2012 – A New Year of Progress

As we wind down 2011 and prepare for 2012, it’s hard not to ponder what will be in store for us in the next year when it comes to User Experience and Web Development.  Here are a few things that I foresee happening sometime in 2012.

Mobile Everywhere

Every quarter, we see more and more consumers purchasing Smartphones and Tablets.  We see a huge increase  in mobile traffic and general consumption as well.  We’re also seeing consumer behaviors changing because of these devices.  These are statistics that cannot be ignored by the business world and because of such, websites will begin to become optimized for viewing on these formats.  The holiday season showed a higher year over year purchase rate of mobile commerce; however, it also saw a higher abandon rate which could probably be attributed to a less than optimized shopping experience from the tablet of phone the consumer was using.

More Intuitive, Interactive Site Designs

Due to the growth of mobile and touch devices, some web design principles need to be tweeked a bit. Because of this, I can see a greater need and reliance on usability testing as well as a greater reliance on interfaces that are more intuitive than descriptive.  Furthermore, I can see designers and developers working on adding additional polish to sites by adding subtle animations and effects to provide a more pleasurable experience for the consumer.

Content – Reevaluated

Along with visual and interactive design changes, I can see companies begin to take a more earnest evaluation of the content on their websites.  Content Strategy is a field that really blew up in terms of exposure in 2011 (in my opinion).  With major thought leaders like Kristina Halvorson and others bringing the discussion of Content Strategy to the forefront, companies will take notice and begin to look at what goes on their websites and continually audit the information.

New Interactive Experiences will continue to be Explored

Looking over what new(er) or refined products hit the scene in 2011, the 2 products that probably have the largest, long term impact on Interactive Design probably would be the Kinect and Siri in the iPhone 4S.  I can see people continue to explore and test out new ways of interacting with other products through touchless gestures (Kinect) and voice (Siri).  What could be done on a website if it used the webcam and could be interacted with in ways similar to a Kinect?  Motion-based navigation and a number of other possibilities are all within reach in the very near future and I think 2012 will begin to show up more refined concepts in this area.  Voice on the other hand is currently available but not in as eloquent of a solution as Siri.  I can see a web-based Siri becoming available in some form by the end of 2012 in which voice recognition can be used to fill out forms, navigate a website, and do a number of other things.

I’m sure if I thought for a bit longer, I think that I’d be able to come up with a few more ideas.  But right now, these are the ones that come into my mind and in which I’m most excited about.  Anything is possible when it comes to technology, now it’s time to see how close we can get using today’s tools and techniques to making such a reality.  It’s time to reach just a bit farther than before.

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