1. Animate Websites
Have you ever loaded up a website and been amazed by all of the interactive elements that are whizzing around the page and reacting to your interactions? Or is that just me being geeky?
Here are some examples for those of you that have no idea what I mean:
Even simple animations can add a lot to a website; they keep you engaged and make you want to just keep on going to see what more it has to give. Making websites look cool and engaging is a great way to make use of animations, but they can have other more practical benefits as well, such as:
- Making a website feel like it is loading faster
When a web page has a lot of content to load it will naturally increase the page load time, frustrating a user to the extent of potentially losing a sale. Therefore, many high-volume content sites implement loading animations for the users, such as spinners. Spinners are often pretty basic, but will provide a distraction for the user from the normal white screen whilst the website Ajaxes content into place and makes the website feel faster.
- Making navigation in an app more fluid and easier to understand
When using a web application with lots of links it can be hard to understand how you navigated to the webpage that you are on. Adding simple animations such as page swipes and elements that highlight the transition from one page to another can be enough to help improve the user journey.
- Driving attention
Static content can be boring to look at and makes it easy for something in the background to draw a user’s attention away from the important content. Just having some simple animations on your page will drive attention to small bite size information such as a call to action, helping to drive the user through your business funnel.
2. Phone Apps
Thanks to companies like Apple and Google, apps have become a household name. Whatever you are doing I am sure someone could walk past and say “There is an app for that”. With the rise of smartphones, developers and businesses have quickly been able to capitalise on the success of the app marketplace. Just look at Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Angry Birds and many other apps that have made millions in this industry.
This is a big deal. Now even small businesses can develop apps and compete in the same space as the big dogs. New features can also be developed into apps as companies are not having to split resources across two different operating systems.
Such examples of community efforts:
- Expo App/Build tools
Expo allows you to run your code in real time as you are coding, streaming your code to a device over a wireless network and therefore reducing the headache of compiling and adding the ability to test in a native environment over a virtual emulator.
3. Serverless Websites
Whilst still a relatively new concept, Serverless Websites could be a new direction for website hosting. Making use of services like AWS Lambda, Serverless Websites can be a relatively efficient way to host a website.
The concept of a Serverless Website is to serve users a static pre-compiled .html file. By serving a single .html file we reduce the time to first byte (i.e. the time it takes for the server to start sending data), and reduce the time it takes for the user to access the data.
A good use case for this concept is that a website can be coded to load data based on where it will appear on the page, meaning that data will be ready for the user as they scroll.
Serverless website are still relatively new and I’m sure we will hear a lot more about them over the coming years.
4. Progressive Web Apps
Thanks to companies like Google and Mozilla, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are an amazing new technology. For those of you that have not heard of PWAs, they’re a technology that allow users to install a website to their phone or laptop, in a similar way to apps, to provide a range of benefits such as:
- Quick access from app tray/homescreen
Users that install PWAs to their device will get an icon added to their app tray and/or homescreen, allowing users to load the PWA without having to navigate through a web browser.
- Faster load times compared to websites
From a company’s point of view, PWAs are great as they too can take advantage of a range of different benefits, such as:
- Cheaper to build
Due to the PWA being based on the company website, developers can reuse most of the code from the website and only add new features as needed, compared to an app where developers often have to start from scratch. As you can imagine, this can save companies lots of time and money.
- Less server traffic
Due to the caching of PWAs, users have to pull less data from the company’s servers. This means that companies can have smaller servers which leads to lower costs.
- More user engagement
Due to the app being readily available on the user’s homescreen, the app is always in view and requires less marketing for users to load up the app.
Games have played a huge role in the progression of web browsers since the 1990s. Originally created with web browser plugins such as Adobe Flash or Shockwaves, the original in-browser games were great time wasters like some app-games are today. Websites such as Miniclip and 1001 Web Games would be dedicated to hosting games, with a rich library of games available. If you were wondering, my personal favourite browser game was “Line Rider”, which I spent hours playing during school (although don’t tell any of my old teachers!).
With companies like Google creating browser-based gaming facilities such as Stadia, the future of web gaming looks very promising.
6. Flying Drones
Lately there has been a big craze about drones. Hobbyists love flying drones, film crews can get unique, cinematic shots and developers can go to town with loads of custom “hacks”; the open source community is ever expanding with new cool stuff that can be coded.
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