What’s new in the world of web dev?

The web is a fast-paced and ever-changing medium. There are new trends popping up all the time, new browser releases to contend with, and new frontend frameworks to le...

Share this Article

The web is a fast-paced and ever-changing medium. There are new trends popping up all the time, new browser releases to contend with, and new frontend frameworks to learn.

It can be hard to keep up with all that's happening in our industry. When your job depends on your knowledge of what's new in web development — whether you're a developer or designer — it's especially important that you understand what's current so you don't miss anything that could impact your business or life.

The only constant is change

Web development is constantly evolving. As new technologies emerge and more and more devices are being used to access the web, web developers have to keep up with the latest trends in order to create websites that perform well and look great. Let’s take a look at what’s poignant at the moment:

Accelerating menial tasks

Sometimes the greatest innovations come in simple changes to existing mechanisms, where small changes mean big benefits. We know that consumers value speed, which is evidenced by drop-off rates on sites that take more than 3 seconds to load. As much as 40 percent of your audience will leave when your webpage doesn’t load instantly. This is just one example of many, where consumers expect instant feedback and gratification when interacting with your brand online. In light of this, the growing trend towards accelerating menial tasks is becoming a standard. This is true for both consumer-facing content as well as internal platforms and web developers will be expected to get the basics right before branching off into novelty. 

Perfecting e-commerce user experience

Historically, developers were largely in control of creating a user experience by dictating formats for websites and online platforms. When marketers started to understand the importance of user experience design - new roles emerged in the strategy and creative sphere that blended design with creating a consumer journey. Now, developers and designers are part of increasingly hybrid disciplines, where both are required to work together to generate user interfaces. A prevalent trend is for front-end developers to automatically suggest interface mechanisms, while designers with basic development knowledge are more in demand than ever. Today, the prototyping process is a combined effort and will increasingly merge as design and development overlap in terms of meeting consumer expectations.  

Everyday artificial intelligence

AI was once thought of as a concept only meant for sci-fi movies, but has evolved from just theory and cinematic special effects to everyday use. The use of machine learning and natural language processing techniques has improved drastically, faster than previously thought possible. It may seem that the sky's the limit at this point. Current trends indicate that chatbots will continue to feature as a marketing tool for many web developers. The chatbot market is growing at a rapid pace and is expected to reach $83 billion in 2021. Another current AI trend is its use in predictive analytics. Machine learning is being applied to better understand consumer behaviour so as to target them more efficiently. This leads to increased customer acquisition as learned patterns assist in the personalisation of targeted content. 

One-pagers

These types of websites are a controversial topic in the marketing world, because while it means less code, easier experimentation and simplified analytics, it can also present a cost to SEO and content limitations by design. Plus, creating enticing and functional user interfaces can become more challenging. However, as a sufficient, resource-efficient tool for SMEs, these sites are on the rise and the art of perfecting a one-page site needs to be a tool in the arsenal of modern developers. One other advantage is that they lead to increased user engagement and ultimately higher conversions than multi-page sites through simplified navigation. In addition, they’re great for any web developer’s clients that may be starting out and don’t yet have a lot of content to offer but need a web presence. 

Full-stack development with JavaScript

When it comes to web development, things are rapidly evolving and advancing and if not managed well, can lead to an overrun on development costs. For one, if you have to hire multiple developers well-versed in different programming languages and frameworks, and a new industry standard comes into play, it may be costly to get each of them up-to-speed. However, hiring or becoming a full-stack developer gives you an all-in-one development solution. JavaScript has grown in popularity over the years and is used by almost all websites. It is particularly useful when developing mobile apps and dynamic websites. Currently, it’s popular frameworks and libraries include Angular.js, Vue.js, React and Node.js. Indeed, JavaScript full-stack development will continue to be a major feature in web development in coming years.


Lastly, a current trend related to all the above in the web development world is the growing use of progressive web apps which may replace native mobile apps in the future. This is being driven by the growing use of mobile devices. Another is the increasing use of voice searches giving rise to digital assistants and the proliferation of IoT.

