Edinburgh Web Development

Looking into 2013

by Iain Wilson

7 January 2013

Well, here we are in a brand new year.  Things happen so quickly in the world of web and internet these days, it's sometimes hard to keep track of fads, trends, groundbreaking news and outright trash.

So we thought we'd have a look at some of the things going on and make a few subjective comments.

TV and Web

web tv

It's kind of surprising that it has taken this long, but in 2013 expect to see a lot of blurring between the lines of web and TV.  We've already got services to access TV on desktop, mobile and tablet;  Netflix and LoveFilm for streaming movies, Sky Go and Sky Go Extra to access TV programmes and so on.  

But in most people's living rooms is a big fat TV - a visual device that hasn't really been used as a web browser/terminal yet (let's not even talk about videotext).  However, almost 70% of TV viewers watch TV with a 'second screen' to hand - a tablet or mobile device to help them surf while watching TV.  This spells opportunities.  Most of the major manufacturers are rolling out Web ready TV's, and as they get purchased and adopted the TV may well become mainstream for Web.

More (and more) HTML5 and CSS3

Despite some of the flak Ian Hickson (editor at WHATWG and author of much of the HTML5 spec) has taken regarding the new semantic markup elements in HTML5, developers will adopt it more and more in 2013.  If done right, it gracefully defers to older markup if required.  Will it help SEO?  Who knows.

CSS3 has so much in it. It's exciting to use and makes presentation so much easier and slicker, it is just a given that its use will increase.  Even now there is some amazing animation and parallax scrolling (example from Madwell Design in New York) out there, all done through CSS3.  

And watch out, CSS4 is coming already!

Responsive Design gets real for SMEs

Responsive web design

To be honest, I'm kind of sick of hearing about responsive web design, responsive images, et al.  Every web commentator and blogger talks about it as if every website needs to be developed responsively.

In the SME world, most people do not even know what it is; web sites that cater for different devices from a single code base, and serve up the content to suit the device (click here for more details about RWD).  

Nor do most SME companies want it, if you ask them.  They want their website to look the same whether they are using it on a mobile device or a desktop. I recently spoke to a very successful Edinburgh businessman who hates the fact that his Joomla site looks different on his iPhone.  Have you gone to the BBC site on your mobile and been disappointed at the different layout?  Why? Because it is  confusing to the user when it looks different.  Has everyone forgotten that consistency is one of the key tenets of design?  Apparently.  They certainly don't want to pay more for something they don't want!

Not that RWD doesn't have it's place.  Websites must be viewable on all devices. There are situations, designs, companies, applications and problems that SHOULD be using responsive design, to varying degrees.  And I'm sure RWD in some shape or form will become de rigeur in due course. 

Also, don't discount what hardware and browser companies are doing to make site access as  easy as possible. 

It's great fun to develop a responsive site of course, but in 2013 let's see people deciding when it is necessary from a business and problem solving perspective and not just a fad for the herd to follow.

Managing Information Overload

information overload

How did we managed to gain knowledge and news before the Internet?  If you're old enough to remember, it wasn't particularly easy.  You read books, newspapers and maybe asked an expert or two.  It took time, and you really had to be interested to find stuff out.  An once you knew stuff, you were an expert, probably for life.

Contrast that to today and we are getting bombarded with information from websites, blogs, newsletters, RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on.  And we're information gluttons, spending hours consuming all this information, news and er, rubbish.  

How much is useful?  How much can we remember?  What would the upshot be if we stopped or limited how much information we consume?  How much is it getting in the way of work (or play)?

In the overall scheme of things this Internet thingy is quite new, so we've got an excuse.  It's a relative novelty and we haven't had to manage something like it before.  But in 2013, let's see people get a grip on information gluttony!

Blot Design

And what beckons for Blot Design in 2013?

It's a big year for us.  We turn 10 years old this year and a lot of things have changed since 2003, most for the better.

In addition to being very busy with client projects, this year we will be launching our second web  product; a cloud based service application, and we have big plans and hopes for it.

We're also going to be working on a new UI to the CMS.

And we'll finally replace our website with a new design.  Heard those words before?  Well, we re-designed last year, but when it was finished, we didn't like it anymore!  Such is the capricious nature of the business we are in!

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