Following its creation in 2003, WordPress has undergone countless improvements, security upgrades, and new additions including the ever-growing availability of free WordPress plug-ins and tools. With 2020 drawing to a close, you may be wondering what 2021 is likely to hold for WordPress users. Below, let’s discuss what to potentially look out for in WordPress in 2021, and how you can ensure your website stays ahead of the competition.
A Focus On Accessibility
The importance of website and app accessibility for people with disabilities has come to the fore in 2020, and this trend is predicted to continue in 2021. Smart speakers with voice capabilities have dramatically improved access to online content, as has captioned media, simplified navigation, and increasingly accurate voice search technology. With the world relying more and more on the Internet and connected devices for work, school, entertainment, commerce, and social connections, the importance of maintaining and improving accessibility for people with disabilities is more profound now than ever before.
A modern alternative to sliders or static images, video backgrounds have been shown to increase average website session length while decreasing bounce rates. Video backgrounds tend to use compressed GIFs, making them less resource-heavy as may be expected. As such, the use of video backgrounds is predicted to increase in 2021 and beyond.
Minimalistic themes offer uncluttered navigation with plenty of white space and flat graphics. With a focus on usability and mobile-friendliness, minimalistic themes have proven popular in 2020 and are predicted to become the norm in 2021.
An essential element of a minimalistic theme, white space is all about catching the eye of your website’s visitors. Offering an uncluttered look with heavy margins (perfect for thumb scrolling friendly websites as discussed below), WordPress sites that employ plenty of white space help to focus your website’s visitors on the content that really matters. Increasing engagement and drawing your visitors towards the intended call to action, white space in particular and minimalistic themes in general are likely to increase in popularity in 2021.
3D Virtual Reality
The unique circumstances of 2020 have caused businesses around the world to adapt in order to survive. In addition to teleconferencing abilities, one of the most important innovations to come out of 2020 has been the rise in mainstream 3D virtual reality. With application from real estate and hotel accommodation companies to office spaces, museums, art galleries, places of cultural significance, and aged care facilities, 3D virtual reality has allowed people to travel the world and inspect properties without leaving the safety of their own homes. With the world emerging into new and unprecedented “COVID normal” circumstances, the use of 3D virtual reality is predicted to increase and gain momentum in 2021 and beyond.
Drag And Drop Website Builders
The trend in recent years has been for WordPress websites to be created, updated, and maintained as necessary without hiring a WordPress developer or learning even basic coding skills. This has been largely facilitated by drag and drop website builders, which are predicted to grow in both popularity and overall usage in 2021. As easy to use as common word processing software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, drag-and-drop website builders allow for instantaneous website changes without the need for coding knowledge or an on-call website developer.
Enhancements In E-Commerce
2020 has seen e-commerce move from a weekend pastime to an essential of life. With global lockdowns and a dramatic rise in situations that necessitate engaging in work and school from home, e-commerce has exploded in 2020. With worldwide postal systems struggling to keep up with the incessant demand for package deliveries, the e-commerce boom is showing no sign of letting up. 2021 will see e-commerce enhanced and refined as much as possible, with cryptocurrency and other digital currencies becoming commonplace and improvements in payment security an absolute must.
Chatbots and digital assistants are favored by companies large and small as they offer 24-hour instant responses to questions, allowing customers to feel heard and have their queries addressed in real-time without the expense and training required in hiring real-life customer service agents. Rather than placing customers in a queue to chat with a real person, chatbots can simultaneously handle multiple inquiries while providing instant responses. Endlessly programmable, chatbots can be updated and refined as new query types emerge.
Multi-Purpose WordPress Themes
If the past few years were the time of niche-specific WordPress themes, 2021 may well be the time for multi-purpose WordPress themes to shine. In the past, multi-purpose WordPress themes lacked the features and customization options necessary to cater to a particular niche. Today, themes such as the Revolution multi-purpose WordPress theme contain features that could only be dreamt of a few years ago, offering optimum versatility from just one theme. Of particular use for those who manage multiple websites in a variety of niches, a multi-purpose WordPress theme gives you the option of investing in one premium WordPress theme and installing it across all of your sites. With some simple customizations made possible by the latest WordPress technology, your sites can be as unique and custom rich as necessary.
Thumb Scrolling Friendly Mobile User Experience
Mobile WordPress themes have been highly sought-after for several years, and 2021 is predicted to be the year of thumb scrolling friendly designs in particular. These innovations refer to the way the majority of younger people hold their mobile devices. While older generations may still be in the habit of holding a device in one hand and using the index finger of the other hand to scroll, it is more common for younger people to hold the device in both hands, using both thumbs to scroll. To optimize for this kind of movement, mobile WordPress themes should implement a number of specific features including an easily navigated and highly visible menu bar and the positioning of icons towards the center of the screen, within easy reach of both thumbs.
*In 2021, there is little doubt that Premium WordPress themes will continue to separate amateur WordPress sites from professional ones. Now that you know the WordPress trends that 2021 is likely to bring, you are well placed to stay ahead of your competitors and ensure that your website is ready to shine in the New Year and beyond. If you need any help with your WordPress site or have any questions relating to the products and services offered by Fuel Themes, feel free to contact us today.