From what we’ve seen, web development will continue to incorporate newer technologies going into the future. The consensus so far is that, regardless of what development trend is adopted, speed and usability will be the key determining factors of any web design.

At Digital Grind, we stay ahead of the curve as our web development is next level. Be it websites, apps, business intelligence or newer technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality, we have the necessary tools to bring your ideas to life. Start a development project with us. Ready when you are!


Let's Work Together

We grind digital tech to fuel brands and ignite possibility. Specialising in providing quick turnarounds, scalable solutions and piece of mind that your product are in the best hands to take your business and product to the next level.

get In touch
Content Offer
About
Brandon Busuttil
10 years immersion in the marketing, events and digital sectors, accompanied by an honours degree in Marketing Management. An unmistakable passion for connecting brands and people, fuelled by an entrepreneurial ‘make–it–happen’ approach to life.

Continue reading

arrow icon
When it comes to brand visibility, you can’t go wrong with a solid search strategy in place. After all, it involves small tweaks that will help users find you if and w...

When it comes to brand visibility, you can’t go wrong with a solid search strategy in place. After all, it involves small tweaks that will help users find you if and when they need to. Of course, there are other elements at play, like your marketing strategy and specific business objectives, but a universal goal is growth and awareness, and that you’ll find on the search engine results pages - if you know-how. 

Search engine optimization is split up into two main categories in terms of the logistics. The first is on the backend, where the structure of your site and aspects of your code help determine visibility and give Google the lay of the land. Typically SEO specialists need to interact with this backend to ensure that pages are structured and categorized correctly, that duplicate content is marked as “invisible” to crawlers and that the site loads quickly enough for it to be convenient to users.

These are just a few basic and oversimplified examples for context. However, you don’t need to be a fully-fledged tech expert to make a significant difference to a site’s ranking - as there’s a whole nother element to gaining search cred. 


What is on-page SEO?

On-page SEO relates to activities you can do on the front-end to improve your site’s ranking, support link-building strategies and make content more inclusive and easily indexable. It’s also a good place to create mechanisms for users to engage with what you’re publishing and be able to process it all quickly and easily.

Why is this so important? Because it helps search engines like Google and Firefox determine how relevant your content is to a specific search query, which means the people who are looking for your products and services are more likely to find you. In fact, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (BrightEdge)

In order to start improving your presence online and making the necessary changes to become more visible, it’s important to master the basics. Here’s how: 

  • Use keywords thoughtfully: Conducting basic keyword research using a keyword planner, can give you a good indication of what users in your segment are searching for, in relation to your brand. You can use the search volumes to determine a list of keywords by priority - primary, secondary and tertiary or thematic keywords.

    These keywords go into the metadata but also have special placements in the copy, on-page. You can show topic hierarchy by using the primary keyword in the title, and first and last 100 words of the page, the secondary keyword in the first subheading, and thematic keywords sprinkled throughout.

  • Get meta: Creating metadata for your pages and posts is a good way to optimise what users see when they search for your brand pages or related keywords. In the CRM you can write custom titles and descriptions for your page, using your primary keyword which is the keyword most searched for by your audience. Descriptions are usually truncated at 155 characters, so keep them short and engaging.

    This way users are more likely to read the whole thing and click through to your site. Plus, it has the added benefit of showing Google and other search engines what the page is about, as their technology indexes keywords. If you don’t create a custom one, it will automatically showcase the first few lines of text on the page. Pro tip: keep your primary and most important keyword close to the beginning of your title and description.

  • Create scannable content for users: Search engines allocate a  readability score to content that determines how easy it is for users to consume. This is based on factors like scannability of content, sentence length, and language use.

    Optimising your pages for better readability
    means formatting your pages with subheadings and bullet points, for example, considering language use and ensuring clean, well-written copy that takes punctuation, grammar and spelling into account.

  • Be inclusive: When uploading images onto your site, you can include alt tags and captions that describe images and give them context. This serves two functions. First, it makes the images more inclusive for the visually impaired interacting with the site, as these tags and captions are read via audio channels. Secondly, it allows search engines to index the images more thoroughly and gives them a thematic context in the same ways as keywords do. From here, they can determine relevance to search queries.

