Founder of Suncoast Web Solutions

Neil McNulty

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Web Development Trends In 2017 Will Be Challenging And Exciting

Web development solutions are evolving at an ever increasing speed, reflecting not only major advances in technology, but also changes in customer expectations.

Along with those expectations comes the knowledge that competition in the marketplace is intense, and the customer is in the driving seat.

So, with 2017 underway, and major changes expected in SEO strategies this year, what trends can we expect to see in website design and development?

What’s Hot In 2017?

If we had to answer that in one sentence, we would say the most important website trend in 2017 would be one that enhances UX or User Experience.

In fact, website designers and developers should stick a huge Post It note on their computer saying Customer First!

That should be the general rule of thumb in both SEO strategies and web development on the Sunshine Coast in 2017. So let’s look at these trends in more detail.

Responsive Web Design

Yes, we said that last year, and probably the year before that, too, but it still applies! In a world where most people use their mobile device to search, responsiveness is more important than ever.

‘Mobile First’ will continue to be a key trend in 2017, and if the message didn’t get through in 2016, let’s hope everyone gets it now. In short, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it needs to be redeveloped. Simple as that.

And no, creating a second website for mobile users is not the answer. Google has made it really clear that single URLs will fare better in search.

Minimalist Design Takes Centre Stage

So what makes a website more responsive? Professional web development solutions, that’s what! The best websites will be those using sophisticated minimalist design for fast loading, backed by sensational coding.

Removing unnecessary elements from the site not only speeds up the process, but also enhances the UX. Consider screen size and visual appeal. Minimalist design is shown to improve both visitor retention and traffic.

Another way to speed up your website is to use Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). We know this can dramatically improve website performance so it’s likely to be another very popular trend in 2017.

Increase In AMP Predicted

AMP load up to 85% faster than regular pages and despite denials, we know Google is rewarding websites with AMP.

Here’s something else that will be trending this year – AI or Artificial Intelligence. We know SEO will be hugely affected by Google’s introduction of RankBrain last year, so clearly it will also impact website design.

In SEO terms, RankBrain allows Google to respond more accurately searches, which means better UX. In design terms, it opens up a whole new box of tricks to the developer.

More Interactive Interfaces

Bearing in mind how fickle users can be, we know that we have to not only attract them to the website, but also engage them, if we are to stand any chance of converting them. As a result we will see interactive websites trending this year.

As well as looking cool, buttons and links have to easy to use – even for the biggest hands. User interface technology is likely to see a lot of new ideas and innovations this year.

Expect to also see more lazy loading in website design in 2017. This is a very smart trend, for it enhances both website speed and user interface.

Lazy Loading Trending Now

Lazy loading basically holds off loading all graphics and content until they are needed/requested. And that ensures a far superior experience for users on slow internet connections.

Another trend for 2017 that has little to do with speed, but everything to do with UX, is a greater focus on both quality and originality. Using the same image over and over again just isn’t going to cut it anymore. And neither is fluffy repetitive content.

Website designers should expect an increasing demand from clients for something new and unique. From monochrome colour schemes and custom fonts to movement-based interfaces, our website world is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Content Will Be King

But here’s the thing – and the challenge: website design needs to be amazing and unique, but still minimalist, AND it needs to let the content shine in its own right. Quality content, that is!

That statement may give some website designers a nasty turn but let’s face it, what is the main reason people visit websites? Information and answers. Sure, once there, it’s both the content and the design that engages them. But the content has to be spot-on.

Traditionally, website designers, website developers and content creators have all worked quite independently. And each probably considers their input to be the most important. But in 2017, we will see all three working in collaboration a lot more.

From the client’s point of view, this is an advantage and without doubt, will benefit their business.

So, in conclusion, when we look at what’s ahead for web development on the Sunshine Coast in 2017, it’s going to be challenging, but rewarding. It could be one of the most exciting years in web development yet!

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Neil is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), but has an extensive knowledge of a wide variety of software, operating systems and web development processes.