Web Development Trends 2019

By Martin Williams
Published on March 14, 2019
Web Development Trends 2019

Smart developers are always looking ahead for ways to adapt in the ever changing world of web development. As trends emerge, new opportunities will arise. No one could have imagined what the web would look like today 20 years ago, so who knows what the coming decades will hold. Staying on top of the latest web development trends could eventually help you land a job that doesn’t exist yet. Here is a roundup of front end web development trends to keep an eye on in 2019.

1. Progressive Web Apps

Being responsive is no longer enough; today’s websites need to be progressive. Progressive web apps are websites that resemble native mobile apps. Therefore, they are designed to adapt to the browser, screen size, and device specifications of the user. Since they tap into the native device capabilities to run, progressive web apps even work offline. Companies that have switched from traditional websites to progressive web apps have seen higher conversions and customer engagement. PWA.Rocks has many examples of progressive apps for inspiration.

2. Frontend Frameworks

If you’re not using a frontend framework like React, Vue.js, or Angular to help build your projects, then 2019 is a good year to start. Such frameworks come with tools that streamline the tedious aspects of development so that you can focus on optimizing the user experience.

3. Static and Single Page Websites

Frameworks like Jekyll, Gatsby, or Hugo can quickly generate simple static web pages. Static pages are faster and more secure than dynamic ones, and you can add dynamic content to static pages with the help of APIs and Markdown. If you’re exceptionally savvy, you can reduce your website to a single page.

4. GraphQL Replaces REST APIs

Developed by Facebook, GraphQL is a query language that is quickly replacing REST APIs. It can be used to decouple your frontend from your backend and improve server efficiency.

5. Cross-platform Apps

Most people use more than one device to surf the web. In fact, over a third of American consumers own a smartphone, a computer, and a tablet. Therefore, making apps that work and sync across different devices is increasingly important. Frameworks like Electron and Ionic can be especially helpful in this department.

6. Web Components

Web component compilers like Stencil make it easy create your own custom elements. Web components are highly reusable, so they can come in handy for future projects.

7. Serverless Applications

Managing your own server is so 2018. Serverless frameworks like Nuclio let you utilize cloud technology to reduce your workload, improve scaling and save money on unused resources. Major cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud all support serverless services.

8. Machine Learning

AI is no longer restricted by its programmer’s inputs. The miracle of machine learning allows programs to collect and synthesize new information to improve the user experience. TensorFlow is an excellent tool for making your own machine learning models using just JavaScript, but you can also use services like AWS Rekognition to add image recognition capabilities to your projects with relative ease.

9. Customer Service Chatbots

Speaking of which, artificial intelligence has evolved to the point that bots can answer customers’ questions and solve problems more efficiently than humans. Gartner predicted a 70 percent increase in total revenues for the AI industry by the end of this year, so you’ll need to get on the bandwagon as soon as possible if you want to stay competitive.

10. Blockchain Technology

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin rely on blockchains, but web developers are just realizing the full potential of this technology. Distributed ledgers provide extra security while boasting the ability to authenticate thousands of transactions instantaneously. IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon are all exploring new ways to use blockchains in 2019.

11. Push Notifications Replace Newsletters

Push notifications aren’t just for mobile apps anymore; they’re quickly replacing the traditional email newsletter. Users and developers both prefer discreet notifications on their toolbar over cluttered inboxes.

12. Low Code, Less Problems

Low code development platforms like Google App Maker and Microsoft PowerApps have lowered the entry bar for novice web designers by streamlining the development process. Expect to see more complex projects becoming possible without the need for writing a line of code.

13. CSS Variables

CSS variables, also called custom properties, allow you to adjust your layouts with minimal coding. They are especially useful in grid-based design. A new set of APIs called Houdini can extend CSS even further to produce interactive, high performance animations with no need for polyfills.

14. Ambient Design

People spend more time staring at screens than ever before, so developers are finding creative ways to keep their designs fresh. For example, masOS Mojave comes with desktop backgrounds that change based on the time of day, and some weather apps change their UI based on the weather. Except to see such ambient design elements increase in popularity.

15. Educational Content

Skillshare and similar online learning communities now allow anyone to take and teach classes on any subject. Thus, there will be more opportunities for budding web developers outside of academia, which will bring fresh perspectives to the field. On the flip side, users are eager to learn, so adding educational aspects to your website or app is sure to attract new eyeballs.

16. Freeform Design

Frameworks make websites faster and easier to navigate, but they tend to make everything look homogeneous. Now that nearly everyone with internet access is web literate, developers need to start literally thinking outside of the box to hold the attention of the user. While the past few years have been all about straight lines, sharp edges, and convex shapes, 2019 could bring a paradigm shift toward more abstract designs. In other words, you should get comfortable with CSS properties like clip-path and shape-outside.

17. Growing Cybersecurity Concerns

Cyber crime is at an all time high thanks to the growing number of opportunities for hackers to exploit. Asking users to log into your website via their Facebook account or other social media credentials is no longer recommended. Consumers are thinking harder about who they share their information with, so don’t ask for data that you don’t need. If you have a large database of user information stored on your servers, consider introducing multi-factor identification.

18. Broader Conversations About Bias

Algorithms make decisions based on mathematical formulas, but those formulas sometimes include implicit biases from their creators. For example, Google’s face recognition technology initially struggled to identify users of different races, which has sparked broader conversation about the need for more diversity in the tech industry. Consider the diversity of your users and seek out as many perspectives as possible to reach a wider audience.

19. DesignOps

As more smaller companies switch from using agencies to hiring in-house teams for their marketing needs, they will likely start adopting the DesignOps approach. DesignOps is based on the idea of integrating web design with all other aspects of the businesses. You don’t necessarily need a dedicated DesignOps team, but try cultivating a DesignOps culture.

20. Websites That Tell Stories

Successful brands know the power of storytelling. Creating a coherent narrative experience for your users is essential to building brand loyalty. Awwwards.com showcases hundreds of websites that successfully incorporate storytelling into the user experience.

Voice search queries have exploded in the last decade. About half of teens and adults use a voice assistant such as Siri or Alexa every day. Thus, developers will eventually need to introduce voice search functionality into their websites. Fortunately, there are already APIs for adding voice search recognition available.

22. API-First design

It’s common practice for development teams to focus on design first and worry about APIs later, but the proliferation of web enabled devices means that APIs are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. A simple solution is to start with the APIs you need, then focus on design.

23. Augmented Reality and VR

The Pokemon Go fad may have come and gone, but augmented reality has become even more commonplace. Retailers like JCPenny are taking full advantage of users’ smartphone cameras to add new functionality to their mobile apps such as virtual dressing rooms. Also, now that virtual reality is relatively cheap to produce and access, expect more things like road-testing apps from vehicle manufactures. Google and Microsoft both plan to invest large sums in VR and AR in 2019.

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