  • Make it meaningful: The quality of your content is what’s going to ultimately keep readers on your page, which means fluff won’t cut it. Similarly, by linking to reputable sources you can up the credibility of your work. The key to great SEO is simply creating genuinely good content that serves a purpose and fits a theme. So allocate the necessary resources to create something that meets needs and offers the reader more than what they expected.

  • Share it: The more traffic that goes to your site, the more likely it is to rank higher in the SERPs (MTU Edu). A good way to drive traffic is through sharing your content on social channels. By adding social icons, you can also encourage users to share with their audiences, helping you generate a larger readership on your site.

All told, basic on-page search knowledge is a must-have for any marketer or creative working particularly in the digital copywriting space - but it’s also an important part of your content strategy.

Without at least some consideration for search queries, you won’t get the most value from your site, which means wasted resources, missed leads and simply taking up space online. We can help you formulate better on-page strategies and drive new business to your digital doors. Speak to us for more information.

Digital transformation has become one of the most talked about topics in the last few years. But what does it really mean?

Digital transformation has become one of the most talked about topics in the last few years. But what does it really mean? What are the key areas where digital transformation is happening? How can you be sure that your business is ready for the changes ahead?

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to fast track their IT strategies which is evidenced by an increase in global spending. It was reported that IT spending is set to reach 4.1 trillion in 2021, up 8.4% in 2020.

It is something that every business needs to consider or you’ll get left behind and suffer the consequences. But should anyone really be spending so much on their IT? Let’s find out.

1. Why digital transformation is necessary

Digital transformation is the process of taking your traditional business and using digital technology to modernize it and make it more efficient. It’s a trend that’s happening in every industry, from media to healthcare. 

Many businesses no longer prefer the traditional business model and want to adopt technology that will help them sell more, move faster, and solve customer problems in an easier way. Some of them are using Big Data and AI to shape how they do their business and what tools they use.

Research found that 23% of surveyed companies had little to no dependence on digital technologies in some shape or form. The rest are either fully digital or use a hybrid approach. The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to digital transformation’s necessity. 

But how can businesses adapt and meet the expectations of their clients? Here’s what you need to think about. 

Digital technology entails many changes to how your business works. It will require a lot of resources, like manpower, software and hardware, as well as the different infrastructure needed to operate these tools. 

As many businesses use multiple IT systems, it will be crucial for them to have the right infrastructure to meet the changes and make the digital transformation work efficiently.

2. Data and analytics is everything

Companies that are facing digital transformation should aim to make data-driven decisions that improve their business performance. When it comes to data analytics, it can play a major role in taking your business to the next level.

As an example, Netflix digitizes its audiovisual data in order to make it accessible all over the world. In addition, it’s using Big Data to analyze everything that its subscribers watch, using those insights to inform its business strategy.

The same can be said about creating value in every part of your company. Analytics can help you identify how to improve customer service, better adapt your marketing campaigns, and create better customer experiences. 

The analytics side of business includes data from A/B testing, customer insights, and social listening. It’s evident that data is at the core of influencing business decisions today. 

In order to make data-driven decisions, it’s worth studying your customers’ behaviors across different channels. Track down where they are seeing the most friction or unhappiness around your digital marketing efforts and put processes in place to address it.

3. How businesses can prepare for digital transformation

One study found that almost 90% of respondents were expecting a digital disruption of some sort. However, less than half could actually say they were ready for this change.

Whether you like it or not, digital transformation is going to impact your business somehow. So how can you prepare for this? 

It’s appropriate to start thinking about transformation with collaborative brands, such as Spotify. Here’s why. Sure, Spotify is a music streaming platform, but it also helps you create podcasts, listen to music, watch videos and play games.

Brands, such as Netflix, pride themselves in what they stand for. The company has pulled off a successful digital transformation through collaborative marketing and digital tools.

Collaborative marketing is good business because everyone wins. The biggest win though is that Netflix gained insight into where its users were spending their money and why, so it created its own place.

