When you look at a website from the early internet days, it’s quite obvious that things have changed drastically since then.
But if you even look at a website from 5 years ago, those changes are just as clear. When it comes to web design, it’s always. Marketing trends move quickly from new to overused and designers and developers are constantly pushing to match design with consumer needs.
While we can easily see how websites have changed in the past 20 years, we wanted to know what they will do in the upcoming 20 years. So, we spoke with industry experts and asked them the question:
What’s the future of web design?
This is what we found out…
Lisa Sabin-Wilson, COO of WebDevStudios
“The future of web design is contextual technology.
Contextual technology means that the technology we are using understands our needs and our environment to the point that it is seamless, explains Sabin-Wilson. Users aren’t always aware that it’s happening, because it happens on the fly.
She believes that design has no choice but to collide with the technology that is emerging today, such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the evolution of wearable tech, and more. Where does that take us in design?
Web design will need to adjust itself based on the technology and the context. Key factors of a user’s behavior and environment come into play, she says. Design will need to evolve, and if we are adapting to the technology and platform in 10,15, or 20 years from now, web design will require us to think and act a few steps ahead.”
Marc Ensign, Founder of LoudMouse
“Over the next 10-15 years, websites are going to incorporate some form of artificial intelligence. Not to the point where your local landscaping website is going to take over the world like John Connor warned us about. But it will recognize who you are, what you like, who you are connected to and a whole bunch of other information pulled from your digital footprint. These websites are going to make the experience feel more like there is a person behind the screen that gets you and less like a one sided conversation where you are subjected to marketing pitches on every page you visit. The companies that appear more human in their marketing and specifically on their website are the ones that are going to win.”
Karolyn HART, COO at InspireHUB Inc.
“In 2016, we saw the very first brands retiring their native apps in favor of Progressive Web Apps. Currently, there is still a distinction between a web designer and an app designer. We predict the creation of a new job function. Online Experience (OX) Designers will be distinct from the current UX Design jobs we currently understand. The OX Designer will be both web and app designer rolled into one comprehensive position that will see them merging these two worlds in the future to provide truly seamless experiences for users no matter what device they are using to access online.”
Jason Parks, President of The Media Captain
“It’s funny, even with mobile surpassing desktop in terms of searches per year on Google, when our clients proof a new site, there focus is always desktop first.
We are trying to change our clients’ train of thought. Our developers are trained to put more emphasis on the mobile experience because we know that’s where most of the search traffic will come from and will position our clients perfectly for 4-5 years down the road.
In 10-15 years, I estimate that the search traffic will surpass 80% for mobile. Trends will continue to shift more towards mobile only sites. I know this isn’t a groundbreaking prediction but it is the future.”
Christopher Lis, Web & Mobile Development Manager at Sparxoo
“Expect designers to tailor their designs specifically for high resolution monitors. Very few people nowadays have a 4k screen at their disposal, but as Moore’s law takes effect and time goes on, eventually prices for the crystal clear screens will decrease, permitting more and more people to purchase them.
A common trend nowadays is to limit the size at which a site can expand, typically to something like 1600 – 1920 pixels wide. This may ensure the site looks decent on large screens, but it’s a wasted opportunity to add UI elements that could potentially enhance the site’s overall UX. By utilizing all of the space at your disposal, you can add things such as toolbars, enhanced navigations, and viewports to ensure the user receives the most robust experience possible, while still ensuring the site looks good via a preplanned effort.”
Mark Tuchscherer, President of Geeks Chicago
Michael Parks, Creative Director at Skyrocket
“Truly immersive experiences.
We have leveraged WebGL to create breathtaking 3D experiences. VR has exploded and WebVR will pave the way for Web Designers. AR tech is at last poised for the mainstream…
The future is going to see the blending of these technologies to create deep and powerful experiences. VR Headsets will be as common as headphones (and hopefully equally as lightweight). We are going to see the continued demise of traditional navigational UI elements, as people gesture, blink or concentrate-on where they want to go—click your heels three times, Dorothy.
Designers, heavily influenced by cinematography will design controlled journeys of discovery, that are used to break personal boundaries and misconceptions, allowing people to unearth sincere empathy through the immersive experience.”
Christopher Hinds, COO & Co-Owner of Road Warrior Creative
“We’re seeing a slow, but steady spread of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) devices and technologies. I believe that this technology has potential to change the way we use the internet:
As these devices become more common, demand will increase for websites to be designed with features that take advantage of this new hardware. I’m sure in 10-15 years, we’ll be using the web in ways that none of us can anticipate today; However, one specific thing I’m looking forward to is the impact that VR and AR devices will have on eCommerce web design:
Imagine shopping for a refrigerator on Amazon and being able to call up a 3-D scale model that you can observe from all angles, with your VR headset or VR-enabled smartphone. Or, in the case of augmented reality platforms like Microsoft HoloLens, imagine having that same refrigerator visually projected into your kitchen so that you can make sure it will fit. For that matter, imagine you’re house shopping on Zillow and can have an interactive VR home tour with the click of a button!
One thing is for sure: The future of web design is exciting!”
Andrew Haller, Co-founder & Co-CEO of AirDev
“In the next 5-10 years, most software that today is created by coders will be assembled by builders using no-code tools like Bubble. There are several precedents for this movement: computers were limited to specialist coders before visual operating systems by Apple and Microsoft came around, and coders were needed to build financial models prior to tools like Lotus and Excel. Coding is poised for this type of transformation, and while most software goes this way, expert computer scientists will continue to seek new solutions to unsolved problems.
We use a new DIY technology called Bubble, which not only builds web sites and apps faster and more affordable than our competition, but also allows us to hire people with no prior coding experience. By using Bubble, we are pioneering a new approach to web and app building. We can create computer software, apps and websites within five days, a fraction of the time it would normally take, at a low cost of $3,000. Bubble enables our non-technical consultants to build with an eye on the business objectives, not endless lines of code.”
Lauren Hong, President of Out & About Communications
“I think website design will become more interactive. More virtual reality meets web design. Today we talk a lot about clean design, telling your story online, and giving people an overall experience. As technology evolves, I think web design will transform from your website being more of your brochure to more experiential/interactive to better tell your story.
With marketing analytics and all of the data we have at our fingertips, I think web design will become more customized and personalized.
A lot of this is already happening. As technology evolves, I think it will continue to shape how we interface with the web and thinking about/design websites.”
Alejandra Anderson, Founder & Creative Director at Beyond Media Solutions
“The future of web design will be filled with deeply engaging, virtual reality experiences rather than our plain 2D websites.
Imagine a company page with photos of its factory replaced by immersive VR films where you can walk over a chocolate factory and see how their delicious candy is made almost as if you can taste it. A car website where you can virtually step into their showroom or having a front-row seat to the latest fashion show, right in your living room or bedroom.
Social collaboration will extend to high definition virtual reality rooms with avatars of each person, where you can interact with, chat and collaborate real time.
As a person’s avatar becomes more detailed, virtual clothing rooms where you can see yourself wearing a variety of outfits will be the norm. From trying on a new watch to the latest haircut trends, it’s only a matter of time before we feel like we already have something before we buy it.
The blend of augmented reality, digital physical interaction and immersive environments will have a huge impact in the way we experience web design.”