5 WordPress Trends that Will Impact You in 2018

Looking ahead to the future is natural around the beginning of a new year, and this is especially true if you’re an avid WordPress user. The Content Management System continues to evolve at an ever-growing pace. In this piece, we’ll offer eight WordPress trends you can expect to see in 2018, how they might affect you, and how you can get onboard. We’ve ordered the trends from most to least likely, so let’s get started!

1. Design Office’s Rise in Mobile-First Philosophy

While ‘mobile-friendly’ has been a watchword of increasing importance over the last few years, 2018 will start to see more and more WordPress sites developed with the concept in mind. For the uninitiated, this means designing with a focus on mobile devices primarily. Over the next 12 months, we’ll see more designers optimizing for small screens, then scaling up.

The major reason for this move is (of course) the increase in the use of mobile devices for everyday tasks – including browsing the web. With over 60% of searches coming from mobile devices, it makes sense that developers will want to focus on these users.

2. Increased Security Involving HTTPS and Encryption

With security being a perennial concern for all website owners, it’s always at the forefront of any future WordPress enhancements. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is essentially a secure version of HTTP. The ‘secure’ part means that the data sent between your browser and the website you’re connected to is encrypted.

While larger sites have been somewhat slow to convert to HTTPS, both Google and WordPress have upped their efforts to get sites onboard. 2018 is set to be the transitional year for many site owners and hosts. What’s more, with the success of Let’s Encrypt, it’s now easier than ever to offer security for your visitor’s data.

HTTPS can be cumbersome to install, but Let’s Encrypt is a breeze to use. If you’d like to secure your website, firstly, check with your host as some are now offering certificates with their packages. However, if you’d like to manually install your certificate, Let’s Encrypt offer comprehensive guidelines for doing so.

3. Focus on Improving Microinteractions To Better Your Site

Interstitial anxiety is a term you might be hearing more often in 2018. It describes a temporary state of tension felt by a user after they trigger an action, and wait for a response. As such, delays caused by aspects such as loading times or latency issues could wreak havoc with your bounce rate.

In order to overcome this issue, microinteractions will come sharply into focus. In a nutshell, they’re animations or effects that indicate to the user something is happening on your site. There are plenty of examples you probably see on a regular basis including page load spinners, checkmarks when form fields are complete, and shopping cart confirmations. One example is the animated red circular arrow icon that appears when you update a plugin in WordPress:

By using microinteractions to reduce interstitial anxiety, you can improve the overall user experience, and hopefully reduce bounce rates. One simple method to incorporate them is to add a preloader animation via a suitable plugin. Alternatively, if you’re Divi user, you might want to try the Divi Switch plugin. This premium solution offers hundreds of customizations, and integrates superbly with the Divi Builder.

4. Design Office Encourage Video Headers To Make An Impact

Video headers are not a new concept in WordPress. They have a number of benefits – they’re attention-grabbing, they provide immediate exposure to a particular product, and they can also entertain. Given this, we’re betting on a likely spark in their popularity.

5. The Use of ‘Failure Mapping’ to Enhance the User’s Experience

Our next WordPress-related trend is failure mapping. This basically involves mapping out various user experiences, and finding potential flaws. Examples might be an unintuitive navigation menu or a confusing call to action. Of course, this undoubtedly will improve the user’s experience, particularly for those who are not your primary target. In fact, WordPress has guidelines on web accessibility that touches on this to some extent.

With more people online than ever before, we’re seeing an increase in the demographical range of users – for example younger children and older adults. These groups have varying levels of computer-literacy, are potentially more familiar with different applications, and have different viewpoints all-around. In a nutshell, by making your website suitable for only one type of user, you could be missing out on a larger readership and customer base.

It’s a complex concept, but to begin with failure mapping, map your visitors’ journey and look out for potential issues for a range of personas. Based on your overall observations, make changes as necessary. Don’t be surprised if you find that removing or combining certain elements seems like the right course of action. Simplifying and streamlining your site will typically make for a better user experience than adding more elements.

Our Conclusion

WordPress’ development is constantly evolving, and given this, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest trends. Missing out on what’s in store for 2018 could see you fall behind. Given some of the upcoming innovations, becoming an early adopter will be crucial for a modern-looking website. Contact Design Office to discuss your web marketing on 01270 252 106 or by email on info@designoffice.co.uk.