If you partner with a leading cloud support services provider on a larger scale (such as being an AWS partner, for instance) you know what it takes to scale up or down, depending on your needs. Of course, all this scalability is encouraged by shifting needs – which can happen at a rapid pace, sometimes. Likewise, the technology industry at large is prone to frequent changes – and frontends in particular, are also no exception. From economic changes to consumer demands, technology is perpetually shifting to accommodate varying needs. Businesses remain at the forefront to tackle these changes, and equipped with the right technology, pursue to benchmark whatever it is they specialize in.
Competition is fierce out there, no doubt. So it suffices to say that staying on top of what’s trending isn’t a matter of displaying the very latest – it’s all about strengthening your business to ensure it can adapt to shifting demands. With umpteen options available for customers to choose from, it’s no surprise that brand loyalty has significantly reduced over the years. Engagement is key; keeping your customers hooked from the get-go is imperative to encourage conversions. Even the slightest lag or hiccup can cause abandonment, since customers know they can obtain what they’re looking for, elsewhere.
So what gives in the world of frontend design and development, especially in 2021? As numerous new trends mushroom in the marketplace, they all remain nested within dominant and long-standing trends (that have become mainstream, foundational concepts). Adhering to any micro trends implies its mainstream counterpart on a macro level, so it is crucial to outline just what these umbrella trends are.
Before we get to our list…
Adopting these trends isn’t a matter of what’s in vogue – it’s about what’s essential for your unique business requirements. Therefore, thoroughly understanding the macro trends is what’s needed. The next step is to ask your team about the loopholes which plague your business, and then seek answers based on technologies that can truly help solve problems and generate business value.
Most macro trends are well established, and have been around for a long time. Connecting your business problems to the most useful macro trend will pave the pathway for what exactly needs to be done i.e. which micro trend can be adopted, as a solution. Your software development provider shall be best equipped to answer this question, as they are extensively involved in the intricacies which comprise of your digital foothold.
Moving on to the best that 2021 can experience in the world of frontend design and development…
While AI isn’t a newcomer to the digital landscape of today, it is ever-evolving and gaining momentum. More accessible than ever before, AI isn’t just a specialized luxury that is only afforded by top dogs in the business world; even the smallest, most boutique players are now able to integrate AI and machine learning capabilities through SaaS-based services. From AI-driven content generation to customized social media feeds, most indispensable digital avenues are incomplete without the power of AI and machine learning. While paving the way for many other digital trends (some of which are mentioned later on in this article) AI is also hugely dependent on the data it gathers to power it. Thus, it creates a feedback loop which cycles from one touchpoint to another, only improving its stance in the application it has been embedded into.
Machine learning practically provides algorithms the autonomy to ‘self-improve’, thereby eliminating manual intervention. In the frontend context, how exactly is this deployed? While there are a number of use cases, chatbots and live assistants have skyrocketed in use since the past year. By undertaking basic or common queries, chatbots have enabled customer service teams to focus more towards queries of a more complex nature. With machine learning in the picture, even the nature/sentiment/resolutions of complex queries can be ‘learned’, for eventually being handled successfully at the hands of a chatbot.
Customized recommendations are another highly valuable deliverable from the likes of AI. Whether it’s on social media or over a proprietary digital application, accurate AI-based suggestions increase the speed at which consumers will engage – but only because they realize that they are being shown content they are most inclined towards.
Responsive application designs have long since turned into a norm, to the point where it is a given. With even the most elementary and templatized web layouts offering responsive functionalities for a range of devices and screen dimensions, how does this otherwise normalized trend fit into what’s new for 2021? The reason, once again, lies with more devices – IoT, to be exact. Software development in Sri Lanka, while being massively focused towards web and proprietary application development, has also seen a shift towards incorporating design and development for smart devices, especially for international markets.
Whether it’s a relatively well-known wearable (such as a smart watch) or something a tad more obscure (such as a home appliance) IoT is proliferating at record speed – and is only here to stay. Moulding front-ends to adapt to a range of screen sizes (and even device shapes) is paramount to releasing a product that is IoT-focused. Smart devices have also proven their immense reliability in the wake of implementing contactless systems. From remote monitoring to goods delivery, smart devices used in the healthcare industry, for example, have enabled remote healthcare to not just be a hit-or-miss, but a field where accuracy can be reliably maintained.
