Writing about the future of web design is not exactly the smartest thing that a person can do, especially if they do not personally know the leading innovators in the field, those 15 people around the world who are really working on changing the future of tech.
Whenever one tries to write something about the future of technology, they risk sounding either too optimistic (think flying cars) or too pessimistic (think it’s all going to be the same). And when something as intricate and complex as web design is in question, future predictions become even more fickle and impossible to nail.
Why So Intricate?
Some people might argue that we are valuing web design maybe a bit too much over other fields (more or less similar), but it is important to realize that web design involves more than just coding, website generator platforms and new technological advances. It involves art in its pure form. And when art comes into the picture, things are difficult to predict.
For instance, on a number of occasions in the history of cinema, people were convinced that the entire form would change dramatically (the pun is totally inadvertent, really). But when you look at it, movies have stayed pretty much the same since they introduced sound. Of course, we are talking about the very core of the movies.
Because of this, we have to at least acknowledge the fact that web design might, at its core, remain pretty much the same as it is today. Of course, in order for this to happen, we would have to agree that web design already got its sound and color. Which might not be the case. See how intricate it gets?
The Inevitable Responsiveness
One thing is for sure – the web design of the future is going to have to be responsive, i.e. it will need to work on whatever the device. In the future, the number of devices will only grow and content will have to be accessible and usable not only on computers (who knows if they’ll even be around) and smartphones but also on refrigerators, sunglasses, and shower curtains. Even today, a website that is not entirely mobile-friendly might as well close shop.
The Disappearance of Text
If you are the grumpy kind of person, or if you happened to be alive when people still read actual, physically-present books, you probably find yourself hating online content from time to time. Every now and then, it feels like everything is heading towards content and devices that can be consumed and used by chimpanzees and other advanced primates.
There used to be a time when a paragraph was allowed to be longer than two very simple sentences.
It is not that obscene to imagine a world where the “tenets of web design” will say – only one word per line. If possible, replace verbs with arrows and nouns with icons.
And while things might never go this far, web design will definitely get even more removed from text.
The Rise of Uniformity
The increased uniformity of websites is most probably going to be in our future and for a number of reasons. The first of these reasons is that a relatively large number of websites is going to exist to fulfill a purpose that is very mundane and pedestrian. For instance, you will use a website (or some future version of a website) to pay for your electricity bills, or to purchase a hat, or to vote. Or even to do something less “common” at face value, but which is still more functional than enjoyable.
You do not want to have to search for the thing you need in an ocean of animations, icons replacing text (read above) and other elements that make websites different from one another. In addition to this, some trends are always going to be prevalent and beloved by the majority. It is the way the human race functions. For instance, when is the last time you watched a movie without a superhero in it? The same will happen with websites. People like sameness.
Finally, web design is going to move from the hands of experts and artists into the hands of laypeople, people who know as much about web design as they do about splitting the atom. We are already seeing this with one site builder after another popping up and vying for the attention of the masses.
The only way to enable them to be good at web design is to cut everything up into elements that they will then combine. Sure, it will be possible to create diverse websites (we can already see this today with website builders), but deep inside, as a species, we will “feel” those standardized elements and their “boring” interplay.
The Very “Out There” Possibility
Of course, there is always the possibility that a day will come when websites and hosting as we know them will cease to exist. There will not even be such a thing as the Internet. Computers will be long gone. Instead, everything will be connected in some kind of augmented reality and web design will become as obsolete a concept as chalcography is today. The only question is whether cats are going to be purely digital in this world.