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Change is afoot! How to keep your website relevant in 2020

By its very nature, web development is an ever-changing field. I’m often to be found reading tech-heavy documents about the latest developments around website creation.

In a world where the big players like Google and Microsoft like to keep things moving along with the way they structure their services, changes are to be expected.

These changes are also driven by how people access their digital world. First, it was desktops, then laptops, then mobiles… Now prepare yourself for a world of wearables and handsfree data access.

All of this means you need to keep your site optimised for the technologies people are going to use tomorrow, as well as being relevant for today’s users.

So let’s dive in and look at the things you should be considering if you are having a website developed, or refreshed.

Progressive Web Apps

There is a good chance you’ve used one of these recently. Gmail is a good example, as is the BBC website. These are websites that behave more like an application on your smartphone. They often do share data and development with an app, and this is a great way to reduce development cost.

Most modern browsers like Chrome and Edge support the technologies to allow this type of website. Visitors like these sites because they are more like the apps they are used to, so they know how to use and navigate the site.

Developers love them because they can access all the useful tricks a smartphone offers. Push notifications, offline access (yes, even for a website) and direct access to hardware like the graphics chip.

The long and short of it is you should be looking at this technology and evaluating it for your business.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

This is one that Google introduced in 2015. Many, many, articles have been written about how users don’t want to wait for pages to load. Google also doesn’t want internet users to be kept waiting, so they came up with AMP.

It’s essentially a framework for ultra-fast page loading, explaining anything beyond that means diving into crazy amounts of technical jargon. Your website still looks the same, but it’s delivered to the browsers in clever ways to increase speed.

Bottom line, it’s great for users, great for developers, and awesome for SEO. That’s a win/win then.

Voice Search Optimisation

“Hi, Google, What’s the best product to unblock a sink?” Might sound like a strange thing to ask your phone, but questions like this are getting more and more popular. Thanks to the rise of the smart speaker and the ubiquity of the smartphone, voice search is getting wildly popular.

Gartner say that about 30% of searches are now done sans hands. But what does this do to website development? Well if your customers are likely to be using their dulcet tones to search for your product, I can optimise your site for that.

These three examples only really scratch the surface of the changing face of web development. API-first development, AI and machine learning, and Motion UI are all likely to be on the radar for site development in 2020. As a freelance web developer in Bristol, I’m on the case of these and more, and how I can leverage them for my clients. If you want to join me for a quick catch-up on the tech you should be thinking about, then please do get in touch.