The unique blend of rapid bring-up, instant publishing and global audience make the WWW one of the most dynamic and fast-paced media of our days. It goes without saying that it is the user-facing components of the web that take the crown when it comes to fast pace, which poses unique challenges for the back-end code and for server-facing and user-facing code integration.
But code doesn't write itself and user interfaces don't just spring into existence; this fast-paced environment poses unique collaboration challenges for engineering and design teams, and for those who are tasked with supervising and smoothing their collaboration. This will be particularly challenging as 2017 is likely to be a turning point for cyber security and for the e-world in general.
Knowing what to expect is half the battle, they say; what does 2017 hold in stock?
Data Visualization and Exploration
There are two words that describe what is, perhaps, the most heated debate on information ethics in the last decade: “fake news”. The challenge of separating fact from rumor has been superseded by the more daunting task of separating fact from complete fiction. This has made readers more wary not only of sources, but also of their interpretation.
Being able to provide supporting data is not only about credibility, but also about empowerment: when well-presented, it allows readers to test their own assumptions, make up their own minds and explore their own hypotheses. Advanced, interactive data visualization and data exploration techniques can blur the border between reporters and readers and turn the old-style one-way flow of information into the two-way social lane that the modern web is.
We expect not only an improvement in the responsiveness and overall user experience of existing data visualization solution, but a more audacious search for newer and better UI metaphors. The accent will shift from mere visualization towards exploration, as the focus of the experience will shift from mere understanding towards building new mental models.
Color and Expression
2015 and 2016 have seen us testing – and quite possibly reaching the limits of – hardline minimalism. It is by now clear to everyone that honest design is the right support for the sort of personal, seamless experience that users expect. But there are critics who would argue that we've been threading too close to the border between “subtle” and “featureless”. Users and designers alike are longing for a more personal experience.
Color is the most natural channel of expression, and it has not been explored enough. We expect this to change in 2017, as designers will strive to make user experience more personal without compromising on its honesty and clarity.
A Shorter Loop
Blending the borders between front-end and back-end, between programming and design, and between product engineering and feature implementation are trends that we expect to continue. Their natural consequence will be an even shorter development loop, a more energic and seamless collaboration between design and engineering specialists.
The loop will be shortened both from within and from without. From within we expect to see design and engineering teams sharing even more elements of their work and engaging each other to a higher degree. From without, we're already seeing team leaders and managers trying to shift their focus from coordinating product development efforts to architecting user experience, an act in which the product is the means, rather than the aim.
Wider Integration, Converged Experience
Two years ago, Cortana was a nifty new gimmick, but it was still more an experiment than a feature. Today, Cortana is an element of the daily life and work of millions of users; but more importantly, it's the one constant presence across all devices of an ecosystem, and it has the potential to be the underlying personal fiber of the converged desktop experience.
How users perceive the web will be directly influenced by these two converging (no pun intended!) trends. It remains to be seen how the industry will be able to deal with the fact that devices will augment each other, rather than serve different use cases. Users will expect a more uniform experience, but as the Windows 8 fiasco has shown us, the same experience is not the right way to fulfill this expectation.
Need to know more about the web trends that will mark your career and your business? Join us at the 2017 UX+DEV Summit.