As this year draws to a close, the forthcoming year of 2019 has much to offer for technological advancements overall – let alone just the web. As various technologies become intuitive, personalised and data-centric, it makes sense to ask what the future is going to look like. The fields of both web and software development in Sri Lanka are also experiencing quite the shift, owing to increasing digital penetration locally – as well as the pressure to rise up to international standards for foreign clientele who outsource their services here.
While there is much to anticipate across every facet of technology, here we take a look at four of the biggest trends surrounding web.
In an age where on-demand products and services are in vogue, meeting such needs for today’s customer base also requires speedy turnaround times. This is achieved through apps that are immediately usable – without having to download, install and configure an account.
Instant Apps fulfil this need by being available for use directly from the App/Play Store. While some are trial versions that will require downloading to take advantage of an entire suite of features, they are all equipped with basic (and important) functionalities for instant use. Either way, Instant Apps are a great means to test an app before installing its complete version, as well as getting something done super-fast – such as purchasing a product or service without wasting precious time to download one.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) on the other hand are web-based platforms that look and feel exactly like a mobile app. While they run on websites, they offer all the conveniences of an app. This includes responsive user interfaces and home screen shortcuts – all within the confines of a mobile website. Just like Instant Apps, PWAs also provide the form and function that’s akin to a fully-fledged mobile app, without the hassle of any downloads. For a user population that is keen on satisfying every whim and fancy in record time (and by saving storage space), this couldn’t be any more ideal.
The tech industry in general has been a feisty one, what with people working in this field seldom afraid to break the rules. Likewise, Brutalism is gaining much popularity for web design and mobile app development alike. Leaning towards the creation of sites and apps that are based solely on artistic competencies (but being wonderfully functional of course), the act of Brutalism produces results that are idiosyncratic, yet unique in their own right. In layman’s terms, it’s all about letting your imagination run wild.
This strong inclination towards unconventional web layouts isn’t just for aesthetic pleasure; other elements that constitute a website, such as navigation, are laid out just as uniquely. This combination of form and function catalyses user engagement – one of the most desirable outcomes for any brand or business.
As a matter of fact, UX specialists have lately been keen on making marketing professionals understand the importance of a lean design process; the fact that designs deserve their highly technical abilities and artsy flair, as opposed to neutralising them for satiating protocols pertaining to sales, marketing or any other business objectives. What’s more, UX specialists are able to see web layouts from the user’s perspective – which makes them better advocates for quality websites and web apps than their c-suite counterparts. In conclusion, Brutalism perfectly fits into this context, as the autonomy it fosters is one that will truly help businesses create web experiences that will delight their customers.
Although AI and machine learning aren’t newbies to the field of tech, they are both recurring trends that are here to stay. Be it web or software development, robotics or data science, AI and machine learning are helping to leverage all variants under the technology umbrella to be more perceptive, as well as take over mundane or monotonous roles.
Similar outcomes benefit websites and web apps too. For instance, custom interfaces can be displayed based on a user’s navigation habits. Or how about using voice commands to get something done? If this is the case, then the UI of a website or web app needs to adapt for accommodating voice-based inputs and natural language processing.
Albeit being immensely popular, AR is still making its mark as a mainstream form of technology. Nonetheless, it has led to the widespread creation of systems across many industry verticals, for delivering information based on users’ surroundings. Unlike Virtual Reality, AR doesn’t require bulky hardware such as headsets for a fully immersive experience; just a camera-enabled smartphone is sufficient.
While numerous Native apps have deployed AR to offer their users the best in value, the potential that lies for web apps to embrace the same is huge, no doubt. Since web apps function at the absence of a download and installation, they attract better engagement. Add to this the many wonders of AR, and you have a web-based platform that is functional irrespective of what your browser is, and without the commitments of reserving precious storage space.
With so many trends to look forward to in 2019, the web as we know it is bound to undergo disruptive changes – and not just in terms of technology. As the number of users who flock to the web exponentially increase, their habits and preferences play an enormous role on how the web will be moulded to meet their standards.
The socio-psychological factors associated towards revolutionising the web are of course intertwined with one or many of the trends stated above. As our world strives to gain instant access for products, services and everything else in-between, the wealth of online content out there often ends up being a hit or miss.
If businesses wish to stay competitive, they must acknowledge what makes users tick. Optimising their brand over the web in a manner that’s seamless and productive are two of the many cornerstones, in conjunction to truly knowing what their customers desire.