Since the introduction of the first iPhone the amount of devices the web is accessible from has increased dramatically. We’ve changed our website building ways, but we’ve set something in motion by moving to a flexible and responsive web. Let’s explore what that something could be and how it might affect us.
The flexible web puts a lot of pressure on presentation and interaction patterns. I notice we are tuning down exotic design patterns and are aiming for simpler shapes in support of to-the-point functionality. The importance of content and writing semantic HTML is growing. Where presentation and interaction often differs per context, HTML stays mostly the same, or, as some would say, is responsive by default.
This newly found focus on content and HTML makes it easier for new types of devices to interpret and present information found on the web in different ways. This will in turn drive the growing importance of content, pushing us to write neater and more semantic HTML. Which newer devices can interpreted even better, and so on and so on.
Let’s keep that in mind while looking at the following developments:
- Performance will stay a top priority. It is now being used to rank pages, and statistics reveal a high performance website results in higher conversion.
- Creating unique cross-device interaction patterns is becoming more expensive as there are just too many interaction methods to take into account. Simple and standard patterns work everywhere and more importantly will keep working everywhere.
- The same is applicable to design. Creating context specific visuals and animations can only be cost effective if a large portion of your users are interacting with your website via that specific context.
We’re moving to simpler, content oriented, and more effective cross-context solutions.
This is what’s happening on the sideline:
- We’re being introduced to data abstraction services. There are moments when you no longer interact with apps or websites directly but interact via notifications or other layers on top of the actual data. Think replying to messages via notification center, or Google presenting results of a search query on the search page.
- Voice and speech algorithms like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Voice Search are getting better each year.
- Data interpretation algorithms are emerging around us, things like IBM’s Watson, Microsoft’s project Adam and Facebook’s DeepFace are getting better at interpreting data and linking data together. They’re changing how we get to our data.
Looking at all this from a distance, I wonder why in a couple more years, would we need screens at all? If we’d ducttape all these technologies together, they could interact with the web for us.
Why manually tap buttons, enter search queries, and slide sliders if you could interact with these agents by voice. Isn’t it easier and more natural to just ask your device what the best insurance policy is? An agent as described above could quickly compare data from around the world and literally tell you which one you need. If it requires additional data, it could just ask, and you might even tell it, not by sliding bars, but by speaking.
So I wonder, could this be the next disruptive technology, will future devices be browsing the web for us?