[Updated for 2023]
Thanks to the explosion of mobile technology, more than half the world’s population has access to the web. Right now, at this very moment, there are over one billion websites, and that number climbs higher every single day. In just a quarter century, an academic science project called the “internet” has grown and matured into a communications revolution.
So, what’s next? To quote Jedi Master Yoda, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future…” Still, mediated on this we have; after reading the tea leaves, here are a few (non-binding) predictions on the future of web design and development.
Bots get a bad rap – not all are malicious and evil.
A bot is a software application that runs a basic, automated task. As the web evolves, bots are becoming more integrated into the overall UX (User Experience) of a site to help visitors carry out specific tasks. For instance, chatbots have become a new standard for online customer support. The extent of their usefulness is still in question; for now, deep learning limitations can quickly expose the non-human element. However, as artificial intelligence continues to progress, future online interactions will advance as well. The website of the future should be a natural dialogue between user and an interface assistant.
Bots can be used for a variety of tasks, including:
- Answering questions
- Providing customer support
- Scheduling appointments
- Managing social media accounts
- And more
AI, such as ChatGPT and Bard, are currently being used in writing web content in a variety of ways, including:
- Generating new content, such as articles, blog posts, and social media updates.
- Translating text from one language to another.
- Summarizing long pieces of text.
- Answering questions in an informative way.
- Personalizing content for individual users.
AI is still under development, but it is already being used to create high-quality content that is relevant and engaging. As AI continues to improve, it is likely that it will play an even greater role in the creation of content in the future.
Here are some examples of how AI is being used in writing content today:
- The Associated Press uses AI to generate news articles.
- Google Translate uses AI to translate text between languages.
- Quora uses AI to answer questions in an informative way.
- Netflix uses AI to personalize content for individual users.
AI is also being used to create new forms of content, such as chatbots that can hold conversations with humans. As AI continues to develop, it is likely that we will see even more innovative uses of AI in writing content. The website of the future will be a natural extension of the user's experience. Bots will be able to understand the user's needs and preferences and provide them with the information and services they need in a timely and efficient manner.
RELATED: ChatGPT Knows Enough to Be Dangerous
Web-based applications, or apps, are a game-changer. Still, there’s a lot of noise out there and an avalanche of options. Yes, there’s something for everyone, but do you really need it? Should you sign up for Zizzle? What about Bing-Bong? Does your ChatFace account connect to Flip-Flop? Probably not, since those products are all completely fictitious.
The point is, with so many choices, buzzwords, and acronyms, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The more relevant questions are: “Do you really need an app?” and if so, “Is it a web app or a mobile app?” Maybe it’s not an app at all, but Software as a Service (SaaS). You will have to consider how these are different from one another, and which are the most relevant for you.
Chances are you’re going to need something; today most web projects have some sort of third-party integration, and many have more than one. Unfortunately, disparate components behave differently, and they don’t always play nicely together. The websites of the future will fix this problem and cut down on the laborious and costly process of integrating all those different solutions. Just imagine: a real-time, single sign-on dashboard that brings all your software together into a seamless experience. One ring to rule them all.
The business side of the web, namely as an advertising mechanism, is its very foundation. However, the way we’re served advertisements and how we engage with that information will continue to evolve. It’s a never-ending chess match between digital advertisers and consumers.
Today’s web users are conditioned to ignore most promotional content. To compensate, banners and ads became larger, followed by an intrusive wave of pop-ups and interstitials (ads that block content until you find and tap the little ‘X’). In response, savvy users made ad-blockers a new standard on their browsers. Google recently interceded on the buyer’s behalf: sites, where advertising obscures too much content, are now penalized with a lower search ranking.
The future of web will likely see a “less is more approach” with fewer ads and more relevant content. For now, native ads (where advertisements integrate seamlessly with a website) and incentive-based content promotion are the new normal. Traditional display ads are already being reinvented (again) and are leaning heavily on a content type that’s transforming the web.
VIDEO (KILLED THE RADIO STAR)
It’s official: video is taking over the internet. In 2023, video is considered to account for an incredible 82% of all internet traffic. c. Currently, there are more videos uploaded to the web in one month than television has produced in the last three decades. Wow.
Video checks all the boxes for digital advertisers and end-users; it will dominate the web of the future for many reasons. Search engines love it, and consumers can’t get enough - visitors share video more than any other content type. Click-through rates skyrocket when an email contains a video. Perhaps most importantly, video increases user engagement, time spent on a website, and, ultimately, conversions.
The video age changes not only the way information is delivered but also how its created and distributed. As the web evolves from a text and image medium to full motion/video, more advanced tools will be introduced for a new generation. Sure, anyone with a smartphone can already shoot and post a quick, guerilla-style video, but in past years it’s been easy to spot (and often dismiss) the amateurs. With the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, it’s not as easy to tell the difference; content creators can produce and broadcast professional quality content quickly and affordably. Better get ready for your close-up.
OUT WITH THE OLD
The future of the web will likely redefine the web itself, and end traditional design and development. Users are demanding complex and immersive content delivered lightning-fast, and their primary means of consumption is a mobile device. To give the people what they really want the web industry will break free of the time-worn conventions and rethink the medium.
We in the industry are creators and inventors and tinkerers, so we’re already working on it. Virtual and Augmented Reality, Textile Design (or Quantum Paper), Pageless Websites, Non-Standard Navigation, Motion-User Interfaces, Age-Responsiveness, Hapnotic Feedback, De-Linearity – are just a few web design and development buzz-phrases to remember. The web has always been and always will be fluid; as technology advances and user behavior changes, it’s necessary to adapt.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Was dial-up internet connection the last time you thought about your website? If so, we should talk. Let us help you prepare for the future of web; schedule your free, thirty-minute website assessment today!