That insight is priceless, and this is why cultural brands are being actively guarded and developed. Perhaps you remember the first cultural brand you started to work for or one that you realized you could use your creativity to promote? In each and every case, you are helping others realize their career goals. 

Companies know that collaborating with other cultural brands is a good investment. From that point on, the collaborations get bigger and better. 

4. How you can embrace technology to succeed in a transformed market

It’s important to embrace technology so that you can continue to succeed in your business. If you own a real estate brokerage, for example, you’ll need to use the Internet to market your business, to communicate with your clients, stay competitive, and to find new listings. 

The Zillow Group bookmarked certain areas of the Internet where they’re creating new opportunities for the real estate industry. Besides, such sites’ popularity continues to grow, and they can help up-and-coming real estate businesses jump start their digital strategies sooner than is normally possible.

Finding actionable opportunities

The new technology trends worth your attention include smarter searches, intelligent personal assistants, user-aided home automation, and new forms of cloud-based interactivity. Want to be a part of this movement? Then start doing on-page SEO to make sure that people are finding your business when they need it. 

Big-box stores, for example, have started increasing the use of self-checkouts, zero-contact security, screenless entrances, and high-speed internet to serve patrons through the COVID-19 outbreak. In sum, the grocery industry has added high-tech ways to serve its customers in times of high demand.

Since such trends are expected to continue, many real estate transactions might take place online if market participants play their cards right. 

Intelligent personal assistants can do much more than help computers with repetitive tasks. They can take the user’s orders and turn them into reality. 

For example, smart refrigerators can be programmed to return milk late in the day so it doesn’t go to waste. Digital transformations are happening at a rapid pace, and you need to be sure that your business is ready to take advantage of the changes ahead.

Today, we live in a digital world where the Internet and social media have changed the way we live and work. Digital transformations are happening at a rapid pace, and you need to be sure that your business is ready to take advantage of the changes ahead. 

Following these steps will help you see the benefits of these digital transformations. And the most important responsibility is to be ready to make these changes for your business. 

Other things to consider

Digital transformation cannot be achieved in a vacuum. It also requires the constant changing of business models and having a strong team in place to help you run the entirety of the race. Here are a few things to consider for if and when you decide to embark on your digital transformation journey.

  • Diversify. Diversification helps you preserve capital, protect your company from swings in the market, and minimize your risk. Diversity gives you an opportunity to find new routes to grow your business and protect your investment. Leave old routes for dead!

Be prepared. In times of crisis, consumers rush to buy the products and services that retain their loyalty and high price. Make sure that what you sell is of high quality, has a perfect fit for your consumer, and solves a problem.

  • Incorporate technology. Technology is everywhere. Digital transformation is bringing the latest apps, platforms, technology, and systems into your business, making it easy for your workforce to work and making your business successful. If you have a modern and comfortable work environment where everyone can access information and communication technologies easily, you are ready for digital transformation.
  • Network and engage your team. The LinkedIn and Facebook groups are top-of-mind when companies plan for new opportunities and reach out to professionals that they are interested in. Facebook groups are super-easy to create, join, and manage.

Digital transformation is an inevitable part of any business or organisation’s operational strategy in the 21st century. It’s been established that this is a necessary endeavour that requires preparation and embracing of technology as you focus on the four aspects.

Digital Grind knows all about your digital transformation journey and is well endowed with the necessary expertise that can take you through this journey. Speak to us to learn about some of the digital solutions your organisation can put in your arsenal.

Since the beginning of the digital age, circa the mid-20th century, society has slowly begun to harness the power of information technology. When computers became more...

Since the beginning of the digital age, circa the mid-20th century, society has slowly begun to harness the power of information technology. When computers became more portable and cheaper to manufacture, this meant that more people could access them. Mobile phones and device miniaturisation are continuing to make web accessibility more possible today.

Current statistics show that about 15% of the world's population is considered to be living with some sort of disability. While this is a significant proportion of the human race, it’s quite apparent that most technology is designed with the 85% in mind. 