Devices come in all shapes and sizes – but with even the most conventional gadgets now seeing a microchip being embedded for transforming it into a ‘smart’ device, responsiveness in the face of UI is of growing importance. On the other hand, headless content management systems are bound to also increase in demand, thanks to a growing need of inputting data such that it fits any size or dimension – albeit being a backend component.
Again, PWAs have long since been in the picture, but 2021 is bound to be a refresher for this long-dominant trend as well. Business competition plays a huge factor, as online call-to-actions need to be simple yet swift enough to turn leads into tangible conversions. Progressive Web Applications can substantially contribute to this purpose, as lighter and faster applications reduce load time while offering a look and feel that is equivalent to that of a Native application. Offer access via a simple URL to your PWA, and you’re well on your way to direct leads from a variety of sources – including one-dimensional channels such as SMS.
PWAs also come in handy for call-to-actions which involve surveys and questionnaires. In essence, if you have a singular product or service that needs be purchased or reserved in a few simple steps, using a PWA can be far more effective and also feasible. This doesn’t mean that complex product taxonomies cannot be viable for a PWA use case; PWAs are effective at scale, what with being able to emulate a Native look and feel.
At a time when competition is extremely fast-paced, the right combination of technology tools can turn the dynamic to your favour – if used correctly. PWAs are one such variable, where a vast range of features and functionalities can be used to determine what you want your customer to do, and the pace at which you want them to do so. Striking the right balance between your business’s objectives and the technology tools available to steer things ahead is imperative – something that needs to be taken into prompt consideration in the wake of developing a PWA.
No matter which aspect or branch of technology you’re looking at, nothing is ever complete without considering the impact that actual data will have. The frontends of web and software applications are no exception either, as what is displayed on frontends will be influenced by the quantity and quality of data available. Gathering data is another aspect; depending on what your business specializes in, big data will be sourced at speed, and with fields/variables that may even be unbeknownst to your team. At this point, how do you make the most of all this data? And most importantly, how do you churn it such that it reveals insights for building a more impressive frontend system?
Answers to such questions are obviously sought by looking at your data – but with strategy and perception in mind. Technology is never static, and likewise, this shouldn’t be the case for your frontends either. By correctly analysing your data, tweak or overhaul your frontend to reflect what your customers are really looking for and your overarching business vision, to continue staying ahead of the game. While data analytics and business intelligence can help you answer some of the most pressing questions on your mind, data science can go a long way in identifying patterns underlying your existing data.
A combination of the two is ideal, as you can approach the enhancement of your business across the board from a holistic perspective. Also, don’t forget data integrity – which is all about where your data is coming from. Confirmed and authentic sources are crucial for accurate data, because defective data can lead to equally defective business (and frontend) strategies.
In other words, Vue is a great framework to explore outside of mainstream frameworks such as React and Angular – what with the increasing levels of interest it has been garnering for the past few years.
As competition between businesses continues to gain momentum, the online space becomes a hotbed for countless businesses to showcase what they can offer to their consumers. Everyone’s online, so reaching your customers has become easier than ever before. But the limitless options are rendering many spoilt for choice, which presents one too many caveats to fix. The right frontend isn’t just a valuable asset for your business to convert your leads into customers – it will make or break your business, depending on whether it can make the right impression or not.
As many frontend trends grace the technology market, it is sensible to understand just what will work to solve your unique business problems – as opposed to chasing the latest trends. Most trends on a micro level are in fact based on larger, more macro trends. Understanding how these macro trends operate can help you connect the dots between how such trends can help your business, and reach its many goals.
Out of these macro trends, AI and machine learning is one of the biggest. Enabling customized recommendations depending on an individual’s preferences is something that requires keen frontend insight – and isn’t possible without accurate data (another important macro trend). With IoT devices slowly becoming mainstream, differing screen sizes and device shapes will also influence frontend design and development to up its game, in order to accommodate the same interface across multiple devices.