WordPress is the titan of Content Management Systems (CMSs). Among the many reasons WordPress is a preferred platform is that it’s constantly evolving to incorporate new technologies. However, with so much innovation, keeping up with the latest changes can take some effort.
To best serve your clients, it helps to look ahead to understand what web design and development trends are expected to dominate the market. Doing this will make it easier to adapt and gain an advantage over competitors.
In this post, we’ll take a look at five WordPress development trends you can expect to see in the upcoming year and explore some examples of how they can be used. Let’s get started!
1. Chatbot Integration
Automation and assistive technologies are cropping up in many different forms on websites these days. One of the increasingly popular uses for this technology is chatbots:
These web-based messengers streamline a wide range of administrative and customer support tasks. They can help with:
- Automating and improving customer support
- Monitoring clicks
- Capturing leads
- Enhancing the User Experience (UX)
Chatbots aren’t necessarily anything new. They’ve been around for a while now. However, thanks to the progressive nature of Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots are becoming more ‘human-like’ every day.
As such, businesses are able to use them in many different environments and applications, and will likely continue to do so in the future. In fact, at least 85 percent of businesses are expected to use chatbots by 2022.
If you’re interested in exploring chatbots for your client’s sites, we recommend using a tool with easy WordPress integration. For example, you might try using Botsify. You can create a chatbot through its website, and then quickly add it to WordPress sites via a plugin or code.
Another option you might consider is the IBM Watson plugin. This tool uses IBM Watson Assistant (previously Watson Conversation) on the IBM Cloud. It has a steeper learning curve but offers nearly unlimited customization potential.
2. Voice Search Optimization
Speaking of AI, voice search is quickly gaining traction as a staple technology for both business and personal purposes. Voice-activated search assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, are becoming more common as well.
According to research, by 2020 about half of searches are expected to be voice-activated ones. Moreover, one-third of browsing sessions will happen without a screen at all.
Voice shopping, in particular, is expected to disrupt the retail industry over the next few years. The use of smart home speakers is expected to increase from 13 percent to 55 percent.
Voice search is also expected to influence and improve SEO. People tend to use more natural language when they are conducting a search query verbally, rather than typing it. As voice search becomes more prevalent, it’s likely that we’re going to see search engines producing results that are more aligned with user intent.
To get started with voice search optimization, you might consider trying a voice search plugin. For example, WP Fastest Site Search lets you add voice capabilities to your site:
This plugin replaces the default search widget in WordPress. You can use it to create and customize your own WordPress search user interface, with no custom coding needed.
3. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology, thanks to its adoption of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, is becoming particularly prevalent in financial sectors. However, we can also expect to see it influence plugin development and content monetization for WordPress sites. It can be particularly useful for enhancing on-site security and improving the speed of payment transactions for e-commerce sites.
This year, WordPress launched a new platform with blockchain features called Newspack. The primary purpose of this product is to improve the reliability and security of publishing outlets. It should alleviate many of the challenges that come with back-end site maintenance and development.
Additionally, there are plenty of WordPress cryptocurrency themes and plugins you can use. For example, to create a cryptocurrency website you can use a theme such as Cryptic:
As for blockchain plugins, you can use Site Reviews to verify reviews. WordProof Timestamp is also worth checking out, as it enables you to timestamp your WordPress content on any EOSIO blockchain.
4. Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology have made strides in giving businesses the ability to offer interactive experiences. Both take a person’s physical environment and superimpose it with layers of digital information to mimic real-world scenarios.
The IKEA Place app is just one of many examples of how AR and VR can be used to create better experiences for consumers. It lets users place pieces of furniture within a room in their homes via smartphone camera, in order to preview how they will look.
Another use is being able to ‘virtually visit’ a location and take a tour without actually being there. For example, realtors can provide clients with 3D VR tours on their websites.
WordPress now authorizes VR content with 360-degree images and videos. If you’re interested in adding AR and VR features to your client sites, there are a variety of ways to go about it. You might also consider using the Ozisti Theme:
This theme is one of the easiest ways you can integrate AR functionality with WordPress sites. It was built specifically for e-commerce, but can be used for a wide range of projects.
5. Progressive Web Apps
Last but not least, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) provide an app-like experience to mobile users without actually requiring users to install anything. They work within mobile browsers, and function largely as native apps would.
Among the many benefits include:
- Increased security
- Faster loading times
- More flexibility
- Better user experience
PWAs have been around for a while. However, with more people relying on mobile devices, they’re becoming increasingly popular for WordPress applications.
Aside from building your own PWA from scratch, you can also use WordPress plugins to turn a site into a PWA. For example, you can check out Super Progressive Web Apps:
Once you install this plugin, users who visit the site from a mobile device can add it to their home screens. Then, each page they visit will be locally stored and available to access offline.
WordPress is constantly adding new features and functionalities. Of course, it’s important to keep up with the latest changes. However, to really enhance your offerings and better serve your clients, it helps to familiarize yourself with the most anticipated trends.
In this article, we discussed five WordPress development trends you can expect to see grow in popularity in 2020:
- Chatbot integration
- Voice search optimization
- Blockchain technology
- Augmented and virtual reality technology
- Progressive web apps
Do you have questions about any of these WordPress development trends? Let us know in the comments section below!
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