Human interactions are not what they used to be; in the last 25 years, since the World Wide Web was unleashed upon humanity, it has come to redefine our language, needs and motivations, as well as social norms and behaviours.
Technical innovation has been at the forefront of these changes, creating new innovative human experiences that can belong within isolated subcultures or integrated ecosystems, as we investigate the web trends that are defining web design in 2014 and beyond.
The Second Coming
Following the launch, cultivation and innovation of the web, we then saw the rise of the mobile and eventually the beloved smartphone. The first generation of smartphones to revolutionise ‘touch’ capabilities were unveiled in 2007 under the name iPhone, which was so passionately received that sections of the media dubbed it the ‘Jesus Phone’.
The iPhone challenged the market in a way that had never been considered; the user experience is as much a part of the design as the visual aspect – both of which are essential to the success of any product. With iPhone 6 (arguably the seventh generation) set to launch in September 2014, the question now begs – will mobile design continue to inspire new web design trends?
They say the only constant in life, is that everything changes. Well Heraclitus, actually said it and I tend to agree with him, even if I’m not always the biggest fan of change, I know that most of the time it is necessary. However, not everyone feels the same, for example, huge backlash was prompted when Facebook redesigned the site to incorporate customisable ‘tabs’ in 2008 – user’s set up protest groups, yes protest groups! Like I said, not everyone deals well with change.
With that said, there have been some very welcome changes. Most recently one of our resident bloggers, Katie Merchant discussed unbundling and what it means for the human race. Deep stuff, we know, but in terms of the digital age we live in and the user experience, it’s exactly that kind of thinking that creates the trends we continue to see.
Designing for The User Experience
When looking for best approaches to the user experience, top tier companies like Apple and Google are seeting the trends, because after all they are the ones creating the products and the software. Apple continues to create ‘apple’ things, keeping products premium, exclusive and integrated. While Google, who is a key contender in providing first class alternative open platforms, services and software, as well as dominating the search engine field, ensures all desktop updates are mobile friendly.
But, back to the initial question of whether or not the mobile trend will continue - so far we have seen no evidence of why it shouldn’t, in fact many users are far more familiar with how apps work on mobile devices than how websites work. A recent study even concluded that more people own a smartphone than a toothbrush – I know, what is the world coming to?!
2014 and Beyond…
As our smartphones continue to become an extension of us, and apparently more important than owning a toothbrush, this allows for huge potential in terms of influencing the future style and function of websites and the overall user experience. More specifically there will be an even higher focus on personalisation, integration and scaling experiences, especially since more and more wearable gear is getting introduced to the market.
Yes you heard me, wearable gear! As in, as close to your smartphone actually being an extension of your left arm – smart watches and Google glass have now taken the lead in the marketplace with the ability for you to quite literally wear your newsfeed on your sleeve.