The world of web development has been rapidly changing and evolving. The internet is an ever-changing landscape, so it’s important to keep up with the latest trends in order to stay ahead of the game. This year we will see a lot more focus on responsive design and mobile first design as well as some new concepts like Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Let’s take a peek at what else you should be watching for in web development this year!
World of Web Development
The world of web development is constantly changing—and rapidly at that. As new technologies emerge and user expectations evolve, we see a continuous flow of new apps, websites, functions and features.
For every new development that the user encounters, there’s plenty going on behind the scenes. As a web developer in today’s fast-moving landscape, keeping abreast of these changes is a must. While no one can predict the future, it’s important to be in tune with how the industry is moving and to anticipate which factors will have the biggest impact.
1. Single-page websites
The first trend on our list is a direct result of user browsing habits. So far in 2019, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. Whilst the shift away from desktop is nothing new, this serves to reiterate that designing and developing for mobile devices must continue to take priority.
Today’s users are all about simplicity and speed – and that’s exactly what single-page websites provide. As the name suggests, they consist of just one long webpage. There’s no traditional menu or complex navigational system; instead, the page is divided up into logical sections. The user only needs to scroll down in one continuous motion, or click on anchor links in order to jump to the relevant section.
2. Progressive web apps
Once again, we’re seeing the influence of mobile in this next trend: the rise of progressive web apps.
Progressive web apps look and behave like mobile apps, but are actually web pages that work in the browser. As Google explains, they combine the best of both: “They are useful to users from the very first visit in a browser tab, no install required. As the user progressively builds a relationship with the app over time, it becomes more and more powerful. It loads quickly, even on flaky networks, sends relevant push notifications, has an icon on the home screen, and loads as a top-level, full screen experience.”
3. Farewell, Flash
Some trends are simply about saying goodbye, and 2019 looks set to be the year that we bid farewell to Flash.
For a long time, Flash was the go-to protocol for displaying animations. However, Apple’s refusal to support Flash back in 2010 arguably signalled the beginning of the end – you can read Steve Jobs’ original thoughts on Flash here. Subsequently, in 2015, Google started automatically converting Adobe Flash ads to HTML5 – then, in 2017, Adobe announced that, after 2020, the Flash player will no longer be updated or distributed.
4. Artificial intelligence
It seems like the AI hype never lets up, but it wouldn’t be a trends list if we didn’t mention chatbots. In the age of constant connectivity, user expectations are high. The traditional 9-5 customer service no longer cuts it: we want 24/7 access to answers and information, and this is where chatbots come in. These virtual assistants are quickly becoming the norm – it’s predicted that 80% of businesses plan to integrate chatbots by 2020 – so today’s web developers need to be comfortable with the technology behind them.
5. Website push notifications
Push notifications are not just for mobile apps. Websites are also taking advantage of this user engagement tool, and this is a trend we’ll see more and more of throughout 2019.
As with chatbots, brands are constantly seeking ways to communicate with the user and provide valuable information at just the right moment. As long as the user has notifications enabled, they can receive useful updates even if they don’t have the website open.
So how do push notifications work? The push part refers to the server supplying message information to a service worker. The service worker then sends the information to the user, in the form of a notification. This is possible on the web thanks to the Push API. From a development perspective, push notifications are fairly easy to set up, and they offer the benefit of higher engagement without necessarily needing to create a mobile app.