With the new year closing in fast, the web development experts at 4mation Technologies offer their top tips for trends to keep an eye on in 2015.
As we discussed in our earlier blog post, Online marketing trends that will impact your business in 2015, the trend towards mobile internet usage continues to grow at an exponential rate – and in 2015, it’s imperative that your business have a mobile-optimised web presence in order to stay competitive.
With the rise of 4G internet connections on our mobile devices and super-fast broadband into our offices and homes, we’ve become accustomed to having everything at our fingertips in an instant. At the same time, these increases in speed have also tempted many web development agencies and their clients to increase their use of heavy-weight design elements and hefty scripts to support complex functionality. However, with great speed comes great impatience. Your website might look great and have sophisticated capabilities, but if your users have to wait even a few seconds too long for it to load on their mobile devices, they won’t stick around to find out how great it is – they’ll jump back to the Google search results and move on to your competitor’s site instead. In 2015, expect to see this level of impatience increase even further.
What we’re seeing now, and will continue to see well into next year and beyond, is a simplification of website content and coding to ensure – despite our connection speeds becoming blazingly fast – that our websites are lighter-weight than ever before. By utilising best-practice responsive web design techniques that combine dynamic formatting (through CSS media queries) with on-the-fly processing of images and assets, websites can now look better and react faster than ever before – no matter what device they’re accessed on.
In a world where we’re now continually bombarded with distractions from our multi-tasking devices and omnipresent social platforms, taking a few seconds to move on to the next page of your website can lead a potential customer to flick over to check their Facebook or Twitter feed – and then forget about what they were doing on your website in the first place. In these instances, it’s important to either minimise the delay – or creatively manage the user experience to keep them engaged. One web development method that achieves both objectives is what’s known as a Single Page Application (or SPA).
To provide a more fluid and instant experience for users, Single Page Applications either load all of the required website code at once within a single load – or content is pulled into the single page dynamically as and when it is required. You may have noticed the trend towards SPAs increasing across responsive websites, where content instantly updates as soon as you click on a link or button. But they’re also being used increasingly to drive dynamic mobile applications and web-based software systems.
There are many popular frameworks available to implement SPAs, but one that has been gaining increasing popularity throughout 2014 is AngularJS, which is backed and maintained by Google. Touted as
“what HTML would have been, had it been designed for building web-apps”, Angular extends the static language of HTML by teaching the web browser new ways to interact with data and user input. By simplifying application development, Angular helps to speed up the loading and response times of dynamic web applications without making sacrifices on functionality.
Technology research firm, Gartner, has released its annual Strategic Technology Trends list for 2015 – this year including cloud computing for the sixth consecutive year. Citing mobile device growth as a major contributor to the rising trend, the report declares cloud computing to be “the new standard for application development” for both internal and external business systems.
In addition to greater numbers of mobile internet users, there has also been a trend towards more web-enabled devices per user – including mobile phones, tablets, phablets, laptops and smart TVs. Since cloud computing applications (or Software as a Service (SaaS) as it sometimes known) is centrally hosted and accessed by users through a web browser, it is generally available to any device on any operating system. Through responsive design, the user experience can be optimised for each device’s size and format – and even developed to allow for user input via multiple screens simultaneously.
Due to their centralised management, cloud computing applications are also easier, faster and more affordable to update – particularly across large, geographically dispersed deployments.
In increasing numbers this year, providers of SaaS applications are developing APIs (or Application Programming Interfaces) that allow the functionality of their cloud-based applications to be extended upon and integrated with a number of the third-party systems your business is likely to be using.
By utilising common languages for sharing data between applications, APIs mean that you can now connect your website or web-based software system to many popular CRM systems, accounting packages, project/resource management systems, marketing software packages, customer support systems and the like. Once an API connection has been implemented, two-way data transfer between your applications means that all of your records are updated instantly and automatically – reducing or eliminating the need to manually update multiple systems, along with the cost and accuracy implications that go along with that.
Need a responsive website or web-based application with sophisticated, custom-built functionality? Want to integrate your multiple business systems or build a custom web-based application to increase workplace efficiency? Contact the digital strategists and web development experts at 4mation today.