The digital world is ever-evolving - and it's our job to keep up with what's on the horizon. We've asked our heads of department to predict how they see their industry progressing next year; and it seems there's plenty to look forward to!
Design & UX – James, Creative Director
A continued trend for 2021 will be further use of motion design. Why would you use static elements, when they can move to help draw attention and add a new layer of polish to web pages? The key will be limiting their use, so they’re more effective, less will indeed, be more.
Given the uncertain future of lockdowns and the general trends, it’s safe to assume that people will be shopping online more next year. Faster sites, smoother user journeys and more user friendly design will all help companies stand out from the crowd.
Space to breathe has never been more important in life and now in web design. Sites that are full of white space and peacefully tell you about their services, instead of cramming everything down your neck in a single screen will be everywhere in 2021.
2021 will be the year that nature's colours grow on to the screen. Think peaceful pinks, luscious greens and calming blues coming together to create a more relaxing space.
Friendly characters guiding users around the page will no doubt still be huge in 2021. They help to soften and add a human element to web design.
Animated Abstract Shapes
Remember that lava lamp that kept you mesmerised for hours? Well they’re back, but now they’ll be morphing their way onto a website near you, creating calming intrigue as they go.
SEO/PCC – Russell, Head of Search
Core Web Vitals
This isn't much of a prediction to be honest - we know it's coming! Google have confirmed they'll be adding extra factors to their ranking algorithms in May 2021.
The user experience and speed of your web pages will be more important than ever. Google will be giving a boost to sites that are fast, mobile-friendly, safe and HTTPS secure. There might even been a symbol added to search results to show users which sites have the best experience.
It’s likely that privacy concerns and new regulation will decrease the data available to marketers in 2021. We lost most of the search query data from Google Analytics several years ago – we’re likely to see less data in Google Ads and other platforms going forward. Google already reduced the amount of search query data available in Google Ads earlier this year.
This is frustrating, but good marketers will be able to see trends even in these reduced datasets. Combining data from multiple channels will also be important.
Back in the day, automations in Google Ads were, to put it bluntly, rubbish. It felt like they were designed to make you spend more, and that was it.
These days, things like automated bid strategies and Smart Shopping use sophisticated machine learning and can generate great results. It’s likely that automation options will continue to improve, leaving Google Ads professionals to spend more time on top level strategy, messaging, and trying new things!
Adapt, Adapt, Adapt
2020 has seen a lot of change and uncertainty. As a result, we’ve had to be more reactive – changing ad copy on the fly to ensure the message fits the situation, creating new campaigns, pausing others, and so on. Whatever 2021 brings, we’re likely to see at least some of the same. Planning ahead is essential, but being agile enough to change plans at the last minute will be important too.
Imagine if KFC had kept going with their ‘Finger Licking Good’ campaign this year!
Magento – Jason, Head of Magento
M1 End of Life
End of life for Magento 1 became official this year on 30th June 2020; meaning Adobe will not be responding to any further security issues or releasing any further patches. Thousands of merchants have already migrated to Magento 2, and this will only continue to grow as more merchants make the transition in 2021.
PWA Magento Sites
PWA Magento sites are gaining more traction each year and we expect this to continually grow as the PWA platforms become more robust and developed. VueStoreFront and PWA Studio are both PWA Magento solutions - PWA Studio is the official Magento one written in React JS, and VueStoreFront is a third party alternative written in Vue.js (currently more popular)
WordPress – Dave, Head of Development
Easier WordPress Maintenance and Updates
WordPress core is becoming more like an evergreen web browser, with opt-in major updates being a big part of version 5.6 when it was released in December 2020. With WordPress having a new major version roughly 4 times per year - version 6.0 will be here by the end of 2021 - this’ll make maintenance and updates even smoother, ensuring incremental speed increases and features throughout the year.
WordPress has always attempted to be the most accessible CMS available, and 2021 will be no exception. In addition to big changes in the admin for increased support for accessibility, I see that there will be core theme support for web browsers' Dark Mode. A fancy way of saying that a website can detect and switch itself to a darker version, matching what people may have selected on their phones and computers.
Not scary like the horseman, this means WordPress is increasingly being used as the backend/admin only, becoming a data provider, focusing on allowing easier input of content. Whilst the frontend of the website is using a completely different system to display the content. Not only does this mean increased flexibility - for example building a ReactJS based site - WordPress has even been used to power the content of mobile phone apps, and major news publications. Tying into WordPress version 5.6 introducing additional security with Application Passwords, this’ll make this whole process even smoother and secure.
Increased Content Authorship
WordPress have been making major strides with their new block based editor over the past 18 months, and many sites have taken advantage of being able to more closely match what you see on the front of the site to what is in the admin area to edit. This is only going to accelerate in 2021 and allow website owners more flexibility in displaying their content in the best way possible.
Want to know more? Get in touch :)