A web presence is a key means of interacting with customers, partners, suppliers, and many other stakeholders. In today’s rapidly changing, multichannel, and multidevice world, companies struggle to utilize the full potential of their online presence.
A number of significant trends will continue to drive changes in web space in the near future. The mobile revolution, social media boom, latest standards in compliance requirements, emerging technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 and responsive design are raising the level of today’s consumers expectations of web sites. Organizations must adapt their online strategies to take into account these emerging trends. Disregarding such web innovations places a business at a significant competitive disadvantage.
Rich experiences driven by html5 and css3 technologies
Recently there has been huge momentum around HTML5 as a cohesive platform for traditional web and mobile app development, making it one of the key trends in the modern web space.
Cascading Style Sheets 3 (CSS3) separates the document content from its presentation, thus making the editing process faster, more flexible, and easier to maintain. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been working on an interoperable standard for HTML5 and CSS3.
Design and user experience
User Experience design greatly affects consumer perception and response to products and services. The trends in web design and user interfaces are evolving very quickly, but most adhere to the following standards:
Leaner, faster, more efficient web sites
The return of simple, minimalistic, flat, typographical design
A greater focus on content: it should be of very high quality and very relevant to the consumer
Simplifying the signing-in process: logging in through social network accounts
Floating menus and fixed header bars, vertical and infinitive scrolling, large images and fonts
Impressive, light, interactive animations
A successful user experience is a valuable competitive differentiator and an important business value generator. Businesses should pay significant attention to developing mature UX strategies for their web sites.
Current studies predict that mobile web browsing will outpace traditional desktop browsing within a few years as tablets and smartphones become the default choice for connecting to the Internet.
That trend will usher in a new generation of user interfaces, requiring web site design that automatically adapts to multiple and diverse gadgets, including desktops, cell phones, tablets, and TVs. For organizations and marketers this shift can seem challenging as it ads a huge layer of complexity and perceived cost.
One goal of responsive design is to create an optimal viewing experience for mobile devices, including easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling. Benefits of that approach are quite straightforward, including a better user experience, easier maintenance, and a more convenient load time on the device.
Responsive design is a relatively new approach to web strategy and organizations that utilize it will face some initial difficulties. The complexity, cost, and time needed for the development and testing of an ever-changing landscape of devices, code frameworks, and scripts are some of the major challenges that responsive design adopters will face. The rewards will be, however, an early stake in the dramatic shift from PCs to tablets and smartphones for web browsing.
Contextual, real-time content
In today’s world, information is made available more quickly and the quality of this information is becoming more relevant to the user. Context-aware computing is widely used by enterprises to better target and deliver highly relevant information to consumers. According to latest analytical research, 90% of organizations will use consumer-facing applications that deliver context-enriched services. Modern web sites must be as dynamic as possible to provide content that the user cares about in a particular moment, place, or scenario.
The social Media Boom
Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, and social networks, are now widely used by most mainstream businesses. In terms of web development, social network functionality should be organically present on all modern web sites. Studies predict that by 2015 more than 50% of all B2E portal initiatives will employ social network constructs such as profiles, activity streams, social graphs, tagging and ratings.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) supports The Web Standards Project’s mission to “make the weba better place, for developers and for end-users, by encouraging browser and web page editor makers to follow the standards in their applications.” Compatibility with the latest W3C standards and requirements isa major strategy for high quality web sites. Having a compliant website provides someb significant benefits such as a consistent look and feel, improved search engine ranking, faster loading, ease in maintenance, and accessibility on different devices. Overall, a W3C-compliant web site is properly structured, semantically coded, and alike for everyone, regardless of the browser, resolution speeds, and other platform-specific traits.
Section 508 compliance
Although only legally required for government organizations, accessibility considerations are important within the private sector as well. Following best practices in interactive design should include such considerations as Section 508 compliance which makes your web site accessible to people with disabilities.
Building web sites that comply with Section 508 accessibility guidelines might be challenging initially, but the result will be worth the effort. As corporate social responsibility becomes more and more important to consumers, an accessible web site is a “must have.
While there are certain critical web trends that cannot be ignored, many organizations are still operating with a traditional web strategy. Some web technologies will be in a significant state of flux over the next few years, but in order to stay ahead, organizations need to track the maturation of these technologies and start experimenting with them now.
If we avoid these key innovations, emerging from HTML5 and CSS3 technologies, as well as from mobile technologies, social media, compliance standards, and high quality & relevant content we risk placing our enterprises at an incredible competitive disadvantage.
Corporate website cornerstones
Recently Luxoft launched a new corporate website.A dedicated team worked for several months to implement the hottest trends into the code including the latest in HTML5, CSS3, Responsive Design, W3C compliant, 508 Section, Geo IP and much more.To ensure that the superior user experience will be consistent, each page was heavily tested on a few different platforms, a dozen browsers and devices. After intense work on the site with skilled expertise in web development what was once almost impossible in site development became possible.
It might be surprising, but none of these emerging technologies are the cornerstone of the B2B website. Cornerstones were settled long before the first developer put the first line of code, before the first mockup and even before the draft of website structure. These cornerstones originated before the existence of internet and they include fundamentals like time, cost, trust, interdependency and most importantly B2B customer values, which we had in mind from the very beginning.
The hype surrounding HTML5, CSS3, responsive design, IP location, personification, fluid design, one page, social network, coding standards, and accessibility and even hot questions like “whether interface should be a flat design or skeumorph?” – create buzz about great tools, but they are just that tools, only tools. We should not overestimate tools. The right question about the hottest technology is not if we should use it, but how. We have made every effort to examine the “how to” question in order to maintain Luxoft’s high quality standards via online interaction.
Piotr Golczyk joined Luxoft as Internet Marketing Manager for Poland in December 2012. Responsible for implementing cutting edge technologies which support company's marketing strategy. Responsible also for relationship with advertising agencies, marketing collaterals production and creative campaigns. Reporting to VP Global Marketing.