Categories: Thoughts
January 10, 2019
| On 10 months ago

OUR TAKE ON DIGITAL TRENDS FOR 2019

While saying goodbye to 2018, we thought it might be useful to reflect on what we think should be on radar of our teams and clients. Here’s a quick recap of all we’ve seen in the last year that has a potential to supercharge your next year.

Digital Trends for 2019:

Motion UI, Colour, Enriched Web Designs

With every website starting to look quite alike, it’s really important for brands to stand out from the crowd. Responsive design and flat design combined with a sheer volume of ready-made themes for most popular platforms are driving this phenomenon. In 2019, the key differentiator, in our opinion, will be the addition of small user experience features and making your websites visually engaging and extremely simple to use. Check out the latest trends for 2019 designs here: https://merehead.com/blog/top-web-design-trends-2019/

Page Speed – PWA / AMP Hybrid sites
We think we’ll see a rise in PWA / AMP Hybrid sites. Although quite expensive to develop, these can bring significant improvements into how your website loads, especially for sites that have a lot of information and imagery. These formats can dramatically improve click through rates and later on conversions.

However, we think it’s a little bit too early for e-commerce sites to be upgrading to full hybrid sites, purely because of the sheer effort required to make a custom amp template that also supports PWA.  We think this is more for brand catalogue sites that are done in custom templates and could benefit from standardised approach to writing HTML code and additional benefits that PWA features such as offline support bring to the table.

Increase in Mobile Traffic Due to Mobile First Indexing

With Mobile First indexing in full swing, we can expect all websites’ traffic to slowly be dominated by smartphones.  In order to retain your Google rankings as well as simplify the purchase journey, brands need to invest heavily in speed optimisation. With technologies such as AMP and Google Lighthouse, you can get a pretty good feel of how quick your website loads on an average 3G connection device. The basic rule of thumb here is, if it’s above 2 seconds, it’s probably slow.

Headless CMS Implementations
With headless CMS being a relatively new concept, we think it will be gaining more momentum for omni-channel brands that require a unified approach to content management published on multiple platforms. Having said that there’s quite a few platform agnostic headless implementation for e-commerce. Our favourite so far is the Vue Storefront that currently supports Magento Shopify and a host of others. Based on popular Vue JavaScript framework, it allows brands to build another PWA storefront that’s very quick without using the name Magento as your rendering engine.  If your brand is investing in a custom theme in 2019, it will make sense to look into implementing one of the solutions available.

GDPR Round 2 and Consequently Cyber Security
In May of 2018, we had the GDPR come into play with loads of brands completely unprepared for it quite possibly till this day. However, since this is an ongoing exercise, we most likely will see another round of GDPR compliance testing around April. This is generally a good thing since the second round will be heavily based on experiences of large brands that have already gone ahead and done the right thing.  Smaller brands will be taking a copy and paste approach to majority of the data entry points as well as the privacy policy that most likely saves a lot of money.

Low Code Development Apps
Another trend that we might see in the coming year is Low Code Development Apps, which are effectively a drag and drop interfaces that allow you to mimic a workflow without writing a single line of code. The most prominent one among these, at least to us since we’re on G suite cloud, is Google App Maker. Not only does it deeply integrate into other Google services, but also it actually allows you to put any work that you currently created in, let’s say a Google spreadsheet, into a nice neat app that has a structure validation and many other great features.

More Structured Data
If you’re still not familiar with structured data, it’s about time that you got on the bandwagon, especially in the context of voice queries. Another recent development in Google results, it makes sense to provide that little bit of additional information that your website offers on each page and differentiate yourself by having rich snippets.

Ubiquitous Browser Based Push Notifications
Surely, you’ve seen a lot of website asking you for permission to display notifications, which is quite spamming by itself.  This is purely because a lot of websites are using this PWA feature as a blanket “me too” without quite understanding, nor explaining the benefits that this can bring to that user. However, if you were to ask the user to accomplish the task on the basis of doing something useful such as giving them an update that they actually really want, like a push of the delivery date, it is meaningful.

Changes in the CMS Market Share
With WordPress being the undeniable king of all open source CMS, we want to see many changes there. However, there will be quite a bit of shifting around the second tier of CMS installations especially in the .NET front with strong contenders like Sitefinity and Sitecore dominating the premium market CMS projects. There will also be a lot more projects based on SharePoint and the new D365 Portals, being pushed by clients’ internal IT managers.

Voice and Image Search Optimisation
With constant changes in SERP, we will experience a rise in enquiries related to voice as well as image results. If your marketing strategy does not include at least registering your brand name as a skill on Alexa and an action on Google Assistant, think again.  A simple skill or action (app) will set you back couple of hundred pounds, but somewhat guarantees use of that name for the foreseeable future.  You could pretty much think about this as a similar process to domain registration.

Chatbots Taking Our Jobs
We see more and more chatbots experiences taking care of the basic support customer services queries in websites chat windows.  There are some really impressive examples of chatbots working in favour of brands, but also some really bad ones.  With further development and frameworks available to make chatbots in a relatively easy fashion, we think this will be an area of growth.

More AI / ML

Don’t think this is going to be going away anytime soon. With more and more tools being available to create AI and machine learning workflows without specialist knowledge, our prediction would be exponential growth in this area.  With all major cloud providers such as Amazon Microsoft and Google heavily investing in AI FML specific equipment that allows faster processing of such work, this will only continue to grow. More and more brands will be looking into business intelligence as a growth tool in 2019.

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