What is the fate of web design in 2036?
How does one predict the behaviour of web design in twenty years?
Imagine sitting at a virtual desk with a new application before a fresh virtual concept. Imagine having your thoughts thought for you. Imagine automatic. Imagine …
In 2036 the conception of web design will have radically changed just as breakthroughs on an enormous scale will have made impressions on the way we think and behave.
Bear in mind however, that any new technological breakthrough that is worth accepting as the natural progression of technology will take at least that long to emerge. But we cannot bury the fact that technology when we welcome it in as ‘The Next New Breakthrough” has already been around for a substantial amount of time. It was already conceptualised behind the scenes and was limited to a privileged few before being globally released. The internet, email and computers were in existence long before the world became aware of it.
Did you know that in 1969 ARPANET was the internet and it wasn’t until 1990 when it was decommissioned that the Internet appeared in August 1991? The early 1990’s brought email into the public eye and it was accepted as the communication benchmark to letters we used to handwrite and mail. It had a lot of businesses across Australia ‘learning’ how to drive this new commercial traffic. Progress was making an appearance and when wearable computers made their debut we were all trying to pronounce the word Google. Google Glass and the Apple iWatch were just a glimpse of what we could never have imagined could enter our staid, and frankly technically nonchalant and reluctant-to-change, public world system.
But we did it. We embraced technology and we got to know plugins. They started out well enough; they performed to a degree but when they began to look ugly, like everything else, plugins got an update that made them appear more attractive and their functionality increased.
This is the same technology we’ve come to accept and gladly tuck under our wings some 25-30 years after it was invented.
The Connection Between Web Design and Computing
We have responsive design, single page design, card design, and material design and they all sit behind a little glass screen impersonating physical documents. In a digital world at a fundamental level none of this has really changed at all.
It seems highly likely that we’ll ditch the screen interface altogether though. It seems to be the case according to many computer scientists and technology enthusiasts. Not surprisingly we are rapidly entering The Age of Context.
Computing in the Future
The above-mentioned book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel The Age of Context (2013) contains theory on our future computing behaviour that will change virtually every aspect of our lives. They are mobile, social media, data, sensors, and location-based services.
Contextual-Aware computing is your virtual assistant that is savvy enough to collect data about the device you’re using so that you, the end user can have what was missing. For instance, a dish placed in an oven ‘knows’ exactly how you like it cooked and will do so automatically, having been programmed first of course. The same with a fridge that recognises you’re out of milk and automatically orders it for you. The Jetsons, created by Hannah-Barbera in 1962, sent George Jetson and his family, complete with the family dog, into 2062. They had virtual assistance from their space craft and that concept was borne from the minds of men who were not physically familiar with with such things.
Virtual Assistants emulate real people so that your emails are responded to when you want them to be. Your clients are invoiced and your social media comments are all arranged without you having to lift anything more than a finger. Contextual computing on a commercial level has been here for some time now.
Building a Website Contextually
Web Design is contextual-aware computing. A website building service called The Grid is “Virtual Assistant” that saves you time, energy and all the stress of juggling your needs and tasks while you’re running all your sites under ‘one roof’. The Grid learns about you. It knows your needs, your wants and preferences and it delivers. Using artificial intelligence, it will alter your design each time you add content.
Another option on a website therefore would be to add the specific preferences of particular consumers, all in relation to what your services are and who they are attracting. In other words, including not just the preferences you, the site owner desires but also have it respond to people’s web behaviour. If one person shows a 90% conversion rate at a particular type of web design and another visitor sees exactly what they need, then in order to illicit the desired response the site appears equally optimised to each individual.
20 Years From Now
In twenty years from now, we may not have to count on web pages as we know them today. Screens may well become obsolete. Imagine the content we view is designing itself specifically for us as we upload new information to our brains matrix style. Not so unimaginable, not impossible either. Who knows, web pages (and therefore web design as we know it today) might have an impending expiration date.
Where Does This Leave Web Designers?
As inevitable as conscious computing and contextual computing is and it is becoming more advanced, it is going to change the way we create and interact with content and data.
Web designers will develop as the future develops. Bloggers will do exactly the same as the changes in WordPress if it exists at all in 20 years, become inescapable. It will take on a completely different attitude to what it has today, but then so will you and every other blogger.
Whatever form our technical world takes, instead of instilling fear in us to that we adhere to the resistance to change, we’ll subtly adjust just as much as we will subtle advance into the future and we’ll continue to contribute to innovation as it occurs.
It’s very exciting to realise that we are helping to shape the future just as much as it is shaping us.
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