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4 Trends In Website Development for 2018

matt-willson
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We asked our developers for their thoughts on what clients, designers and developers are looking for in websites in 2018.  Here are the top 4 requests:

1. CSS Transitions

From subtle animations that fade in parts of the webpage as you scroll, to eye-catching graph effects, these days both client and designers alike expect to see animation on a website, rather than just a “flat” page.

Using pre-built, CSS3- and javascript-based libraries (such as Animate.css or Animate It) it’s quick and easy to implement – in fact often, to challenge is to stop the designer (or client) getting carried away.

2.Scalable Vector Graphics (SVGs)

SVGs are now commonly used, especially for logos on websites, because unlike fixed PNGs or JPGs you don’t have to get the logo created at just the right size to look pin-sharp across all devices. The SVG scales, so that whether it’s a high-quality Apple retina screen or low quality monitor, the graphic will look its best.

They colour of SVGs can also be changed via CSS – so if you want a white-out version of the logo in certain circumstances, it can be achieved quickly and without the extra server overhead of loading in a new file.

3. Faster websites – caching, Cloudflare and Ajax-loading

Google has long banged the drum about data proving what users want, more than anything, is a fast website. Clients also find that slow websites are hard to content-manage (who wants to spend hours writing a simple blog post?). Worse, a website can easily crash and be unavailable due to the site being too complicated for the server it’s hosted on.

To speed a site up and reduce the likelihood of it crashing, caching is now standard practice. The quickest route for WordPress sites is to use a plugin such as WP Super Cache or W3TC. Alternatively, your host can help by installing Varnish Cache.

Another option – especially for sites with global audiences – is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as Cloudflare. It helps by hosting copies of files in different locations on the CDN’s own network of servers and using the closest of these to the user, to deliver the content. Essentially you’re “spreading the load”, meaning less demand on your own hosting server.

If a site is still struggling, you can reduce the number of queries a page makes to the database by using Ajax (short for “Asynchronous JavaScript + XML”). Helpful when you have a long page with lots of links – eg a News page – you use Ajax to load in content only when the customer scrolls down the page. Again you’re spreading the load, instead of making the website do everything immediately.

4. Sending website-generated email via a third party

Websites send email for a variety of reasons – form entries to the website owner, order confirmations to a buyer, reminder emails about subscriptions and many more. However the major mail services like Google and Microsoft often don’t trust website servers as mail senders (most email spam is generated by hacked servers), and so website-generated email often goes into spam, or worse is rejected by your email provider completely.

Using a third-party mail service such as Mailgun helps avoid these issues – as part of the setup, you make changes to your domain name settings that help email providers trust the sender, and emails are much more likely to arrive in inboxes.

Summary

So there you have it – four ways of making websites look better, load faster and communicate with users more effectively. All good reasons to spend a little extra time on a website.