Fast forward to 2019, and the web is still the cornerstone of the internet.
Web development has gone from creating a simple single static page of plain text to powering complex web-based internet applications (web apps), electronic businesses, and social network services.
Web applications have shifted from just representing a brand’s image to the database driven web applications that power entire customer experiences and digitize back-office functions, making it easier for customers to buy goods and services and for employees to deliver more efficiently.
In this article, we shall explore web development trends in 2019 that will be a huge focus for not just web development companies, but for any other business that uses the web in any business function.
1. Building for API First Design and Build
APIs, or application program interfaces, are simply interfaces that allow the capabilities and data points of one application to be securely used by a different application.
They are a means by which two different programs are able to communicate and interact with one another.
With a more connected business world and enterprise, APIs allow data to be shared easily across companies, systems and departments, allowing for more innovation and of course saving on any future integration costs.
Just as you spend the time to design your user interface and experience for users, invest time to design your API: what it exposes, what it does and its documentation to appeal to developers that will leverage it to create other products.
APIs are revolutionizing entire industries like financial services with open banking, allowing for more innovation across the sector.
Your company can tap into free external research and development by opening up an API that exposes certain functionalities allowing other developers across the globe to build their own products that could help your customers.
You can also use APIs to connect different departments to share data points and performance metrics to help each department perform better.
A basic example is a sales team having an application that automatically updates them of the current inventory in real time during their customer engagements. This can be done using APIs.
2. Progressive Web Applications as an Alternative to Native Apps
Since the start of the mobile revolution, users and companies have only had two platforms for mobile apps, android and ios.
For a long time native mobile app development was an easily justifiable investment, until mobile apps became very saturated, with an average user only using about 4 to 6 mobile apps every day. (according to Statista).
Progressive Web apps are essentially mobile websites that look and act like native mobile applications.
They provide similar benefits of a mobile application (i.e fast, reliable, work offline, increased conversions, increased loyalty) but without the hassle of developing, and maintaining that a mobile app needs.
3. Designing and Building for Mobile First
Historically, any web design company and their clients have tackled the desktop side of any web application first before they embark on the mobile bit but this has to change as mobile users overtake desktop users.
Employees too were using desktop versions of applications to get tasks done, with field representatives having to load up workplace applications on smart devices, slowing down their productivity in the process.
Mobile first development will also mean that web developers start with the most important functions and content for the user while working their way up to a larger screen to improve overall user experience across devices.
Usually, they have to design a large screen desktop website and remove features and content as they make it smaller to fit each device.
In addition, Google rolled out a mobile-first approach to index the mobile version of any website first to determine rankings since more users access Google on mobile devices.
This, in turn, will force marketers and web designers to place the emphasis on mobile devices.
4. Machine Learning and Personalisation
In 2019, one size fits all web experiences won’t cut it anymore as customers and employees both expect a personalised experience when using a web application.
Technology giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix once used personalisation as a competitive differentiator but users have since then been conditioned to want, and expect it from any web application they encounter.
Hence you have to develop your web applications with real-time personalisation in mind as users continue to interact with it – this can be achieved with machine learning.
Personalisation at scale can lead to up to 30 times more conversions when users visit (according to Gartner), as well as increased productivity with your employees if applications are tailored to what they are looking for everytime they use the application.
5. Chatbots as a customer service tool
Chatbots are essentially human-like customer assistants that intelligently help users with predictable inquiries, repetitive tasks, or frequently asked questions and can be improved while learning from past results (with machine learning).
In previous years, chatbots were frowned upon, because they were not only terrible to use, but users did not like the idea of talking to a robot and preferred to have actual human conversations.
But times have changed, the chatbot market has grown with Grand View Research predicting that it will be worth $1.2 billion by 2025 and that 45% of end users prefer using them as a primary mode of communication in customer service.
We are really in for an exciting year in web development. Hence, the above stated were the best web development trends in 2019.