The history of web applications takes us almost 30 years (!!!) back in time. On December 25th of 1990 at CERN, a Swiss research center, a British physicist and internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee created the world's first web browser, called WorldWideWeb.
The browser was also a simple WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor for editing web pages. WorldWideWeb only worked with the NeXTStep operating system. Later, the browser was renamed Nexus to avoid confusion with the World Wide Web (WWW).
Nevertheless, I doubt that any of you are still using this app so let’s move some years later to some names that actually are in use to this day. Yahoo search engine was born in 1994, Opera, Internet Explorer, and AltaVista in 1995 and Google in 1998. Do you see a pattern here?
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What is a web development trend?
I think we can say that the 90s were dominated by the web browsers & search engines trend. In the opposite to the 2000s, when Reddit, Facebook, or LinkedIn were born - this decade was much more about social media web apps triumph. And this web development trend of social apps seemed to continue in the 2010s with TikTok, Messenger release yet something super interesting happened in between.
Nowadays, the popularity of web applications dedicated to work & business is rising like crazy! Kindly reminder: Google Cloud wasn’t always with us. Yeah, for me, a person who is writing this article using Google Workspace to easily share it for feedback to my team members it is a bit of a shocker that it was introduced in 2012. How did people manage to collaborate with each other before it?! The same goes with Zoom and Microsoft Teams - those are all children of the last ten years yet, it’s difficult to imagine our today's way of work without them.
So we can say that a web development trend is something that you can see is gaining more and more attention on various types of websites and web apps within a pretty short period of time. Examples: in the 90s, almost every web owner was in love with GIFs and animations. Now - it’s almost painful to look at all of these objects moving in the background. Especially as today's web design trends are mostly about simplicity and easiness to read.
Entering 2021 means an entirely new decade for web applications. What web development trends are expected to dominate the first year of it? Based on our long years of experience and hundreds of apps made for various industries - we will try to predict that for you!
Does Web development have a future?
Let’s start with the definition of exactly what a web application is.
This type of software application is used through the internet via a web browser. Instead of storing the files on your computer, they are located on a remote server. A web browser allows you to access the app and its content and also runs all the scripts responsible for its features. What differentiates a simple static web page from a web application is interactivity. They often allow you to create, edit, or manipulate data and content.
You are probably using a bunch of web applications on a daily basis without necessarily knowing that! The easiest example to explain the difference between a web app and a desktop app is to compare Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 (once known as Microsoft Office).
The first one enables you to create simple documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and surveys without the need to download any app directly to your PC. It’s also 100 % free! All you have to do is to create a Gmail account and you receive access to a very rich package of cloud-based office tools. Microsoft 365 on the other hand is an application that you need to buy a license for and download to your PC. Each solution has its pros and cons - so I’ve presented them in an infographics below.
Google Workspace Pros an Cons Infographic
Microsoft 365 Pros nad Cons Infographic
So as you can see, one of the biggest advantages of web apps over desktop apps is their connection to the Internet & accessibility directly from your browser. Despite the device you are using, is it your work laptop or a private one - you can easily log in and use all of their functionalities. They also don’t take space on your hard drive so yeah, getting back to the question of whether web development has a future my answer is: yes.
Nowadays we’re not attached to one device at work. Sometimes there is a need to find some files from our private or someone else's laptop. Having all of these stored in a cloud, that we can easily access from anywhere we are and any device we use is definitely something that will influence an even higher rise of web development in the future
Is Web Development dead 2020?
It's pointless to read about the web development trends when the whole technology is already dead right? So let's dive into the latest market demands research from 2020: as the graph below shows the share of traffic between mobile devices and PCs is split almost exactly in half.
So yeah, mobile pages (like accelerated mobile pages amp for example) are getting more and more popular but that doesn't mean that web apps will become useless. They just need to constantly advance in terms of web design, motion UI, artificial intelligence, machine learning, voice search, single page application, push notification, or any other web development trend you will choose as the most beneficial for YOUR specific project. But also - don't chase them blindly, but we will get back to it later.
