Inevitably, all I’ll be remembered for is naming Progressive Web Apps.”

Frances Berriman

PWAs are designed to look, feel, and function as a native mobile app, adapting to the user’s device browser and specifications. Users are prompted to install the web app on their device and it is downloaded the way a native app would be.

According to recent studies, 52.2% of all website traffic in 2018 was generated by mobile devices, so it’s fair to say there is a justifiable need for PWA’s.

Accelerated Mobile pages (AMP)

Google’s introduction of the AMP framework back in 2015 was met with harsh criticism. Several parties made their concerns known and even asked Google to “kill” the project.

Looking into its definition, accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are stripped-down HTML copies of existing webpage content modified according to Google’s proprietary format. It basically makes the web page load faster also by restricting the use of JavaScript – the only exception being AMP’s own scripts. Now you can see where the controversy might lie.

One could argue its popularity is due more to its controversy than to what the technology brings to the table. Nevertheless, AMPs are still a very hot topic and considered an emerging trend.

In the information-hungry, media-flooded and ever-mutable world that is the internet, a web page’s loading speed is an important feature. So much so, Google has made it a ranking factor. Online conversion rate of any given business greatly relies on it.

The question you might be asking right now is “Should I adopt AMP then?”. Well, the AMP project isn’t yet fully developed as it’s still addressing web developers’ issues with implementation. In my opinion, as important as speed is, your site’s UX might suffer and your business will still have conversion issues.

Single Page Application (SPA)

SPAs are exactly what it sounds like, a web page or application that works on the client side loading only one page and dynamically rewriting the same with JavaScript to navigate through the content. For this particular reason, websites become a lot faster and as we mentioned before, speed is crucial to a business’ conversion rate.

The best and more efficient way to develop and deploy a SPA is undoubtedly by using a JavaScript framework like AngularJS, React.JS or Vue.JS. In addition to the versatility of reusable backend code that saves you a buck or two in development of a multi-platform application, SPAs are also extremely easy to debug in Chrome with extensions like Augury, React Developer Tools and Vue.JS devtools.

All this being said, SPAs are not without flaw and one that stands out is how tricky SEO becomes when you only have one page for indexation. But there are tricks to work around this and it shouldn’t be a deterring factor when choosing between SPA and MPA (multiple page application) – although, in my opinion, SPAs are more beneficial to SaaS (Software as a Service) projects or social networks.

Voice Search Optimization

AI technology behind voice search has improved significantly over the past 6 years with a 20% increase in its accuracy, bringing it up to 95% as of 2017 (read the report here) – it’s almost as accurate as humans.

Voice assistants are ubiquitous in the present day and people are using them more than ever for searches and commands. This is why, if you’re a business owner and you’re serious about local SEO, voice search optimization should be on your to-do list. In fact, considering all the reasons people use voice assistants, if you have any kind of online presence for promotional purposes you should definitely look into it.

As you can guess, voice searches differ from regular typed searches in the sense that they are mainly structured as questions. Optimizing your content includes:

  • updating your Google My Business Page,
  • speeding up your website,
  • creating content that answers questions and has conversational keyword phrases,
  • regularly testing with voice search keeping track of the generated results and where your website ranks compared to competitors.

Responsive Web Design

Like I’ve mentioned in the beginning of this post, responsive web design is not a new web trend, but it most definitely is worth mentioning. Simply put, a website needs to be user-friendly on a smartphone. Mobile-first design is the common practice nowadays and rightfully so, considering users tend to avoid bad mobile experiences.

Referring to the study I mentioned previously, more than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices and relying on how your website may look on a smartphone without the proper layout adjustments, is not a good strategy.

If you’re looking into creating a new website for your business or re-designing an existing one, keep in mind these technical requirements:

  • build your website with a fluid grid;
  • the text on your pages needs to be readable without zooming;
  • the images should also be flexible;
  • your content must fit any given device’s screen so there’s no horizontal scrolling;
  • use CSS media queries to adapt styling for all screen sizes.

If you have any doubts about the responsiveness of your website you can always test it with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test – it should give you valuable pointers.

Also, if you’re looking for a web developer or agency to help you with this task this article will guide you on how to pick one.

Key Takeaways

If you were to look for a pattern in these trends, you’d most likely notice an increasing concern for the improvement of the user’s mobile experience and UI/UX overall. The general objective is to streamline interoperability between the client side and server side, optimizing page-loading speeds and user interface functionality.

As far as businesses are concerned, they can no longer afford to have an outdated online presence. Websites are no longer just an “online business card”, but an interactive platform where the essence of a company’s activity is showcased and, for most, the main point of interaction with clients.

1 Comment

Gunilla Torrin Mortensen · August 9, 2020 at 8:42 pm

Hey! It is like you understand my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, just like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some images to drive the content home a bit, besides that, this is informative blog. A wonderful read. I will definitely return again. Gunilla Torrin Mortensen

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