As we reach the end of 2017 our team has a look at the biggest trends in digital for 2018.
Take a look at what we predict that the next 12 months will bring - from tech, to web design to development.
Thomas Rumbold - Production Director
Voice hits maturity
Voice technologies are far from new - but they're just about becoming useful. With the latest versions of Siri and Alexa marking the beginning of mass market adoption of voice as an interface, consumer confidence has grown sharply - and we’re now finding users considering voice search both useful and pretty cool - without being annoying or creepy. This has got a lot to do with fairly radical overhauls in the way that the technology works, and as such, it’s now much more robust and reliable than it’s ever been. We’ll generally see voice being used specifically for local contextual search - research so far concludes on the idea that people are more than three times more likely to use voice for searches specific to their locality as opposed to broader, more general topics - where text searches can be made up of anything.
GDPR & the Internet
2018's rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation represents a fairly radical shift in the way that companies and individuals handle consumer data. It’s not a guide - it’s a mean, serious set of policies - and it comes with pretty hefty punitive measures designed to make the business community fall in line - at risk of pretty huge fines and consequences for non-compliance.
The Internet is changing - we’ll see the most evolved versions of discussion on privacy, cyber security and net neutrality that we’ve been faced with yet - particularly given the political and economic climate of 2016/2017. Fun stuff.
James Dellar: Creative director
Branding for a digital experience
The way brands entice and engage with customers is becoming a ‘digital first’ experience. Because social media and online advertising play a large part in a customer first engagement, a brand needs to be bold, vibrant, and eye catching with a dominant use of a ‘digital inspired’ colour palette. With brands like Instagram, Spotify, Dropbox and “someone” all having more vibrant logo updates over recent years there’s a transition to thinking about how your brand colour is seen on multiple screen resolutions and colour gamuts instead of how it should be seen within the traditional media. While existing media is of course still important, more and more brands are trying to stand out within a field of different app icons, email newsletters, social media, and it’s becoming more and more important to think about your digital representation and then think about your print colour palette.
Digitising the office experience
The way a customer interacts with your brand doesn’t stop when your customer gets to your office. With the introduction of IOT (internet of things) devices becoming readily available, they can assist the client texperience, for example getting traffic updates to get back to the office from a meeting. The introduction of Alexa for business and other voice technologies will mean an uptake in smart offices/meeting rooms becoming the norm as it allows you and your company to excite and engage with your clients in new ways that don’t involve a standard device.
Fani Cail: Designer
The days of conversational AI are still in their infancy with the use of bots like Alexa and Sir and we will see it rise in 2018. This is a real opportunity for brands to build a dialogue with their users and consumers. Bots will allow small and medium businesses to give answers to their customers with the use of natural language processing and machine learning. Chatbots and voice technology will interact with us being more natural, empathic, intuitive and human, delivering clear and targeted messages. This real-time customer engagement communications could decrease call volume by 50%, increase customer satisfaction and experience with fast and accurate problem solving.
AI in business
AI will also become more integrated and less visible to the user in every day applications, acting more like a personal assistant. AI could also allow business to target their users better and serve them with what they want by sending them meaningful offers and messages through the relevant channels. Amazon has set the bar when it comes to getting the personal store front right, but it doesn’t stop there. For example, Narrative Science, a natural language generator, has an ability to produce written stories within seconds based on Google analytics. In that way, AI will be a key to conversion and this will be true mostly for e-commerce.
AI in design
Regarding the creative scene involved in brand experiences, it is most likely we will still need designers. Even if AI will fasten the process of design increasing infinity of colour, images, styles combinations as seen with Logojoy which offers an AI-based logo design service, also in automating tasks, designers will still be here tomorrow. UX tasks are still complex and require an ability to understand the needs and behaviours of the users.
AI is still a long way to understand what people could say or do. In the same way, visual designers bring an understanding of a culture, emotions and connotations with meaning which could not be yet reproduced by AI.
George Hadfield: Producer
Google's Rich Results
One of Google’s objectives for 2018 is to reduce the amount of time spent on their search results page, wanting users to find the information they’re looking for more quickly. Outside of macro trends such as being mobile friendly, using HTTPS, and having fast web pages - it’s important that sites in 2018 are using rich(er) content and structured data.
Using structured data to mark up content, you’re able to help Google recognise its context for display more in its search results - ultimately giving better distribution of your content to users from search. Certainly a great opportunity to really stand out in search results and attract more targeted users to your site.
Google has released a new structured data testing tool called ‘Rich Results’ which allows you to test all data sources on your on your webpages. Currently there’s only support for recipes, jobs , movies and courses, but expect to see added support for other rich results during 2018.
Eik Hunter: Front-end developer
With cryptocurrencies on the rise Blockchain, more businesses will start to understand the benefits as we move further into the digital. It is making waves in many industries already, including payments, contracts, cloud storage, real estate and brokerage and is definitely set to do more in 2018.
Following on from Blockchain, it will become more apparent and imperative to keep your wits about you in terms of cybersecurity. 2017 has been consumed by negative news in terms of companies failing consumers in ways that consumers are just starting to understand. As large digital companies such as Facebook and Google testify at open congressional hearings to close out the year, the public conversation will move to privacy and a renewed focus, as people will start to become more aware of its importance.
Dan Gamble: Lead front-end developer
With the explosion of Bitcoin last year i think more people are starting to sit up and take notice of what a Crypto currency is. I don't think Bitcoin will be the currency that people will embrace but i do think Crypto currencies will become more prominent in our day to day lives
Let us know which trends you think we should watch in 2018 in the comments!