North Carolina is home to many tech companies and startups – with more than 18,300 tech businesses established in the state.
As Raleigh is poised to become Silicon Valley of the East Coast, businesses are witnessing tough competition, especially in the tech market. And, many companies in NC are investing in digital platforms such as websites or web applications to level up their game.
If you’re a tech executive in NC who wants to establish a strong digital presence of your company online, then keep reading.
In this guide, we will take a look at 12 web development trends every CTO in North Carolina should watch in 2021.
1. PWA – Progressive Web Apps
PWA or Progressive Web Application is meant to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser, including desktop and mobile devices. In that sense, we can say PWA is a hybrid of regular web applications and mobile applications.
For users, it is a web application that can appear like a mobile application but is a web application/website in actual.
PWA is not a new phenomenon. Companies have already capitalized on its extensive capabilities. Yet many others are still exploring its capability of performing a high-quality user experience.
Benefits of PWA:
- Low development cost – PWAs don’t require different versions for different devices. Therefore, it significantly reduces the developer’s effort, thus reducing the overall cost of its development.
- Seamless Offline capabilities – Unlike websites, which require a proper internet connection, PWAs can operate offline or when the network is compromised.
- Push Notifications Feature – This allows companies to make the optimum use of content advertising and promote products and services.
- PWA combines the UX of a native app with the advantages of the mobile web – These days, many users prefer mobile apps to websites because they are user friendly. PWAs provide a better user experience by combining the attractiveness of a mobile app with websites’ performance.
- PWA apps are light and thus take less storage space on the device.
Like Facebook, Pinterest, Google Maps, Uber, Starbucks, Twitter, and Trivago, many other businesses have developed their PWAs. Let us understand how Starbucks has benefitted from its use.
Starbucks released their mobile ordering app in 2015 but realized that they would need to launch a PWA for adding the ordering functionality to it because the feature had to be accessed by anyone with any kind of internet connectivity.
Starbucks then launched their PWA in 2017. The goal was to allow customers to browse the menu, customize their orders, and add items to their carts, even if they weren’t online. Starbucks PWA solution came with images, smooth animations, and offline access.
Since its launch, Starbucks reported a 2x increase in its daily active users. Their PWA is 99.8% smaller and requires only 233 KB of data storage, while their iOS mobile app needs 148 MB.
2. AI – Artificial Intelligence Development
In this digital age, AI has permeated many sectors, and web development is no different. The year 2021 will keep seeing this trend of using AI in website development.
AI, as the name suggests, mimics human behavior and can perform cognitive functions such as learning, data collection, and analysis.
It is no surprise that it’s being used these days in almost every aspect of web development, from the deployment to running the last tests.
Benefits of AI:
- Website Development – Machine Learning: Leading web development companies, such as Imaginovation, have started operating with an AI algorithm to construct websites. It helps the web developers in decision making related to design, layout, and content, etc.
- Easier Coding: AI helps the user create website code from scratch that allows them to build up smarter apps quickly.
- Enhanced UX: AI provides elements for an enhanced user experience like product segregation and suggestion based on user preferences, chatbots, etc. So, AI plays a crucial role in making the website extremely easy for the user to navigate and understand.
ADI – Artificial Design Intelligence is a technology that uses machine learning to build personalized websites on its own in a timeframe that was initially considered challenging to follow.
Some ADI tools based on AI have become famous like The Grid, Adobe Sensei, and WiX ADI.
3. Single Page Apps and Single Page Websites
Sometime back, every action of the user, like clicking on a button, would lead to an additional web page downloaded from the server. That required creating different web pages for every action.
To simplify that complexity, single-page apps and single-page websites are becoming a norm these days. Such single-page websites are great for upcoming start-ups, as they are generally short on time, money, and sometimes sufficient content.
Future will see many other businesses opt for single-page solutions to target specific demographics with the necessary content.
Benefits of Single page solutions:
Single Page Solutions are the future of web development as they help webpage form a seamless communication with the server. Other benefits include:
- They are incredibly fast.
- Provide a hassle-free UX
- Are mobile-friendly
- Application development takes less time
- Cost-effective to build and maintain
- Bounce rate reduction
- Provide simplified storytelling
Apple is already using single page websites for its products.
4. Motion Design – UI
Motion design is one of the most impactful web development trends that is forecasted to grow in 2021. The purpose of using it in web development is to enhance digital solutions’ usability and grab the user’s attention by amazing them.
Motion design can be defined as the practice of designing with animations. It helps in making the User Interface (UI) expressive and easy to use.
When coupled with sophisticated interaction, the minimalist and subtle design in a web page looks attractive and gains user attention. Motion design elements like transitions, pop-ups, pull-down menus, scrolling, etc. can be implemented in a web site/application.
Tools like Adobe After Effects. Sketch2AE, Origami, etc. can be used to create motion designs.
Benefits of Motion Design UI:
- Makes navigation easier
- Makes website/app stand out from the crowd
- Enhanced user experience
- Makes tedious sections on app/website fun. Eg., the animated registration process
- Used to define the app structure and navigations
- Reveals hidden gestures
Twitter’s like button, Weather apps showing weather, animations in music apps etc.
A large number of developers are turning to WebAssembly – a new approach with brilliant results in performance. In this sense, we can say that WebAssembly is also the future of web development.
This helps to manage cross-platform scripting while also addressing the issues related to speed and performance.
Benefits of WebAssembly:
- High performance with smaller file sizes
- Languages like C, C++ can be used to write web applications.
