WordPress keeps on changing, and with WordPress 5.0 having been released in December of 2018, you can expect additional changes to come to WordPress in the following months.
WordPress 5.0 signals a big change for WordPress with the introduction of the Gutenberg editor, which will be explained further on. There is also a new default Twenty Nineteen theme.
In addition, WordPress has announced that after the release of WordPress 5.0, you can expect a minor update twice every month, as well as the eventual release of Gutenberg Phase 2.
1. WordPress Gutenberg and the rise of drag-and-drop
WordPress 5.0, along with the new default Gutenberg editor, was released on December 6th of 2018.
The classic WordPress editor can still be used, but you’ll need to download it as a separate plugin.
Gutenberg’s drag-and-drop editing platform forever changed the way WordPress posts are created.
Instead of a single block of text like we had in the classic TinyMCE WordPress editor, Gutenberg allows you to add blocks of paragraphs, headers, images, media content, HTML code, videos, tables, and more.
Using Gutenberg comes with a number of benefits. One is that you have more control over the final outlook of your post.
Using the classic editor, you would have to actually preview the post in a separate window in order to get an idea of what the final result would look like. Sometimes, images or other post content wouldn’t appear exactly how you thought they would.
With Gutenberg, you will be able to get a more accurate idea of what the published post will look like. In addition, you can add a Live HTML block, in which you can post HTML code and see how it will appear on the published page without exiting the editor.
Drag-and-drop editors are often more fun to work with. Many beginners will find them easier to use, with more control over the post building process; on the downside, some beginners may find it a bit too overwhelming.
Gutenberg can also make it easier to edit your post while on a mobile device.
With Gutenberg, you can still select to see the HTML version of the post, but embedding Youtube videos and other media can be done straight from the main drag-and-drop editor.
While the classic editor will still be preferred by some and will be available as a plugin, the Gutenberg update signals a move towards drag-and-drop editing in the blogging industry.
It also means that third-party drag-and-drop plugins and themes will have to up their game. As of yet, Gutenberg isn’t a match for them.
For example, Gutenberg doesn’t offer full-site drag and drop website building; you can’t add sidebar widgets, headers, footers, and so on. There is also no front-end interface editing, something that many third-party services offer.
Many third-party builders are also more advanced and have more options than WordPress, such as the ability to add testimonial blocks, which is not currently available by default with Gutenberg.
However, Gutenberg may eventually come to be a full site builder with Gutenberg Phase 2, at which point the future of third-party builders may be uncertain.
2. Pageless and single page sites
Pageless web design is becoming increasingly popular. These sites have a single page that is highly interactive and is designed to cut out the background noise and convey a single central message.
Pageless websites have many benefits. For one, you don’t have to worry about distracting your visitor with useless information. You also don’t have to worry about people clicking on a page only for it to take a long time to load.
When designed correctly, pageless websites can be incredibly interactive and engaging. They can also be incredibly responsive on all devices.
In addition, users just have to scroll through a single page in order to get through all of your content. Scrolling is more intuitive than clicking, as it requires less effort and is a learned habit of those who are active users of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Different site sections or popups can be separated via separate URL links, such as website.com/#contactus and website.com/#ourmenu.
Single page websites often require less investment than a larger website. Even though they consist of just one page, high-quality pageless websites can acquire a good Pagerank and have a strong SEO value.
Pageless web design is great because it allows you to create a website that is incredibly unique and makes you stand out.
More and more WordPress themes are being created with pageless design in mind.
3. Video headers and background videos
WordPress 4.7 came with core support for adding videos to your headers.
Adding videos to your headers allows you to create an engaging page. It will help you catch your visitors’ eyes and can lead to a lower bounce rate.
Adding videos to website headers and backgrounds isn’t something new. The ability to do so has been around for a while, but you needed a special plugin or theme that allowed it.
Now that is being supported in WordPress’ core, you can expect it to become more widespread.
4. Parallax web design
Parallax web design, where background and foreground elements scroll at different speeds, is also becoming more popular. It allows you to create engaging animations and a 3D effect.
It’s important to find the right balance; going overboard with parallax design can cause your site to become confusing and distracting.
When used in the right places, Parallax is an awesome way to make your site more interesting to viewers. and encourage more engagement and curiosity.
Parallax web design is often used for pageless websites. A single-page website or landing page that uses only standard text can honestly be a bit boring.
5. On-site AI and virtual assistants
Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more prevalent on WordPress sites. Expect to see more chatbot and other AI-related plugins come out over the next few years.
Chatbots are the most common form of on-site AI. They help users by giving them an opportunity to find quick solutions to problems, find products or information they are looking for, and be connected with the right customer representative. Especially industries like e-commerce have a lot to gain from AI in the future.
6. Augmented and virtual reality
Expect to see more augmented and virtual reality being used for marketing purposes.
