Welcome to 2012.
By now most of you will be back at work and planning out the year ahead. The team at Eightball has sat down and talked about what’s ahead for 2012 in the online world. Here are some of the most important trends to look out for in the coming year:
Cross Platform – Mobile, Tablet, Laptop, Home Computer
This will be a year to look out for a great leap in cross platform design. Responsive design (websites that automatically resize and change to suit the display size) really developed over the course of 2011, but 2012 will be the year it really takes off.
With technologies such as smart phones and tablet PCs becoming more popular, everyone has access to the World Wide Web literally on the palm of their hand. In the year 2012, more websites will have a much simpler design that can easily be transferred across to mobile platforms. They will be based around flat colours with no gradients, no patterns and no flash banners, but with high quality photos. New websites will have less pages and simpler navigation structures to make them easier to use on small screens. Users are not willing to wait for new pages to load and pages will be programmed more efficiently so that they are quick to load.
Applications and their respective stores will become more prominent (App Store and Android Market in particular). More websites will also have some sort of app linked to it so users can install it on their phone/tablets and simply click on the button to access the page.
More niche & younger demographic industries upgrading to multi-platform web presences.
With mobile phone usability becoming more & more of a necessity, expect to see Mobile UX (User eXperience) design becoming a huge field for 2012.
In 2012 ongoing website updates and maintenance will be more important than ever in the pursuit of higher search engine rankings. A very important part of ongoing web updates will be keeping social media presence active and updated. Social media is becoming increasingly important as a search engine ranking factor. Old factors like link building, although still key to the ranking of a website, are slowly dropping in importance. Social “likeability” means that businesses who aren’t utilising a presence on Facebook and other social media sites will be at a strong disadvantage to those that do.
The mobile part of Windows 8 makes it clear that Microsoft can see the importance of mobile devices. With an already crowded mobile phone market, and a lack of Windows Phone apps, don’t expect a sudden pickup of Windows 8 mobile. Windows 8 desktop looks radically different to older versions of Windows, instead looking more like a mobile OS. This change will be a gamble for microsoft and attempts to push users into uncharted territory.
Without official support on iPhones and iPads, Flash has fallen by the wayside. Adobe has officially announced that they are no longer going to develop Flash for mobile platforms. HTML5 is the new language which will fill the gap. Flash is unlikely to be used on new websites in 2012. Cross platform design means that developers will focus on using technologies that are supported across all common platforms. Be on the lookout for HTML5 and CSS3, web technologies which are compatible with recent mobile phones and web browsers. They offer efficiency, reliability and features that weren’t possible with older web languages.