2011 was a defining year for technology. Smartphones went mostly mainstream, social media helped spark political revolutions, and Silicon Valley lost its default despot. Web designers have had, as a result, a series of interesting insights into the future of their profession.
Before we get too settled into a new year, let’s pore over the biggest design takeaways of 2011 (and be sure to add yours to the list):
Mobile Flash Finally Flops
As predicted by the late Steve Jobs, mobile Flash failed due to irreconcilable differences between it and touchscreen technology. In effect, the writing is on the wall: mobile web traffic is set to dominate the future of internet browsing.
Web design must respect this, and tread lightly when it comes to building highly interactive homepages.
Social Media Becomes Essential
As of December 2011 it can be safely said that no blog, news site, video host, or otherwise can exist without being tethered to social media.
It has become an essential aspect of website design, whether it be buttons or direct integration. Web design of the future is fruitless without proper use of social media.
Siri Starts a Shift
It’s still a weak program but eventually voice-recognition software similar to Siri, via smartphone or other device, will become the dominant way people find information on the web.
How will Joomla templates and other seemingly SEO-centric design choices cope with the subtle yet game-changing transition from human-based to AI-based searches?
Android Becomes an All-Star
Those on the fence regarding which mobile operating system they ought to funnel their design efforts on can safely hedge their bets with Android.
It’s set to become the OS used by the majority of smartphone owners, and it’s open source status makes it an ideal choice for an array of web designers looking to break into the mobile market.
Steve Jobs Dies
While his death in and of itself did not influence web design by much, the philosophy of Jobs when it came to designing an optimum user experience is something every aspiring and successful web designer ought to factor into their daily decisions.
Shaving off a second of wasted navigation can accumulate a lifetime of traffic to a specific part of your site. Never compromise user happiness – a little accommodation goes a long way.
What did you learn in 2011?
The major web design takeaway of 2011 for me was that mobile matters. It matters more than anyone had predicted even just a year earlier. Web design catered to the desktop searcher is a thing of the past. Web design that revolves around the on-the-go user is the way of the future, and is sure to be a defining aspect of 2012.
What major takeaways did you have in 2011 and how will it effect what you do in 2012? Leave a comment and share with us what you think.