A good example of augmented reality is Sephora’s AR app, which allows consumers to see how they would appear with certain makeup products applied to their face.
Home Depot has an app where you can see how a certain shade of paint would make your room look, taking into account things such as shadows and lighting. IKEA’s app lets you see how certain furniture would appear in your house.
When it comes to things such as makeup, paint, furniture, and clothing, online consumers are often hesitant to make a purchase. After all, there’s no way of knowing how it would look before it arrives on your doorstep.
Through augmented reality, you can help online consumers make better purchasing decisions, leading to fewer returns and a higher customer satisfaction rate.
There are already a number of plugins and themes for Woocommerce and WordPress that support augmented reality and/or allow you to show products in 3D form.
7. Expressive typography
The font you choose reflects on your brand image, your tone of voice, and the message you are trying to convey. For example, you can use different font styles to convey emotions such as friendliness, reliability, creativity, and more.
Over at Crazy Egg, they created a great infographic about the psychology of different fonts, detailing how different styles convey different emotions and how they will affect your message.
As brands try to become more unique and stand out from the crowd, expect to see expressive typography has become a trend.
Changing your font through WordPress isn’t that difficult; you don’t need to know how to make advanced coding changes. Many WordPress themes already come with support for different font styles so that you can change your default typography.
In addition, there are a plethora of plugins that will allow you to customize your content’s typography.
Expressive typography works especially well when used on pageless websites.
Minimalism has long been a lifestyle movement associated with freethinkers, people who wanted to move away from the excessive consumer culture, and people simply hell-bent on increasing their savings.
When used in reference to visual arts and music, minimalism is designed to strip away any excessive and unnecessary details and information and distill a painting or composition down to its essential form and message.
When it comes to web design and marketing, the purpose of a minimalist design is similar: Avoid distracting viewers with extraneous information and deliver only your essential message.
Pageless websites are really just an extension of minimalism; by sticking to just one page, you are able to present your core message in one shot.
Minimalism and expressive typography work together wonderfully. Without extra blocks of text, pages, images, and other types of content that usually fill up a web page, you are free to use expressive typography as a way to set the tone and mood.
It also ties into the first trend mentioned in this article, namely the rising popularity of drag-and-drop editors.
When using a drag-and-drop editor, you usually start off with a blank page. You then choose the blocks you want to add to the page.
This makes creating a minimalist design easier. If you want to keep your page clean from distractions, simply avoid adding unnecessary blocks.
9. Push notifications and sticky elements
Banner blindness is a real thing, and it’s starting to spread to popups, slide-ins, and layovers as well.
People either use software to hide banners and popups or they simply develop a mental block to them, ignoring them and clicking the X button out of habit.
In an effort to come up with alternatives to banners and popups, many bloggers are now using web push notifications or sticky elements to capture the user’s attention.
Web push notifications must first be opted into by viewers. Once they are opt-in, you can have notifications sent straight to their desktop screens at any time.
Many users will already be getting push web notifications from Gmail, Facebook, and other important sites.
Another trend is using sticky elements on webpages, especially on mobile sites. This allows you to make navigation menus, option bars, social media sharing buttons, and other CTAs “stick” to the top or bottom of the page and scroll together with the user.
When used in a way that doesn’t annoy users and interferes with their reading, sticky elements can help you increase your conversions and collect more leads.
10. Micro-interactions and animations
Micro-interactions are a great way to boost engagement and make things more interesting to your viewers.
A great example of micro-interactions is how Facebook displays a popup bar displaying different reaction possibilities to a post. This appears when you hover your mouse over the “like” button.
The way Facebook like button turns blue when clicked is another example of a micro-interaction.
It’s becoming harder and harder to capture the attention of viewers. The average online attention span is just 8 seconds according to Microsoft.
It’s these little interactions and animations that make things more interesting and fun for your viewers and will cause them to stick around longer.
Micro-interactions go well with pageless web design as well, allowing you to create a unique user experience the likes of which can’t be found elsewhere
An example of this would be the website of Mariano Pascual, an Argentinian designer. His one-page website is full of fun little micro-interactions and animations, making it truly a pleasure to explore.
Micro-interactions, when designed carefully and used selectively to enhance the user experience, show your users that you care about them.
There are many different actions that you can use as triggers for animations, such as hovering with the mouse, clicking on a button, swiping, or filling in a data field.
The most important thing is to put yourself in your user’s shoes and try to make the experience fun for them. You should focus on functionality first; try to create micro-interactions that also serve a functional purpose.
Microinteractions also provide feedback to your users; they show them that their actions have produced results. Think of the toggle switch in a phone or computer’s settings menu.
Wrapping it up
WordPress is still king in the blogging industry, and it’s important that you stay up to date on all the latest WordPress trends.
By incorporating some of the above trends or other popular trends, you’ll be able to keep your site interesting and get your viewers to come back again and again.