- Supported by all the major browsers
- Suitable for mobile browsing
- Supported by W3C Open Web standard
- High level of security
If you want to experience the power of WebAssembly yourself, you can try your hand at Funky Karts. This game was originally developed as a mobile app, but it is now compiled to WebAssembly, making it easier to be played in a web browser.
You can also go through the developer’s blog about this project, where he described how he went about the compilation process in WebAssesmbly.
6. Mobile-First Approach
In 2019, mobile devices accounted for 77% of digital time in the United States. As a result, a new and more robust mobile-oriented approach is followed in web development.
The Mobile-First approach means giving priority to creating a responsive app or website for a mobile-first, that is, prototyping the smallest screen (mobile) first and then working your way up to the larger screens (desktop and tablet).
Mobile-first is equivalent to content first. With this approach, you give your users the content they need because it forces UX designers to strip unnecessary elements away and focus only on the essential.
Benefits of Mobile-First Approach:
- The website or web app is accessible on any device
- Mobile First platforms rank higher by SEOs
- Web developers can focus on core content.
- Increased user reach
Many companies have already invested in Mobile First websites: YouTube, Huffington Post, Apple, Airbnb, and Nike etc.
7. Serverless Architecture
Serverless application development is an emerging trend, and it’s gaining immense popularity.
It is a software design pattern where web sites/applications are hosted by a third-party service, eliminating the need for server software and hardware management by the developer.
With a serverless architecture, developers focus remains on the individual functions in application code. Third-party services are used to manage the physical hardware, virtual machine operating system, and web server software management.
Benefits of Serverless Architecture:
- Serverless architecture is cost-effective.
- Result in faster time to the market
- Provide better scalability to your app
- The application developer can spend more time and efforts on UX, rather than worrying about deployment.
- Easy to deploy
Amazon Web Services Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, and Microsoft Azure Functions are some companies that provide third-party support in creating a serverless experience for web developers.
8. AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMP is an open-source HTML framework, which is developed by the AMP Open Source Project.
Originally created by Google, AMP is optimized for enhanced mobile web browsing experience and is thus intended to help webpages load faster. AMP web pages are created through plugins.
AMP plugins are always chosen when creating an outstanding user interface without using complex coding.
Benefits of AMP:
- Faster loading pages for mobile users
- Building AMP pages is easy and reduces developer overhead.
- AMPs maintain flexibility and reduce complexity in the developer’s code.
- Optimized data consumption
- Reduced bounce rates
- Sitemap not required for AMP pages
9. RAIL Model
The RAIL as a concept first appeared in 2015 but started gaining popularity from 2019 onwards. It is a web performance model that provides an accurate and comprehensive system to evaluate the user experience so that developer can make meaningful improvements.
The RAIL stands for ‘Response, Animation, Idle, and Load.’ The RAIL model categorizes and evaluates various user interactions under the four domains – Response, Animation, Idle, and Load.
- Response time shows how fast your website reacts to inputs. A response time under 100 milliseconds feels immediate; anything slower is noticeable to the user.
- Animation speed applies to the visual animations on the page and actions like user scrolling and dragging. The ideal goal is one frame every 16 milliseconds.
- Idle work points to what is happening in the background of the website after it initially loads. Not all elements need to be loaded at the same time. Many activities go on in the idle time, from performing deferred tasks to improving page load time to other tasks like fetching and storing data. It’s essential always to make use of idle time to perform deferred tasks.
- Load means page load time. This is critical for measuring a web page’s performance. Using this metric, it is evaluated how long it takes for the browser to paint (for the user to see something), which should appear less than one second after the user requests your page
Benefits of RAIL Model:
- Focuses on the UX
- Rapid deployment of better performing web sites
10. MEAN Stack
Most of the trends mentioned so far would be deemed useless without the apt technological stack behind them. MEAN stack is going to be the highly recommended one. With its use, developers can create websites and web applications without building them up from scratch.
- Express js – It serves as the backend.
- Angular js – This is the front-end framework and has a server that is used to develop the client-side of the application.
- Node js – With an inbuilt web server, NodeJS makes it easier to deploy the MongoDB database to the cloud. It is scalable and can support millions of simultaneous connections.
Benefits of MEAN Stack:
- It makes the transfer of code written in one framework to another simple and easy.
- It is flexible
- Cloud compatibility
- Open-source nature
- High speed and re-usability
11. IoT – Internet of Things
Most of us have experienced IoT – Internet of Things at some or the other points of our lives.
The network of connected devices needs web servers. The data from sensors gets stored in the cloud. Messaging protocols makes communication between devices easier. And it’s the user interface that enables other users to interact with connected devices.
Besides, many IoT devices can display website content. These include UIs on TVs, many smart appliances, and monitors. Some of them can also search the web through browsers – for example, Amazon’s Echo and its virtual assistant Alexa.
Benefits of IoT:
- Smarter solutions
- Improved user experience and engagement
- Handling of a large amount of data
12. Voice Search and Navigation
If you want your website to be searched easily, you need to optimize it for voice search. As mobile use continues to grow, many users are getting comfortable speaking to their devices rather than typing their queries.
This is where the need for a voice search feature increases for a web developer.
On the other hand, Google, Amazon, and Apple have started offering a satisfying voice search experience.
Benefits of Voice Search and Navigation:
- Increases website’s accessibility
- Reduces time and effort for the user in searching and navigating
Build A Powerful Web Platform with Imaginovation
If you want to create a robust and scalable website or web application for your business based on the amazing trends mentioned above, then get in touch with us.
We are an award-winning web and mobile app development agency with vast experience in crafting remarkable digital success stories for diverse companies. Let’s talk.