Every year, the world of web design changes. One moment, everybody is investing in mobile, the next its secure HTTP.
Things have changed a lot in 2016, thanks to the rapid march of many underlying technologies that are profoundly interrelated with the web. We saw the first examples of working, AI-powered chatbots as well as full VR without any of the motion blur that plagued early attempts at the technology during the 1990s.
It’s a genuinely exciting time for web design. So how are things expected to change over the coming year?
VR And The Rise Of 360 Degree Video
Tech enthusiasts had a great time last year with emerging VR technology. But like so many new technologies, it’s still very expensive and there isn’t a lot of content out there that is suitable for the platform. But next year, the technology is expected to mature, meaning that prices will come down and the amount of content available will expand.
Leading the charge into VR is Google’s new Daydream headset which offers a VR web experience at a fraction of the price of full-immersion headsets from the likes of HTC and Oculus.
Thanks to these falling prices, it’s likely we will see 360-degree web video become a thing – rather like 3D content was for a while back in 2011 and 2012. Many analysts, however, see VR not as a gimmick, but an entirely new way to experience media.
The Increasing Use Of Card Design
A few websites, like WCCFtech and Singularity Hub, have dramatically changed the layout of their sites of late. Instead of presenting everything through traditional menus and lists, they’re going for the cards approach, first pioneered by the likes of Pinterest.
These grid layouts are a great option for companies who have a lot of information they want to display on-screen, like companies who offer sophisticated software products.
It’s also a great idea for businesses that post a lot of stories and articles on their pages and need to help users navigate easily. Grid layouts can also be used to showcase a company’s portfolio and give it a little extra oomph.
The first major area that AI is expected to disrupt the world is not by automating the transport fleet, it’s by overhauling customer service. Customer service pop-up boxes on websites are currently staffed by company employees. But in the near future, they’ll be manned by AIs, trained to respond to a bunch of common questions customers might have about a particular service or product.
Conversational interfaces, currently being developed by the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, give customers personalized support, reducing the costs of providing human customer services. It’s also an opportunity for companies to show off their personalities to customers by building AIs that truly reflect their brand.
AI-powered conversations have arrived just in time. More than 900 million people now use social media every month, meaning that companies have their work cut out responding to every message and tweet. This year, any brand will be able to build its own Facebook bot, without the need for any knowledge of coding.