So are you curious what are the top web development trends we prognosis for 2021? Your industry leaders probably already think about the ways how to leverage them for their companies' successes - make sure, to not be left behind!
#1 A Deeper Focus on Cybersecurity
This 2020 brought us several changes that might stay with us for longer: and one of them is forcing people who are not highly familiar with web apps to work 100 % remotely. Teachers, officials, previously mentioned doctors - they are not all young people, who were born with the smartphone in their hand. On the contrary - users like that don't have that natural scam-radar that you get when being online regularly. And as the data below shows - almost 30 % of Critical Risk Cyber Security breaches in 2019 wasn't caused by external, but internal risks.
So I think that one of the web development trends that will dominate 2021 is preventing internal security breaches. This is a joint challenge to overcome both for web developers, user experience designers, and business owners - while creating a web page or web applications, they need to think about their users.
What are their habits? At what age they are? How technologically advanced they are? After all, preventing sending some sensitive data to someone unauthorized is far more important than implementing some nice-to-haves like push notifications, virtual reality, or voice assistants.
#2 Adjusting Website to the Dark Mode
In terms of top web development trends, UX Design is becoming more and more important. Now it's not enough, to receive a web app that simply "works" - it has to be also easy to use, mobile-friendly, and leverage some UI Motion solutions. Another aspect that is gaining more attention here is how to minimize the tiredness we get from looking at so many screens for such a long period of time all the time?!
Dark Mode web development UX design trend
Dark mode has been born in 2019, introduced to the wider audience by Reddit. Then other technology companies picked up the idea and started to design their interfaces to save our hurting eyes. As the research shows 82.7% of people prefer dark mode to light mode so this trend is definitely meant to stay with us for 2021 as well! Interested in other Graphic Design Trends for 2021?
#3 Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Another web development trend I want to discuss is with us for quite some time. To consider a web app to be a PWA it needs to follow 5 rules as listed below:
- Responsive: progressive web apps have an appealing UX with high functionalities and have a short response time for user interactions.
- Engaging: PWAs create an immersive user experience that is on par with that provided by native apps.
- Fast: progressive web apps load quickly (even on run-down networks), without any shoddy scrolling or lags.
- Progressive: PWAs are enhanced and always up-to-date so that they can function for every user, on any browser.
- Secure and connectivity independent: progressive web apps are protected by HTTPS to ensure a private experience and able to work offline or with limited connectivity.
Examples: Progressive Web Apps PWA are already used by companies like AliExpress, Uber, or Twitter. Want to dive deeper into the progressive web apps topic and see what kind of benefits this solution brings to your projects?
#4 Chatbots Implementation
Your customer service professionals won't work for you 24/7 - but Artificial Intelligence (AI) can! It is getting more and more popular to implement some personalized chatbots to your website, as if well optimized - they can help you as efficiently (or even more!) as a human being. Let me give a real-life example.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was supposed to visit Rome for Easter. Obviously, it became impossible, as all of the flights from Poland to Italy was canceled. I wanted to receive my ticket money back and tried to talk to humans from the airline company about this. After long hours of wait, I've managed to reach one customer service employee and got a promise, that someone will reach out to me by e-mail about my refund within a few days. As you might guess - till this day, I've received no e-mail from them.
With a bit of skepticism, I've reached out to a Chatbot. And I was very positively surprised, that after typing my issue it sent me a link to a special refund form, that I couldn't find anywhere on their website. Users are getting more and more impatient nowadays - so I'm not surprised that chatbots are often mentioned as one of the top web development trends. Especially as they are not only about selling us something (like these annoying push notifications) but genuinely want to help us. Becoming a key player in building your web app - chatbots are definitely worth your deeper look at!
