At the end of each year, people like to look forward and predict what will happen in the next year. The same is true in the web development industry where new technologies and trends come and go at lightning speed. And while the future will most certainly look different than we anticipate, we can always make a few educated guesses.
Here are some trends to keep an eye on:
- More Mobile-First Emphasis
Responsive web design is obviously one of the major trends in the web development industry right now and will be for some time. However, don’t be surprised if desktop begins to take a backseat to mobile.
Many web developers are starting their responsive development and design processes with a mobile-first approach, as opposed to the other way around. This symbolizes a significant shift and is something worth following.
- More Use of Rapid Prototyping Tools
We got a taste of rapid prototyping tools in 2016, but 2017 is the year when this sort of technology is really going to explode.
“Rapid prototyping tools from services such as, UXpin, Webflow, InVision and Marvel (amongst many others) all allow designers to quickly create working low and high fidelity prototypes of sites and services to gauge their usability and aesthetic, all without writing a single line of code,” web designer Jamie Leeson says. “Many also allow you to design in the browser and then actually launch the site itself right from the tool.”
The wonderful thing about rapid prototyping tools is that they’re beneficial both to the developer/designer and the end client. Both parties are able to get on the same page and there are no surprises when the final product is finished.
- Simplified Web Design
In 2016, we saw a major pivot towards simplified web design. In fact, minimalism became the major trend in most industries. In 2017, look for the minimalism trend to continue, albeit with some slight changes.
While white space will continue to prove valuable, don’t be surprised if things reverse a bit and text-based content reclaims some leverage. Look for more pages like this one from Expedia, where the combination of white space and text creates a simple, yet information-rich experience for users.
- Increased Emphasis on Artificial Intelligence
You’ve heard about artificial intelligence (AI), but are you familiar with it in the context of web design and development? In 2017, expect to see these two concepts collide for even more powerful websites that provide value to both brands and their customers.
Wix, the web hosting platform, is one of the leaders in this charge. They now offer a process that asks users a few questions and then uses an AI-based platform to provide the user with web designs that fit their needs best. It’s pretty cool and deserves a second look.
- More One-Page Sites
The days of having websites with dozens of tabs and sub-pages are gone, but in 2017 you can expect to see more one-page websites. As internet users become more comfortable with scrolling sites, companies will take notice and stop wasting their time with designing and developing a hierarchy of pages. This will simplify the internet and lead to more engaging and immersive experiences that everyone can enjoy.
- Virtual Reality
It’s impossible to talk about any sort of technological predictions in 2017 without at least mentioning virtual reality (VR). This is the year that VR will become mainstream and that means web developers will be looking for ways to get their clients involved.
We’re already seeing companies like Mozilla and Google invest in APIs to bridge the gap between VR and the web. More and more applications will be developed in the coming months, so don’t be surprised to see things like virtual property tours emerge onto the scene.
Putting It All Together
As you begin taking on projects for 2017, keep these web development trends in mind. The overarching reality is that things will evolve and change in the coming months. By staying one-step ahead of the competition, you can ensure you’re on the right side of the change.