Is coding becoming obsolete? Is there any single more important factor for performance than page speed? These questions are driving the direction of technology going into 2020. We’re here to weigh in on 6 trends in web app development will continue to shape the way that we build web apps well into the future, but with an immediate impact on 2020. Everything should remain progressive, intuitive, fast, and user focused. With the user in mind – you can always deliver the most value. These 6 trends back up the need for that user-focused mindset to continue into 2020, while also introducing alternative development techniques that can help future-proof your processes.
Responsive, mobile-first design
With Google recently acknowledging the weight that mobile-first has on SEO, many companies have been scrambling to ensure their entire web presence is optimized for mobile. A focus on responsive design is no different, not only do metrics like engagement and time on page play into SEO – they’re excellent benchmarks for how well your web apps are performing.
Incorporating responsive design has been demonstrated to increase mobile traffic, lower bounce rates and just flat out improve the experience all users have on your website. Your app should always be optimized for all available mobile users and tested extensively on them as well.
This gif from GIPHY showcases the power of responsive design.
AMP and page speed optimization
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is Google’s web component framework and website publishing technology used to “provide a user-first format for web content.” AMP serves stripped down versions of existing pages in a format that is optimized for mobile load speed. At face value – AMP has no direct application to web app development because web apps are built and loaded separately of the pages themselves. However, AMP directly affects how people get to the page your app is hosted on. Utilizing AMP or otherwise page speed optimized pages to get users into your site, and then having a separate page for the app itself is an extremely valid strategy that ticks both boxes. Make sure your other web development initiatives consider the potential benefit of AMP and optimizing your pages for load speed.
"A good strategy is to make the entry point into your site an AMP page, then warm up the PWA behind the scenes and switch to it for the onward journey."
Learn more on the official AMP resource page
APIs and Streamlined Data Delivery
Building an app with the user in mind is at the foundation of human-centered design and modern design and development practices in general. But – who is the user? In the case of the modern app and data landscape, a subset of your users are often other developers. Creating an API first and then developing around it saves you countless hours of troubleshooting later, and still allows you to make user-focused design decisions for the front-end. Designing with users first is not an excuse to make concessions when building the back-end.
AI & Cybersecurity
AI is involved in the future of almost all web app development. The more intelligent your development is, the more value it can deliver for its users. Keeping AI top-of-mind when designing and building your web app has been a driver for success for the past 10 years and will continue well into the future. Cybersecurity is no different, if you aren’t following OWASP standards – that’s a good place to start. Cybersecurity becomes an increasingly large issue every single year – with the latest breaches impacting increasingly large proportions of the worlds population. 2020 will be the year that cybersecurity becomes one of the most important topics for users, while less and less people are comfortable surrendering personal information on platforms that don’t seem visible secure.
#NoCode is a burgeoning movement with the sole purpose of inspiring codeless application creation technology. A lot of early-stage development in #NoCode has been focused on web apps. The official NoCode website has a comprehensive list of resources for projects with varying levels of complexity. As NoCode picks up steam, prepare to see countless new tools emerge all with the goals of enabling innovation without requiring intense technical knowledge – this will have industry changing implications in every sector of the development space.
The continued rise of the Progressive Web App (PWA)
PWAs are applications built around common web technologies that are intended to work on any W3C standards compliant browser. This means that they will perform their intended purpose no matter what device or browser you load them from. This “works anywhere on anything” philosophy is the same one that continues to shape the way that we build all technology. PWAs are built around the idea that a good application needs to be FIRE – Fast, Integrated, Reliable, and Engaging – these are all standard benchmarks for web development as a whole and should always be reflected in the product that is delivered to users.
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About the Author: Cameron Avrigean
Cameron Avrigean is a Marketing Coordinator at fivestar*. Cameron is an analytics fanatic with a penchant for copywriting and social media. He works with the marketing team to create engaging content, and is looking for the next big thing. Cameron holds a B.S. in Business Management from Point Park University.