#5 Internal Chats & VideoChats
As we still don't know when (and if ever in the same form) we will come back to regular meetings offline, we're craving connecting with each other online. So after demanding 2020, our top web development trends list couldn't forget about mentioning communication technologies! Let's take examples from
For a large Telecom, we're cooperating with a few years already we've built an advanced system to conduct their huge internal conference online. As the Chat Microservice technology developers, we were asked to build a "second Messenger", with numerous private chat rooms, capable to maintain thousands of users at once. We've used the newest web technologies to make that happen and as a result - the conference could run smoothly internally, without using any external solutions like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Another example is our social media web application Frindow. The idea behind this specific social app is to connect people who, for multiple reasons, feel isolated from society. People with disabilities. Seniors without stable Internet access. People under lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The web application Video Chat functionality enables you to communicate with your network through video conversations! Seeing someone through your camera raises the level of closeness you feel with that person, so this functionality becomes one of the app's most important ones.
#6 Internet of Things (IoT) Higher Usage
This one is a pretty common topic described in the year to year web development trends articles. But there is nothing wrong with some of them repeating. On the contrary, if you see, that something is not just a one-year wonder, the more you should consider adding it to your website. So far when you thought about the Internet of Thing technology, a mobile app came to your mind faster than a web one - but that might change in 2021!
The basic reason for the Internet of Things to exist and develop is its ability to make human daily life easier or more convenient. With payment automation, smart home, and smart city technology, e-health environment development, we could become generally less overloaded with routine tasks and invest our cognitive resources in more complicated ones. As we get more and more drained by everyday tasks - this IoT solution can be our only hope to maintain sanity and physical & psychological strength. Want to read more about IoT and other Mobile App Trends that might dominate 2021?
#7 UX Writing Popularity
Speaking about web development new trends there is one especially dear to my marketer's heart. And it's something connected both with UX design, website development, and copywriting. You probably noticed, that when you receive software there are hardly any manuals attached? Latest web development trends say, that the application should be perfectly understandable by users without them. Motion UI, highest possible User Experience, clear User Interface, etc.- these are the exemplary elements that were supposed to guide users through your software. And this year, UX writing joined the table for real.
But what User Experience Writing actually is? It's every word that your web application includes. Pre-filled form brackets. Words used on the buttons. Navigation menu names. The list goes on and on and if you want to dive deeper into the topic -
Will Web development be in demand in 2021?
Sure it will! Actually, I think it will grow more than ever due to the COVID-19 lockdown experience. Lots of businesses have noticed that they cannot be so dependent on their employees/clients' physical presence. The communication flow that worked just fine when everyone was in the same building and knew each other pretty well has fallen miserably when we’ve got sent to our homes. Technology will never replace human contact but in critical situations like a pandemic - it’s the only solution that can solve at least some of the challenges.
Let’s take doctors for example. For years (at least in Poland where I live) they were claiming that diagnosing and treating people remotely is not an option. And now, thanks to solutions like Luxmed web application we are able to get diagnosed, receive all of the necessary prescriptions, and further diagnosis referrals after a 15 min conversation on this web app internal chat. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s definitely much safer for sick people to receive help remotely than risking catching coronavirus in the doctor waiting room.
Now we want to share it with you!
So yeah, I think there will be a huge potential for web development in 2021 - no matter whether the lockdown will end or not. Because we’ve already got used to doing most of our activities online (shopping, ordering food, taking care of governmental affairs, etc.) and we won’t give up on them so easily.
Even people who had a pretty negative attitude to web applications are starting to see the positive aspects that they have. I’m talking about elder people, for which it was the only possible way to connect with their relatives, teachers, who might enrich their curricula , or parents, who will get a better understanding of the world that their kids live in. I strongly believe that this unusual situation can bring us some unexpected advancements - we just need to wait and see!
Hunting web development trends without a deeper understanding of them is pointless. What's the point of implementing for example voice search optimization if you know, that your website will never be used by people who use voice search regularly. Trends in the web and new technologies come and go each year so what the most important is, to carefully listen to what the market demands. And by market, I mean YOUR users. Chasing trends might significantly raise your development costs, not necessarily impacting your ROI rate.
The right Web Application Development project goal is to build software that will last for years and decades - despite trends changing. That's why we as a web development company put a high focus on user experience, quality assurance, and always place your users in the center of our actions. Want to learn more about our developers and us in general?