The 7 biggest web development trends for 2018

The digital world moves quickly.
We’ve already seen a huge number of changes in web development over the past few years, both big and small, and 2018 promises to be no different.
To help keep you ahead of the game and prepared for the year to come, our teams of web developers have identified what they think the biggest trends of 2018 will be.

iPhone X Notch Development

With the unveiling of the latest iPhone, comes more time learning the intricate workings for developers. New device sizes and specs mean that developers need to be on their toes and constantly keeping in the know with the latest compatabilities. Specifically on this new device, quite an unusual feature has been added, named ‘the notch’.
The notch is a small section of the upper part of the iPhone that cuts off a small portion of the view, because the phone boasts a complete screen coverage. With regular usage of the phone, most people won’t even notice it after a while, however for developers, this means having to produce iPhone X supported applications that take this tiny notch into consideration. A whole new way of working with the notch will have to be implemented on sites requiring iPhone X support. A few examples of this can already be seen online of how things like navigation menus and scrolling aspects can be modified to work with the phone.

'Don’t attempt to hide the device’s rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.'

Apple design guidelines

Focus on PWA’s

As from last year (2016), mobile device usage has overtaken desktop with website loads and this shift in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has caused the industry to develop more specifically to optimise performance for the smaller devices.
In turn, the movement towards developing PWA’s, or progressive web applications, has taken place. This is starting to become more mainstream and one can only surmise this trend will continue to grow in 2018.
You may have noticed that some websites you visit on your mobile browser pop up with a notification to ‘add to home screen’, much like a conventional app from the Play Store or App Store would do. This suggests that the website is trying to feel much more like an app than just a mobile version of a typical website. PWA’s take advantage of current technologies such as React usually in conjunction with the latest design trends to create a more immersive, faster, more natural performance for websites.

'Progressive Web Apps are user experiences that have the reach of the web, and are; reliable, loading instantly and never showing the downasaur, even in uncertain network conditions; fast, responding quickly to user interactions with silky smooth animations and no janky scrolling; engaging, feeling like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience.'


One huge advantage when it comes to developing a PWA is the opportunity to incorporate an ‘offline mode’ which would allow users to access the website even if they do not have an internet connection, something plenty of mobile users have had the unfortunate luck of dealing with at some point. To do this, PWA’s use something called a ‘service worker’, which is essentially a small js file which will, in essence, cache a version of the website and stores it for use if you do not have an internet connection next time. Obviously the user would have had to access the site initially online before being able to cache.
PWA’s are also able to perform app-like functions like sending push notifications, which is great for e-commerce and social sites. Overall these PWA’s are seeing more and more of the net world, with popular apps such as Twitter releasing a PWA version to their native app, and we can expect to see more of this in 2018.

CSS Grid

Over many years there have been different JS and CSS frameworks to support grid functionality, such as Bootstrap and Foundations CSS. Now that CSS Grids are becoming more popular this will more than likely reduce the use of these types of frameworks. By enabling the ability to use grids directly within CSS rather than using external sources, you can reduce load times on sites by not having to load in Javascript to render the changes.
Using these also gives digital agencies more ability to create bespoke builds that will be within budget. CSS Grid is a 2-dimensional system, meaning it can handle both columns and rows, unlike flexbox which is largely a 1-dimensional system and has been widely used over the last few years.
If you want to see the power of CSS Grid, try this fun little game.

Meaningful Scroll-Triggered Animation

As single-page layouts become increasingly ubiquitous, we expect to see a growing number of sites using interaction-triggered animations to liven up the pages. These animations will be strategic and minimalist, designed for the purpose of increasing engagement and conversions.
Ideal for long-scrolling responsive sites, the animation entices the user to keep scrolling, drawing them down the funnel to the conversion-point, while also educating them about the product. They can be used to define the boundaries of different page sections in a seamless, attractive way, making the content clear to navigate and providing a more satisfying user experience. As an added bonus, because the animation is only triggered once the user scrolls to that part of the page, load times are minimised and there’s more chance that the user will see it.

Augmented Reality

In 2018 we expect that augmented reality will become more commonplace, and much more intuitive to use. With the iPhone X having augmented reality apps to showcase its technology, and agencies embracing the power of Progressive Web Apps, augmented reality applications will keep getting better, and better. Imagine being able to use the AR feature of a clothing store app, and point the camera at your friend, and being able to change their clothes and virtually see them on your friend to see what they look like before you buy. Or virtually wallpaper your entire living room, to see if that pattern really does clash with the curtains.
Several early adopter brands have already started integrated AR technology into their websites and apps, but 2018 is set to be the year that AR starts to enter the mainstream.
Augmented reality

Javascript Frameworks

Libraries such as React.js and Vue.js will continue to grow in popularity and will become more commonplace in agencies and in-house development teams as the Javascript ecosystem matures. ReactJS is a recently implemented, cross-platform, javascript library used for developing front-end user interfaces for web apps and is being developed not only by a community of developers, but by Facebook and Instagram too. When the social media giants are dedicating efforts to a new technology, you can usually tell it’s going to take off, big time.
This year, Facebook finally introduced ‘React Fiber’, which will act as a new version of ReactJS and according to NetGuru, the 3 biggest advantages of using this already popular library are ‘extremely fast rendering’, ‘UX prioritisation’ and ‘Nothing changes in your app’.
Facebook-made React is well suited to a wide range of front-end environments, from forming a small part of an established website to powering entire web apps, and Vue.js is now bundled with Laravel, the incredibly popular PHP framework – making either of these a smart choice for front-end developers. Apps are now taking advantage of these frameworks, with React Native allowing developers to build their apps in React and compile them to completely native iOS and Android applications.

Agree with these predictions? Think we missed something out? Let us know on twitter @clickymedia.

Written by Hollie Hines

Content & Social Media Specialist

Follow Hollie on Twitter