1. Mobile First
2017 was the year that more people browsed the web on their mobile phones rather than using a traditional desktop computer. This means that your website should be more focused than ever before on the mobile audience this year and beyond.
Mobile design has matured. The roll-out burger has become established, minimising the menu for the small screen. Icons are much more economical in terms of space and have become so common that the user has no trouble understanding them. UX issues have become easier to identify and fix with micro-interactions getting you immediate feedback on your users’ actions.
2. Website Speed Optimisations
Google will soon begin penalising websites which load slowly on smartphones and tablets. Slow websites will need to improve their load times in order for users to obtain the information they want as quickly as possible.
Google gives fast-loading web pages preferential placement in search results, but for now that only happens when people search on desktop computers. Starting in July 2018, Google has stated that particularly slow websites will be penalised in search results. (Source: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search.html]).
3. Replacing Flash with HTML5
If you still use Flash on your website, 2017 is the final call for you to change this. The best alternative is the well-known HTML5. The major weakness of Flash technology is the incompatibility with mobile devices. Mobile use has now taken over traditional desktop use in terms of everyday activity, so an enormous amount of traffic is lost just because of the outdated technology.
HTML5-based videos and games will reach a wider audience. And the general tendency is: HTML5 is becoming the universal format for all types of digital content.
4. HTTPS/SSL will be used as Standard
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is used for establishing an encrypted connection between the server your website is hosted on and the users’ browser. An SSL certificate ensures data integrity, encryption, and authentication. When your website uses an SSL certificate, the user will see a green padlock. Some SSL certificates also display your company’s name in green for better recognition. With an SSL installed, the web address will display ‘https’ instead of ‘http’.
In 2018, it’s recommended to go for an SSL certificate – even if your website doesn’t handle sensitive client data. With https, you’re more secure and rank higher for target keywords than http websites.