The start of a new decade traditionally brings remarkable changes in technology and styles. Trends in 2020 may be notably different from those in 2019. Small businesses that pay attention to what is likely to shift in the next year or two will gain an edge over competitors and show their customers they are current with a new era.
In the next year, around 80% of new technology will implement artificial intelligence in some way. We already see some of this through smart speakers, autonomous vehicles and new security. One of your most significant tasks as a business owner is keeping abreast of different technology and how it impacts your specific industry.
Now is the time to prepare for January 2020 and tweak your online presence with a more modern edge. Start by updating your website with a handful of the coming changes. You can always weave in new elements as the year goes along.
1. Implement Dark Mode
Have you noticed the move toward dark themes online? This shift is due to an iOS update that allows users to view their phones in light or dark mode. Some people think it is easier to read on a smaller screen in dark mode. However, there are many factors to consider, such as how much text and what fonts you use on your site. Still, offering a dark mode option or giving it a try is a good idea as you move into 2020. Mobile users may come to expect this design trend. Only embrace this shift if it makes sense for your business, though. If you have a light and airy brand personality, dark mode isn’t for you.
Don Q Rum uses a dark transparent bar across the top of their website. Even the colors chosen further down the page have a darker tinge to them with white text overlaid on top. Images have a gray shadow around the edges and are slightly darkened.
2. Gather Testimonials
Customer testimonials are one of those additions to your website that never go out of style. However, they may become even more critical in the next few years. New businesses open every day. Consumers don’t know who they can and can’t trust. They have no reason to believe anything you say unless they know you personally. Fortunately, testimonials show you are reliable and give a bit of insight into what others think of you.
The average person is far more likely to believe what one of your customers says than what you say about yourself. You can also use words of praise to highlight what you do best and your unique value proposition.
3. Add Wide Videos
Videos on websites have been growing in popularity for years. Around 85% of marketing professionals say videos are an excellent way to grab user attention online. A new fad that has cropped up recently is video that takes up the entire width of the viewing screen. These videos play in the background to give the user a sense of the message, but then have text or other elements on top.
Summers & Zim’s features a full-width video playing in the background as a hero image. The video highlights a neighborhood they serve, one of their technicians working with a customer and a shot of their van driving to a job. They position their tagline and call to action on top of the video. The video works because it grabs user attention from the minute the person lands on their homepage.
4. Horizontal Scrolling
As more and more people access the internet via their mobile devices, web designers are rethinking the way users move through their sites. Swiping means adding elements such as horizontal scrolling. It’s still a bit startling for desktop users to scroll down, only to move sideways, but the effect is much smoother on a smartphone. Expect to see more and more sites moving to a horizontal scrolling model in the coming year.
5. Immersive Experiences
Younger generations are looking for enriching experiences, not things. Many millennials and Gen Zers state they are not interested in material possessions, but want to live life to the fullest. Marketing agencies use elements such as the fear of missing out to attract new customers. One way of engaging people on your website is to make it more immersive. With higher-resolution screens and faster load times, elements such as three-dimensional photos and animated images are popping up all across the internet
Old Street Records is a venue in London that features live music and cocktails. Note the way the hero image on their landing page is 3D. As you move slightly, the image moves and the people’s arms seem almost to jump out at you. They’ve also added animations as you scroll down the page. This effect grabs the user and keeps them interested in the content.
The trends you embrace will directly impact your target audience. Spend time getting to know your buyers and what they prefer, and you’ll have a better idea of which changes you should make to your website and which ones to ignore. Trends come and go, so focus on the tried-and-true technique of engaging customers first. Then, add other elements as your budget and time allow.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.