This year has been one of significant change for me personally and professionally. Change is always good in my book, and being a web developer it’s convenient that I embrace it rather than resist it. The rate at which web technologies change, grow and trend is both exciting and daunting from a designer’s point of view. I’m no longer just a “designer” but an information architect, user experience designer, art director, front-end developer, visionary, user interface designer, search engine marketer and optimizer, mobile web designer, video editor (?), voice actress (?!)–the list could go on, but I think you catch my drift. Am I officially qualified to be all these things? Well I’m damn well trying to, folks. I devote almost my entire existence to keeping up on the latest CMS platforms, coding best practices, coding worst practices, design interface trends, mobile trends, usability heuristics, search engine marketing and optimization development, analytics, and after consuming all this information trying to sort through which is relevant for my clients and my practice. This is what I have to do as a small web development company. I have to be a mini all-in-one resource for my clients and still come up with compelling design concepts and marketing pitches to support the organizations who are also trying to keep up with these technologies but don’t have the budget or time. Oh–and I have to go out and get more clients too.

This may sound like I’m complaining, but I truly love and value what I do. I missed the first band wagon of “the web” in the ’90s, but I’ve self-educated and self-employed for better or worse and it’s exhilarating. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The following is a list of things I consider to be the most relevant and up-and-coming (meaning, like, tomorrow) web technologies:

Ok yeah it’s not totally here yet, but it will be. Front end development is getting deeper and more involved everyday and now there is a way to easily incorporate more dynamically generated elements and semantically effective code. The faceless DIV is like a Mr. Potato Head with no features. HTML5 requires Mr. Div to maybe put some eyes and ears on (no feet though).

Mobile Interface Design
Two years ago websites said “I don’t need a Mini Me.” Now there is a whole society of Mini Me’s running around with barely any clothes on and some are deformed. It’s no longer a question if you should have a mobile site but how soon can I afford one? Social media has changed the way we behave and what we expect from our media devices, and we want instant gratification. At least we don’t have to blame MTV for ruining our attention spans anymore.

Social Media
Doh! I said it. Web developers cringe when they hear this because everyone wants their own Facebook built for $100. Not going to happen. That said, it’s refreshing that there is an exciting web environment to validate the individual and connect people with each other in a sincere fashion. Engaging people to remember details, birthdays, anniversaries, or relationship statuses. Whether you’re Nicki Minaj or Joe Nobody your Facebook profile has the same capabilities as the next guy’s (for the most part).

JavaScript libraries
Write less. Do more. Enough said.

Search Engine Marketing & Optimization
An obvious and ongoing topic of interest. Google has gone from a “successful company” to an “information monstrosity that may control your life.” Run and hide! Just kidding. It’s pretty hard to hide from Google in my opinion. Soon they will have an app that records the number of splashes in your toilet and average how much crap is generated in your neighborhood and/or household. Sorry that is gross, but I was trying to think of the most personal type of app someone could develop. Another question is “what is going to be the next Google?” Will it be Facebook? I mean, there is no movie about Google. Oh I know! Maybe The Matrix Trilogy is a prequel to The Social Network. Perhaps the machines were escorting Neo to a computer lab someplace where he created Facebook.

Keep creating original content folks and we can maintain a clean, healthy web environment. Don’t make waste! Be sincere! Be an engaged and thoughtful contributor!

Web typefaces
Ok not EVERYONE cares about this, but it is neat that we aren’t always limited by idiotic web fonts. I hope Comic Sans does stay around so we designers can continue to laugh at it. Now we can use stuff like Cufon and TypeKit.

Am I missing something? I probably am. Please comment and join this conversation if you feel so inclined. A question at the Ann Arbor SPARK roundtable discussion was raised earlier this evening. “How do I become the venue in which to have conversations?” Answer: start the conversation.

3 responses

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Seems like geolocation / tracking is getting more popular?

November 10, 2010 8:39 am

Yes! Thank you.

November 10, 2010 12:25 pm

Well I think you can expand on the web-type faces. Especially Google Web Fonts.

Also, HTML 5 canvas is very ground breaking!

October 5, 2011 4:57 pm

Comment now!