Web Design Podcast (6) – The future of the web

So what does the future of the internet have in store? How will this affect your website? This week Paul and Marcus look at emerging technologies and how you can use them on your own site. All without technobabble!

To download the latest podcast click here.

Below is a brief outline of the things covered in this week’s podcast as well as links to some of the sites mentioned:

Avoiding the technobabble

What we try to do is explain the complexity of web design in a way that is accessible to those who are responsible for their organisations website but do not necessarily have the hands on skills to build a site.

The boagworld.com blog and podcast aims to avoid in-depth technical discussion. After all, there are many people out there already doing that. What we try to do is explain the complexity of web design in a way that is accessible to those who are responsible for their organisations website but do not necessarily have the hands on skills to build a site.

With that in mind, this week on the boagworld.com podcast we look at how the web is changing and what impact this will have on your site.

Web 2.0.

The web is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation and many people have referred to this change as the birth of the 2nd generation web, otherwise known as web 2.0. So what changes are occurring and how do they affect your site:

The growth of broadband

Recently years has seen a dramatic growth in broadband with 50% of UK home users now connecting to the internet in this way. But, how does this affect your site?

Multimedia

It gives you the freedom to add more multimedia content such as video, audio, and product demonstrations.

Casual surfing

Broadband users tend to use the web more casually and are not so task orientated. Your website needs to take into account this shift in behaviour by using hooks to keep them coming back until they respond to your call to action.

Broadband services

Less consideration has to be given to the depth of your information architecture, as broadband users do not have to wait as long for additional pages to load. Things can be more clicks away if that helps your architecture be more logical.
Broadband users are more comfortable with services like Skype (internet telephony), podcasting and even IPTV. Consider how these services might fit on your site. Could you provide a "call us" button for Skype users or perhaps a podcast would compliment your site offering.

However, remember, it is more than likely a significant proportion of your users still use dial up so be careful how you implement broadband related changes.

RSS and XML

You will need to listen to the podcast for the details on this one. However, among other things XML provides the following opportunities to website owners:

  • The ability to put your content or products on a partner’s site so exposing them to a wider user base
  • Allowing better communication with users, while avoiding the pitfalls of email such as SPAM filters and poorly displayed HTML emails.

At the very least you should be considering adding an RSS feed for the news on your site.

User lead services

There is currently a new wave of social services such as digg.com, flickr.com and delicious that gives power to the users. Instead of relying on search engines to find content, these services allow users to recommend content to other users. This will affect the marketing strategy of your site:

  • You will need to place less time ensuring good search engine ranking and put more emphasis on the quality of your site
  • Because these services are user driven, old tricks used to "trick" automated search engines will no longer work.
  • Content will really become king and there will be a greater need than ever to ensure it is engaging.
  • Viral marketing techniques may become a more attractive option.

Web standards

I have talked enough about web standards elsewhere in this site so I wont say much here expect to point out that web standards (the separation of content from design) opens up a wide range of possibilities when it comes to branding. The same site could have multiple brands (looks and feels) depending on who is viewing the site and how they found it. Your site no longer needs to have a single look and feel, rather it can change to suit the person viewing or the device they are viewing on.

AJAX

AJAX is the coming together of a number of technologies which have been around for a while. They offer a new range of functionality that can really enhance the usability of your site. I recommend you take a look at the examples below and think about how that kind of functionality could benefit your site:

Google suggest (try typing in a search term)
Google maps (you can add this directly to your own site!)
Personalised Google (try dragging the boxes of content around once logged in)
Other great examples of AJAX at work

But remember not everybody’s browser can handle this kind of code so its important you can still use the site without it. Also, be careful that you do not just use it because it looks cool. Make sure it is useful to your visitors.

News: Headscape is recruiting

If you have a good understanding of XML/XSL/XSLT, web standards, JavaScript, ASP/PHP and SQL server then get in touch. We are happy to consider new graduates, however some form of commercial experience would be required.

You will be required to work alongside our lead developer and so will need to be able to commute to the Southampton area.

Send your CV to paul.boag@headscape.co.uk

For more information on Headscape, visit our very out of date website :)

For more web design related news why not subscribe to my digg.com RSS feed or if you are a digg member add me as a friend at: http://www.digg.com/users/boagworld

Boagworks

Boagworld