Web development sure has come a long way from the animated light-up gifs of the mid 90’s. Everyone can be thankful for that. Modern development is a constantly changing set of rules and tools that can help your web project take off, or be a flop.
Here are the 18 most common elements of modern web development you should consider implementing in your next project.
Any content that can be customized to a user will enhance the user experience – and likely your conversions. Amazon does this with regularity for anyone that shops on their site. If you like product A, you’ll love product B.
One of the easiest ways this can be achieved is geographically. If a user lives in a certain city, you can show them certain content, while a user in another city or country sees something that relates more to them.
Tracking Exit Paths
You know the moment you decide to leave a page and you move the mouse up to the back button, or the “x” to leave? That can be tracked now. This is called “exit intent” and it’s catching fire in web development. Once you know someone is thinking about leaving, you can throw up a popup enticing them to stay. It’s much better than a simple “related content” tab at the bottom. It’s more intrusive – but only when you know they’re done reading.
Building in email lists and member’s only areas has been a staple of web development for years. It’s still extremely relevant today. We all know it costs less to retain a customer than to find a new one, so your web platform should continue to have customer nurturing as a focus. Building in email sign-up pop-ups are extremely popular.
If you think font type is just a topic for design nerds, think again. Typography is extremely important to modern development. Using large bold fonts can make or break the entire design completely on its own. If you’ve previously just selected fonts as an afterthought, think again.
Nothing captures attention like large, vibrant hero images. You only have seconds to capture a user’s attention when they land on a page –entice them in with something that speaks a thousand words. It’s probably the most popular element in modern development for this reason.
Video is getting more widespread as broadband connections are spreading. Modern codecs mean video is no longer a hindrance to load times. If the hero image is good, the background video is great. Talk about getting attention!
All the major companies have moved to flat design. Design was too complicated and getting out of control. Flat design simplified the user experience, and that was a good thing. You should be using it as well.
Content Management Systems
It’s rare to visit a site that doesn’t use some form of CMS these days. Wordpress, Drupal and Shopify are some of the more popular software in this area. It can drastically speed up development times, and cut costs in the process. When you don’t need to spend big on building framework, you can spend more on design.
Hidden Menu Navigation
Probably the most controversial modern development technique is the hidden menu, sometimes called a “hamburger menu” because it looks like a hamburger. There are differing opinions on this menu. Some feel it increases conversions, others see a decrease. Whether or not you use it will depend on your project.
This is a good time to mention A/B testing. Just like the hidden menu, you’ll want to test elements to see which ones perform best. If you can do this in a real time environment, you’ll get the most accurate data. Many modern CMS’s will allow this with various plug-ins and it’s never been easier.
Pintrest set the web on fire with cards – now they’re everywhere. You’ll likely be able to find a use for them on your site. They’re visually beautiful, great for UX, and often dynamic. Put them to use in your next project and you may be surprised at the results.
If there’s one thing every single website needs, it’s a blog. Heck, even Amazon’s nerdy AWS platform has one. It helps with traffic and personalizes your brand. Get one. Use it.
Topical Optimization SEO
This is the most popular trend in SEO. SEO is constantly changing, but developers should be doing everything they can to ensure your website benefits from Google’s topical optimization standards. Titles and tags should revolve around topics, and be done the way people speak. Use a service like Grab My Essay to write content for you if you’re not sure how to achieve topical conversation.
Large product pictures and videos demoing a product should be front and center in your development process. It helps with conversions, and the user experience. Gone are the days of putting features and benefits first. It’s all about the visuals.
What’s old is new again. Vintage Modernism isn’t just taking something old and slapping it on the site, it’s creating look for the entire brand with roots in a previous timeline. This means you use elements for inspiration, rather than simply coping the exact format. Some older design strategies won’t work today, so it’s about using elements that meet the look, but placed in a modern UX environment.
This is so obvious; it probably shouldn’t be on the list. Gone are the days of creating a desktop site AND a mobile site. Or worse: not creating mobile at all. Responsive design is a must.
It’s hard to find a website that doesn’t use some form of icons today. It’s best if you can standardize them – from social media to product highlight visuals. They come in all types. Flat Icon is probably the most popular.
Social Media Integration
Integrating social media doesn’t just mean slapping a twitter icon on your site. It’s about adding Facebook comments, allowing people to share your content from your site across social platforms, and it’s about creating social specific content. Social media is one of the top ways to get discovered – make sure you’re taking full advantage of it.
Modern development is more than just following the trends, it’s about best practices. Following this list will point you in the right direction even if some of the items don’t apply.