Times, they are a changin’—as the saying goes, and while perhaps every industry you can imagine is thinking ahead to how emerging technologies are disrupting their landscape, web development is no different. Just because the Web is digital doesn’t mean that it too won’t be subject to change.

The Future of Web Development - Dawn
Are we at the dawn of something big?

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), voice-based search, blockchain, cryptocurrency, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, carbon nanotube chips—no, this isn’t a list of futurist ideas to intimidate you. These are all topics that are changing the world as we know it, and this even comes down to your relationship with the Web and websites themselves.

Let’s talk specifics.

How is AI changing how we interact with the Web?

The concept of Artificial Intelligence seems intimidating at first, but we are seeing it in action every day. It’s not hard to find: natural language processing, autonomous systems, pattern recognition, deep learning, real-time language translation, chatbot interactivity… we could keep going, but the total list would be too long to write. Plus, self-learning abilities can personalize an experience with a website, putting tools and resources to work like never before.

All of this changes the user experience in ways both subtle and monumental. And furthermore, if a business’s needs can be personally recognized and tailored by AI, a web consultant and developer’s role shifts dramatically too.

How will Machine Learning impact websites?

“Big Data” has been a buzzword for a number of years now, but recognizing how to use AI to harness data to drive deliverable improvements, systems changes, and enhanced customer/client interactions is a new reality—and one that will move into every type of industry and business.

Websites can be simple brochure-style marketing pieces, but they can also be deeply integrated tools that drive your business’s productivity by collecting, assessing, and sharing insights; automatically delivering personalized results or experiences; and empowering your goals, possibilities, and bottom line.

How will the Internet of Things shift how we interact with the Internet?

In the few short years since we began this IoT conversation, we’ve already seen how drastically things can change. You might talk to Siri, Google, or Alexa to get updates on everything from your home thermostat to your washing machine to your doorbell. Homes are getting “smarter,” with devices including major appliances and kitchen gadgets interacting with us seamlessly.

IoT brings the Internet to user interfaces on smart apps, laptops, wearables, industrial monitors, and beyond. The revolutionary piece of this is one that you might not realize. IoT devices aren’t bringing you to a website, the traditional place where you could connect with back-end development in a user-friendly way. IoT skips the “front-end” customer-facing web experience and delivers what you need in a device-specific format. This code-to-customer experience is a huge shift, and it’s only the beginning right now.

How is Voice-based Search already changing our relationship with the Web?

Voice-assistants are one of the easiest examples of Internet change to highlight, because through these assistants, however we connect with them, we are able to have massive amounts of technology at our fingertips—or should we say within reach of our voices.

We can recognize how the role of websites as we know them might be changing. With voice-search, we are seeking quick snippets that our digital assistants can recite for us from a voice-based search. We’re querying quick answers, video how-to’s, and podcasts rather than longer text articles and classic-style blogs.

Your company’s website? Yep, it’s still an essential for your business, but what it looks like and how it operates is not a static thing. It never has been, but having an outdated website is about to mean something on an entirely different level.

So many questions. We could go on—and we will. But as we look ahead into the next decade, we recognize that the big conversations around the future of web development are not simply a matter of open source philosophy, civic hacking, mobile ecommerce, chatbots, progressive web apps, emoji domains, and cyber-security. There’s a lot that businesses need to keep their eye on.

Technology can empower employees to focus on the work they’re passionate about because the mundane is taken care of; it can enhance products, boost creativity, optimize internal business operations, improve efficiency, and likely create jobs.

We are at the dawn of a web future we can’t even conceive of. That may sound melodramatic, but we have no doubts in our minds that it is absolutely true. And web development is changing just like everything else is.

Are you ready for this? We’re definitely thinking ahead. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next.