Our Top 10 Digital Branding Trends for 2019 | FINE
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Top 10 Digital Trend Predictions for 2019

Posted in Insights — December 10, 2018

The end of the year is marked by lists. Best of. Top. Resolutions. And our personal favorite, the informed predictions. So we’ve gathered 10 of our own that we see (continuing to) influence the practice of digital branding next year.

  1. Accessibility is for Everyone. As anxiety over ADA compliance lawsuits settles, brands have begun to see how making sites easy and intuitive to navigate benefits more than folks who have difficulty seeing and interacting; everyone will be looking at these rules as ways of making their site experience better (up to a point). For designers and developers, it’s not about eroding the integrity of site design, but about ensuring all users can enjoy the content.
  2. Leaving Privacy to the Pros. Brands will increasingly look for ways to outsource tools, forms, and (especially) databases simply to offload the liability and technical overhead of storing or gathering their own/user’s personal data. We will likely see more use of specialized data collection providers, from MailChimp to Salesforce, and fewer “roll your own.”
  3. An Ownable Illustrigraphics Focus. It’s getting harder to “own” a photography style that cuts the clutter of widely available stock, especially without spending a fortune on photo shoots. So we’ll see an increased move toward illustration, animation, and infographics as differentiating visuals that carry through from brand messaging to UI to create a versatile, signature visual style from a reliable and economical source.
  4. Break the Template Mold. We’ll see more innovation in site structure and approach, finding opportunities to break out of the standard templates that are flooding the internet, and create truly memorable and unique experiences. The standard structures, navs, and experiences are abundantly available across platforms. The response is more risk. More definition. More reward.
  5. Build For Speed. Our obsession with speed, performance, and snappy experiences will only get more intense. Users now expect to click on a site and have it load in two seconds or less, whether they’re standing next to an industrial-strength router or cruising down a remote country road. So building sites to render quickly, regardless of mobile/bandwidth settings, will require critical decision making by digital teams throughout design and build.
  6. Content For Peeps, Not Just SERPS. After an era of “blogging for SEO,” we’re seeing an uptick in interest and appetite for content strategy and marketing created for…humans. It’s less about fitting in strategic keywords and more about creating content with genuine value and emotional resonance for the audience — think more social, less search.
  7. Safety in Stabilization. We’ll see some much needed stabilization of the JavaScript ecosystem. From package managers like npm and yarn, to build tools like webpack, many solutions are putting down roots in the right places and affirming themselves as “safe picks” for enterprise users and small teams, alike.
  8. From Headless to Hydras (and Medusas). A year or two ago, we were calling websites “headless” because they sat on top of a headless CMS. Now, that layer is populated by more integrations and directions than ever. Your digital environment in 2019 is more likely to depend on things like landing page engines and pop-up managers (unbounce), form managers (typeform), Google maps, social media systems (Pixlee), and others.
  9. App-like Action Orientation. There’s a heightened importance placed on functional simplicity and contextual ease of use. With web and app UX, it’s about thinking through UX experiences and micro interactions for all screens, from the beginning. Similarly, people expect that same level of experience in a retail setting, where every interaction is streamlined, like paying with a phone in-person, and seeing the live update to your account.
  10. Collaboration Takes on Version Control. In the coming year, we see a rise in the use of newer toolsets and technologies that are web-based, software as a service, such as Figma and draw.io. As easy as it is to create things now, it’s not as easy to retain, find, evolve, access them. Building systems to last means referencing past decisions (like IA, sitemaps, and functional documentation) to inform an evolution.

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