Web Development Trends in 2021
The web industry continues to grow with new technology. Here are some of the major trends we’ll see progressing in 2021.
Progressive web applications
When the first smartphones were launched a lot of the functionality such as geolocation, maps, camera, push notifications and offline mode were only available via apps and not the internet browsers that came with the devices. If you wanted to use these features the only way to do so was via an app. Nowadays that has all changed and the browsers on these devices have nearly if not most of the functionalities that were accessed via the apps such as push notifications, camera access, and offline mode.
What this means is we no longer need to convince our target audience to download and install the applications onto their device, they now can get this directly from the browser without having to download anything. We now only need one code base rather than having to develop apps for each operating system (ios, android, windows, etc) which saves a lot of development time. Apps would also have to be approved to feature on the store library (apple store for example) but this no longer needs to be the case and the progressive web app doesn’t have to pay a cut for the privilege of being on those stores.
Typically the biggest difference between a web application and a progressive web application is that it must be available offline as well.
Websites will start to feel more app like
Western Red Cedar https://www.realcedar.com/
Hi-Rez Studios https://www.hirezstudios.com/
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
An increase in open-source machine learning frameworks such as Google’s own Tensorflow.js which makes it easier to use and develop. This harnesses devices such as microphones for speech recognition, webcams for gesture detection, for example, image classification, text classification for conversational AI (chatbots), and other sensors much like progressive web applications but with added functionality for machine learning
As we all use deep learning and machine learning more we will see more improvement in matching up relevant content to the end user. For example, chatbots will become more sophisticated and better at understanding the questions asked to them, and tailored content will become more defined.
Dark-themed UI / Dark Mode
2019 was the year dark mode was introduced to millions through operating systems such as iOS, macOS, Windows, and Google but this trend doesn’t seem to be going away soon with many websites such as Twitter and YouTube now including this functionality too.
Typically, websites are now starting to offer 2 versions of their website; the traditional ‘light’ theme with dark text on a light background and the option for a darker theme with lighter text on a dark background. The dark/light theme can either be automatically recognised from the operating system settings (if the operating system is selected in dark mode then the website will be presented in dark mode also) or in most cases the setting is manually chosen by the user, so they could decide that they prefer the website in dark mode but their operating system is in light mode.
The health benefits of offering a darker theme are still up for debate but having a darker theme enhances accessibility to people who may be more sensitive to bright screens and it also helps battery/energy with screens where brighter colours consume more energy. With the rise of it on operating systems and popular websites the expectation and popularity of giving the user this option is on the increase.
Websites will start to feel much more application based where pages are seamlessly loaded and will be much faster creating a much more pleasant user experience. Dark mode will continue to be a popular option for users. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be able to predict with accuracy the content the user wants and needs.
About the Author
Stephen is a web developer who has been building websites and applications for over a decade. He continues to build projects and solutions for clients and enjoys teaching others in his field.