As information technology continues to advance at the rate of knots and prolong its’ purple patch, organizations across various sectors are left with no choice but to adapt. It’s much the same when it comes to the web design and development industry. We know that web development/design today is not the same as it was a decade back. It’s almost scary to know the kind of progression this particular field has made over the years. What’s more scary though, is contemplating the opportunities that the future beholds.
Here’s a look at a few emerging web-design and development trends for the times ahead.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence has long loomed as the powerhouse solution to a lot of problems in the web design/development industry. Initially, the technology in its’ nascent stages was subject to a lot of speculation. However, there was no denying the future potential of the technology. Today AI can literally replicate various time and precision invested tasks without the intervention of humans. For instance – designing a fully functional website without a human designer/developer is no mean feat. AI enabled tools such as The Grid, Wix ADI, and Firedrop are already renowned in carrying out the development tasks. However, they have had their limitations in the recent past when it came to churning out completely glitch-free websites. But as AI matures, these limitations will curtail. The AI tools of the future are bound to be more powerful and advanced.
The other avenue where artificial intelligence will continue to play a critical role in is customer service, especially when it comes to online companies. E-commerce shops are open 24×7, and customers expect customer service helpline to be open around the clock as well. As companies struggle to provide this service on a 24 hour basis, AI is augmenting the human-like interaction possibilities with chatbots. The future will only see a wider adoption of AI powered chatbots with the objective of automating the customer service experience. Latest findings suggest that 80% of businesses will have a chatbot by 2020.
Fact File: A study by Merrill Lynch suggests that the Artificial Intelligence market is set to reach a whopping US $100 billion by 2025.
2. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
Web designers particularly in e-commerce have been implementing Augmented Reality for quite some time now and much of the same is expected in the near future. The enhancement of customer experience is where all the emphasis lies for all retailers. AR is changing the entire landscape of how content is fed to customers. For instance – apparel customers can now virtually try on clothes from the online store from the comfort of their living rooms. They can also choose which furniture to order by virtually checking if they look nice in their designated place. All thanks to Augmented Reality. But it doesn’t really end there. AR with its partner in crime VR (Virtual Reality) is all set to transform the content feeding experience of customers like never before.
The future looks something like this. You walk into your room, pick up an AR/VR powered headset wearable, and do as you please from accessing Facebook/Instagram feeds, to going halfway across the world to visit your favorite churches, to trying out new clothes for Christmas. Web designers will surely have their hands full developing methods to incorporate the AR support feature that is responsive across various internet enabled devices. As this technology continues to prosper, brands across various verticals will succumb to the tempting prospect of creating AR/VR supported content. In a nutshell, the dynamics of web design across devices is all set to transform like never before.
Fact File: 71% of consumers think that brands who use VR are forward thinking. Web designers surely have a lot on their plate.
4. Accelerated Mobile Pages
The world today is a busy place and people are more time-crunched than ever before. This has a direct bearing on Google search results as people expect a faster load time of their selected web-pages; more the load-time, less the chance of them sticking around. No wonder Google launched the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project a couple of years back with the objective of enabling a faster load-time of web pages. AMP strips down a web page and voids it of all the unwanted scripts that slows them down. Most of the internet usage is now on smartphones owing to the mobility of the device. As much as 53% of all internet traffic comes from phones and tablets. If not already, it’s only a matter of time before Search Engine Optimization goes more mobile centric. Once that happens, the adoption of AMPs is bound to accelerate.
AMP is especially favorable for websites that generate a lot of traffic as it reduces the load on the website server and improves performance considerably. Besides, user experience is one thing that is enhanced with faster load time as well; the better the user experience, the lesser the visitor bounce rate. Retail giants Walmart has claimed that AMP reduced their mobile load time by one second which resulted in a 2% increase in conversions. AMP definitely is a trend for the future.
Fact File: Studies reveal that over 2 billion AMP pages have been created thus far, 58 AMP pages are created every second.
5. Voice Search Optimization
By no means has traditional search lost its mojo. It’s just that something much more convenient is starting to take over at a rapid pace – ‘Voice Technology’. As more and more people are choosing to confide in voice assistants, Voice Search Optimization is gaining significance. Voice search curtails the typing time in case of ordinary search, which helps in getting results faster. Voice search is especially beneficial for e-commerce as everything from searching, viewing, and purchasing can happen in a jiffy via voice commands. The Alexas and the Siris are only going to enjoy more popularity in the times ahead.
As companies look to stay at a competitive advantage, they will look to optimize their online websites for voice search. Voice search optimization will impact businesses in a plethora of ways such as better search engine ranking, higher user acquisition, enhanced website traffic, and a highly optimized customer experience online. Voice Search Optimization is definitely on the rise and it is a must-have feature for all websites going ahead.
Fact File: Currently, as many as 33 million voice-first devices are in use. By 2020, voice search is expected to account for about 50%of all online queries.