Not only that, the web should be fully functional for every single person trying to access it, regardless of their software, hardware or location. Meeting this goal ensures accessibility isn’t exclusive to the majority.

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the design and development of websites that are accessible to people living with disabilities. While there are various types of disabilities, there are some that make it difficult for some to access certain types of web content. 

Such individuals at times have to use assistive technologies to access it. Examples of these include screen readers, text-to-speech, screen enlargement, voice recognition and word prediction technologies. However, these technologies only work if the principles have been applied by the website creators.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are some web accessibility guidelines provided by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The current version of these guidelines is WCAG 2.1, although the newer versions 2.2 and 3 are still under draft.

Why web accessibility is important

People living with disability face a variety of disadvantages in their day-to-day living; one of these is web accessibility. When some individuals aren’t able to fully access the web, particularly due to its design, they are considered a part of the digitally excluded.

Disability inclusion aims to address the barriers posed by information and communication technology as this infringes on some of their basic rights. A person living with disability has a right to access any web service just as much as an able bodied individual.

Improving accessibility for your website helps to address any discrimination that it can potentially pose on people living with disability. Web accessibility means “that people with disabilities can equally perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with websites and tools.”

The four principles: POUR

There are four principles that should be the baseline for the design or development of a website to ensure accessibility. They can also be applied to any other information technology as well. A website should be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust:

  • Perceivable: When it comes to perceivability, this means that the content and user interface elements can be identified using human senses. Generally, vision is the primary one, since websites are usually meant to be read. Secondary senses include sound and touch.

A website or app should be built in a way that ensures that there is alternative access through other senses that may be diminished or missing. This is why there are video captions for those who are partially or completely deaf, for example.

  • Operable: A website’s user interface components (e.g buttons and controls) and any of its interactive parts should be accessible through multiple input tools. The site or app should not have interactions that the user is unable to perform.

The website should also allow for errors, making sure that the user has ample time to fix them. One example of operability is that a website should cater for those who might use only a keyboard, for example, and cannot use a mouse. 

  • Understandable: This refers to a website having consistency in formatting and having predictable patterns. Users should also be able to understand and remember how to navigate the website or app.

In addition, it should provide feedback to users, helping them with any errors. In fact, any potential errors a user may experience should be mitigated against through contextual help. 

  • Robust: For this principle, a website needs to be able to be interpreted well by multiple platforms, devices and other technologies, taking into consideration the functional limits of each of these. Users should have choice with regards to the technology they desire to use to interact with a website or app. Also, the coding needs to be clean to prevent errors.

How to become AAA compliant

There are currently three levels for web accessibility guidelines, according to the WCAG. These are levels A (basic), AA (intermediate) and AAA (optimal). The majority of organisations aim to achieve AA status. Compliance level AAA encompasses the standards of all three levels.

  • Level A aims to meet 25 criteria and is relatively easy to meet. However, these websites are usually difficult for people living with disabilities to use. In general, requirements include the ability to navigate using only a keyboard and having alternative text for content. 
  • Level AA has 38 criteria that the majority of people with or without disabilities have the ability to use. It includes criteria such as having a colour contrast of at least 4.5:1. In addition, alternative text should have meaning.

To become Level AAA compliant, you have to meet all 61 success criteria as provided by the WCAG. To help you, the WCAG provides a checklist

AAA sites are mainly aimed at maximising users and the criteria is very strict. This compliance level is aimed at enabling access to individuals with audiovisual impairments.

Some of the AAA criteria include having a colour contrast level of at least 7:1. In addition, there should be sign language interpretation of media content. Having a variety of accessibility tools is commonplace on AAA sites.

If you are considering a level of compliance you would like to meet, first try and figure out who your target users are. For example, if your website or app is meant for elderly users or those living with disability, then AAA compliance is the way to go.

So, choose a compliance level that suits the needs of both you and your audience. Start taking steps to understand what changes you need to make to your website using the chosen compliance level and watch your audience grow, while better serving your current users.

Author: Brandon Busuttil, MD, Digital Grind