Technology changes constantly, so to be at the top of your game as a web developer, it’s vital you’re keeping up.
It can be confusing and discerning when so many updates and developments are being released every few weeks. With 2017 just getting started, we’ve put together some information about the anticipated trends for this upcoming year and some advice about what areas of development you should be focusing on.
Discussing new frameworks, techniques, and tools which are all working to enhance UX, consider this blog your one-stop-shop for all things 2017!
📣 Quick PSA: if you need some advice on the best screen capture tools out there, come and check it out now ⬅️
You can find the best web development trends for 2018 in this article right here. Stating that, the listed web development trends for 2017 are still highly relevant.
Using Artificial Intelligence to create websites & apps
Artificial intelligence programs are already used successfully by Google and Wikipedia, the technology is more than within our grasp to allow us to develop software which can think and act as a human without requiring the manpower.
No doubt more web developers will develop these types of programs, each one widening the scope of technology’s ability and power.
One of their most prolific uses already is for web design programs, such as The Grid, which allows amateurs to produce some pretty slick websites by using an artificial intelligence program named Molly.
You create the content, Molly does the rest.
Having an AI designer in your computer 24 hours a day is also a more economical way to have various layout designs.
There’s a lot of discussion going on in the web development space on which new programming language you should learn. I think there’s no right or wrong here, and it really depends on your focus. However, I’d like to give you some insights on what we believe you should know in 2017.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things – the internet is moving; away from our computers and mobile phones and into our household appliances.
But not in a scary way … As technology advances, there is an increasing demand for the internet to allow us to control every facet of our lives, usually from apps (or chatbots) on our smartphones.
Whether we are able to remotely turn on our heating, set timers on our lights to ensure they are shining welcomingly when we get home from work, or perfectly time our kettle’s setting, so a cup of tea is practically waiting for us as we walk through the door.
One of the recent examples of what’s possible with AI-based Internet of Things projects has been proven by Mark Zuckerberg.
He built his own AI-based bot which runs his home. With his project Jarvis he built a system which allows him to control various devices (cameras, toaster), home systems (like lights, doors, thermostat) through a messenger bot and an iOS Voice app.
To learn more about Jarvis you can read Mark’s article here. Or watch his video here 🙂
Whatever users choose to do with this new ability, one thing is clear, the internet is expanding. Another thing is clear – hackers have a whole new world to play with, so if you’re getting into this field of development in 2017, make sure your security is as high as possible.
Static site generators
If you’re an active reader of our blog, you probably know that we at Usersnap are huge fans of static site generators. We run our website, and some other side projects on Hugo, which is an open source static site generator (You can read our review of Hugo here.)
The reason we believe that the popularity of static site generators keeps going up is simple.
Static site generators are a great way to create websites. You don’t need a database, instead, your web pages are simple files which run on your servers. With that comes advantages in website loading times, better security handling, and ease of deployment.
As CDNs and APIs are becoming the norm, static site generators, such as Hugo or Jekyll, are riding that popularity wave too.
Bots & the role of conversational UI
Bots are there to make our life easier and our experiences more personable (or at least they should). Bots are interesting from various standpoints and use cases.
Chris Messina already predicted in 2016 that 2016 will be the year of conversational commerce. As messaging platforms become more and more popular, its role and influence on web design and web development can no longer be neglected.
Therefore the design and development of conversational UI will become an important topic for developers in 2017.
Let me give you a couple of use cases on where bots can be utilized by web developers:
Conversational UI on websites
Websites are starting to jump on the UI trend of conversational interfaces. First websites, designed with a “conversation first” approach already pop up and seem to become increasingly popular.
As you can see in this example, Adrian redesigned his website with a conversation-first approach.
Chatbots for customer support
More and more businesses think about ways on how to make use of chatbots for their customer support. The old days of email ping-pong with your customers are (hopefully) over soon.
Instead, chatbots take over right at the place where they are most useful. Inside your product and right on your website.
Bots will boost online sales, solve customer problems, and provide help when it’s needed. Sounds great, right?
There are many great ways on how bots can already take over easy tasks, so you as a developer don’t have to. And as technology continues to improve, these bots are going to get smarter, more sophisticated, and can embody a wider range of abilities.
Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails 5 – released in June 2016, Rails 5 is set to become much more popular throughout 2017.
Around since 2005, Rails seemed unable to make a real impact on web development but the ease and variety of features within Rails 5 including Turbolinks 5 and ActionCable is quickly making it a firm favourite with web developers.
With performance enhancements and improved aesthetic flexibilities, Ruby on Rails 5 allows web developers to focus more on the overall appearance of the website whilst the framework itself fiddles around with all the behind-the-scenes messiness.
In our last year’s article on the best web development trends for 2016 we predicted an increased popularity of motion user interfaces.
And you, our readers, agreed with that. With 36% (or 2382 votes) you stated that this will be the most important development trend for you in 2016.
Developers need to bring them to life, increase movement, and overall create a ‘living’ site which reacts and changes according to each individual user.
Overall, I’m excited to see where Motion UI is heading in 2017.
The next generation of Angular JS
It is also expected to be more regularly updated and tweaked, with one significant update being promised every six months, therefore offering developers who use it never-ending abilities at the cutting edge of website building technology.
It’s most commonly used by app developers thanks to its compatibility with videos, animation, and other non-static documents.
There’s a lot to come in 2017.
It’s all about improving the UX and UI when it comes to development in 2017. Every new feature which graces the web, our smartphones, and even our household electrics is there to make our lives easier, simpler, and ultimately better.
As a web developer, it’s your job to make these changes as seamless, user-friendly, and practical as possible. Good luck!
Over to you: What’s the most promising web development trend for 2017? Vote now.
Bonus tip: Visual user feedback with free Usersnap trial
I know, I just talked about the best web development trends for 2017. Last but not least, I wanted to give you a heads-up on Usersnap, which is our very own visual user feedback and bug tracking tool, used by companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.
Get great user feedback in 2017 with a free Usersnap trial.