2007 Web Industry Predictions
Inspired by a similar list by Jennifer Kymin at webdesign.about.com, I decided to offer my own predictions. I’ve enjoyed watching the web over the last few years. The upswing in startups, web-based software, and smarter users has been exciting. What might 2007 hold for us?
1. IE begins the slow fade of death. Internet Explorer 7 is a terrible browser. The design of the application is infuriating, the rendering has not yet caught up with other, free browsers. IE5 is end-of-lifed, and IE6 is being phased out as people are automatically upgraded. I see more and more Firefox and Safari in my stats. Eventually, the many advantages will begin to eat away at IE’s share.
2. Funding will begin to dry up. This doesn’t affect all of us, but many startups who are banking on the “get users now and figure out the business model later” will find that “page views” don’t pay bills. I don’t think this will be a bubble bursting, but it will be a bubble reshaping itself to be stronger and less likely to bust.
3. Standards win out. I still meet developers that argue there’s no reason to use CSS. I can’t see these kinds of companies lasting much longer. This industry moves fast, and if you’re unwilling to learn new things you might as well find a new career. Tables-based layouts are going the way of the dinosaur. Enjoy your extinctionâ€”everyone else will.
4. Increased focus on goals. When a prospective clients starts talking about a project, the first question is always “why?” The point is to get them thinking about what they want to accomplish, not how they want accomplish it. See, the point isn’t a website. The website is a tool to get something else done. Until clients start getting this, they will keep asking for bad sites and ignoring their customers. More and more developers I know are starting to ask “why?”
5. No more Something 2.n. It’s a buzzword. Many of us snobs start off hating buzzwords, but eventually the rest of the world learns to hate them too. We’ll be looking ahead to defining Web 3.0 with a whole new set of buzzwords and acronyms for clients to be dazzled by. It won’t hit for another two or three years, but there are already people trying to open that door early.
6. Accessibility will be a huge business. I mean “huge” in two ways. First, it will be a lucrative industry in the very near future. Second, it will be for big businesses, not small ones. While there are some fantastic benefits for small- and medium-sized businesses to go accessible, it’s not an easy sell to someone with a modest budget. But with a growing number of lawsuits both in the UK and United States, companies like Target cannot afford to ignore it any longer. We’ll see accessibility mandated either through legislation or litigation.