Web Development Trends: Another year, another wave of innovation.
The digital world continues to move at a ferocious speed. And the pace of change shows no sign of slowing.
So too for the web development space, where the tools and technologies at the disposal of web developers are changing every year.
Necessarily, businesses are responding to these changes.
In 2019, 57% of medium-sized businesses plan to spend money on new or improved websites.
However, how they respond is necessarily shaped by what emerges from the latest round of technological innovation.
In this article, we’ll run through some of the trends in Web Development we’re most excited at Ignite to see in 2019.
Web Development Trends: Chatbots.
Chatbots have come a long way since they first emerged 20 years ago, improving significantly through developments in AI and machine learning technologies.
By 2020, predictions suggest that over 85% of customer interactions will happen without human interaction on the business end.
This is because 69% of consumers and 80% of businesses prefer chat as the means of B2C communication. And 95% of consumers believe chatbots will be the best way for customer service to be delivered.
In response, businesses are now rapidly shifting to a bot first strategy while building their frontend.
And this is helping to shape business growth.
Businesses can make huge savings through the use of chatbots and shifting away from human labour – for US firms in the customer service sector, savings already stand at $23 billion.
Building on these trends, we expect 2019 to be the watershed year in the inexorable rise of the chatbot.
Web Development Trends: Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of those technologies that will shape innumerable aspects of the digital space in the coming years.
And although the idea has been around for a while, we’re now beginning to witness first hand AI’s immense potential.
From Alpha Go – Google’s DeepMind built program – becoming the first program to beat a professional Go player, to improving search engines (Google), identifying inaccurate articles (Wikipedia) and Facebook using AI to drive ads and information to us.
For 2019, we can see AI making a big difference in cyber-security.
Typically, human cybersecurity professionals can’t deal with an attack until it’s finished. They’re not always available because of shift rotations and sleeping patterns.
In contrast, AI can deal with a cyber-attack as soon as it occurs, improving the possibility of mitigating the problem once the attack is over.
But it’s not just about mitigation. AI systems have now been developed that can detect 85% of attacks before they’ve even happened.
Together, this makes cybersecurity increasingly cheap and efficient. And predictions suggest that US businesses will spend $2.5bn between 2016-25 on AI to help prevent cyber security threats.
Particularly given the current geopolitical context, such applications of AI could be very important through 2019 and beyond.
We’re constantly seeing old methods rendered replaceable, as new frameworks increase web functionality and UX. For web developers, staying ahead of this curve is challenging but vital.
In 2010, Google launched Angular. Angular’s rapidly come to dominate the market because it enables developers to create web applications like no other.
Angular has numerous advantages over other frameworks. From simplifying complex coding to make for fast-paced development and its modularity, to its potential to be integrated with third-party libraries, app architecture scalability, and following the mobile-first approach.
Now on Angular 7, Google releases a major new version every six months. This means we can expect exciting developments from the ever-changing face of Angular in 2019.
React simplifies the creation of interactive user interfaces, enabling developers to interact with the webpage faster and more directly, and can be combined with other libraries or JS frameworks such as AngularJS.
React is one of the most in-demand web development frameworks at the moment. We expect to see a great deal more from it in 2019.
Compared to other frameworks, Vue is relatively simple. It enables users to plug into the specific server-side application, features an inbuilt interactive system and the necessary libraries that help the developer scale data from front-end to other parts of the development process.
Vue is ideal for beginners, and we hope to see more of it in 2019 as the numbers interested in learning web development increase.
Web Development Trends: Voice Search Optimisation.
Technologies like Siri from iPhone, Cortana on Android, Google Assistant, and Alex and Echo from Amazon are shaping the way search engines operate.
Between 2008-16, voice search queries increased by 35 fold. And as 42% of people today say that voice-activated devices are essential to their lives, by 2020, 50% of search queries will be done by voice, not text.
This is having important impacts on web developers.
It’s adding greater impetus to the need for making websites mobile responsive.
And it means that, as we increasingly use voice search, web developers may need to integrate voice search functions internally on their websites. This will enable consumers to find what they want, and in the way they want.
There are API’s available for this, and Chrome and Firefox support this technology. It’s just a question of developers responding to consumer desire.
2019 will certainly see the continued rapid rise of voice search optimization. But how far this goes next year remains to be seen.
Web Development Trends: Motion UI.
As users have grown tired of crazy GIFs and flashing ads, we can see a trend for simplicity and minimalism in web design gaining traction.
Perhaps this is part of why the size of the internet seems to be affecting our attention spans. Since 2000, average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in 2013 (a goldfish is only 9 seconds).
Either way, sophisticated Motion UI and moderate designs are becoming a popular way to keep user’s attention.
The incorporation of Motion UI – through elements like hovers, animations, modular scrolling, page header transition – is breathing life into websites and mobile apps, promoting seamless user experience.
One of our favourite websites using Motion UI at the moment is the Atlantic’s Population Healthier page. Its seamless motion adds an artistic style that offers developers the ability to distinguish their websites from the thousands of others using static UI.
We expect such technology to gain increasing traction as a way to keep customers engaged throughout 2019.
Web Development Trends: Progressive Web Apps
We’re living in a smart-phone world.
And web developers are having to respond by increasingly building for mobiles first, rather than as an after-thought.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) aren’t a new idea. In principle, they’ve been around since 2007. But particularly in the last few years, PWAs have become the major competitor of native mobile apps.
PWAs feel like native mobile apps and load like regular web pages, but offer user functionalities like working offline, push notifications, device hardware access and apps loading instantly.
Through such mechanisms, PWAs can deliver extraordinary user experience, simplifying user’s interaction with applications, and promoting customer loyalty and conversion.
When The Washington Post launched a PWA version of their website, they experienced a near five-fold increase in user engagement. And there are numerous other success stories here, from Alibaba to Twitter. They’ve all leveraged the power of PWAs to bridge the gap between the native app and web users.
The technology might still be relatively new, but there is huge promise here and PWAs are a rising force in the web development space.
We expect a lot more websites to be built as PWAs in 2019.