Web Design and Development Trends for 2006 | December 8, 2005
The Web Standards movement has increasingly been gaining speed over the last couple of years. Once the preserve of a few high profile bloggers and evangelists, more and more developers have become wise to the benefits of meaningfully marked-up documents that separate content, presentation and behaviour.
2005 saw a rising demand for standards based developers, both from web design agencies, and remarkably also from end clients. 2005 also saw the success of @media, Europe’s first conference devoted to web standards.
I think 2006 will be the tipping point for standards based development as more and more companies come see web standards as a core part of their process.
The last few months of 2005 saw a huge flurry of activity, with a new high-profile web application launching almost every week. With advanced interactivity not seen before on the web, 2006 looks set to be the year of the web application.
2005 also saw the emergence of Ruby on Rails, the combination of an obscure yet elegant programming language with a rapid application development framework. Originally created by 37 Signals for their Basecamp project management tool, Rails promises unrivalled development speeds, some say as much as ten times faster than traditional methods. Rails also boasts close Ajax integration, and looks set to be the default development framework for many web 2.0 applications.
2006 is going to see Ruby on Rails development take off in a big way, with Rails developers never short of work. There will be an increasing number of hosts offering Rails support, as well as a slew of new books on the subject.
With 2006’s focus on web applications, slick user interface and interaction design is going to become even more essential. Some applications will attempt to mimic the desktop environment, and fail abysmally. Instead the trend for simple and elegant solutions will continue.
As resolutions increase in size, big fonts will dominate the first half of the year. With the success of the Firefox logo, the new breed of web 2.0 applications will choose soft, three-dimensional illustrative logos that pay homage to the icons of their desktop equivalents.
Designs will soften, with more rounded corners, pastel colours and hinted boxes. Drop shadows and gradients will remain, but in a much subtler form to avoid visual clutter. 2006 will also be a year of transparency, with a profusion of fade effects and the PNG becoming the rightful heir to the image crown.
Last, but by no means least, we will see the death of IE5.x and the birth of a new, improved Internet Explorer in the shape of IE7. With improved standards support, numerous bug fixes and native PNG transparency, IE7 will hopefully make all our jobs a lot easier.
Those are my predictions. What do you think 2006 will bring?
Posted at December 8, 2005 12:57 PM