In this article we discuss the 10 most popular web development trends in 2021, what they bring us and how will they make our digital lives better.
It might sound like an exaggeration, but theatrically speaking, in today’s world, web development plays the role of the mastermind behind the scenes of all our digital businesses and digital lives. Web development is nothing if not a progressive and fast-paced industry that kept many of us afloat during the storm we faced last year.
It’s a well-known fact that today’s businesses can achieve their goals and ROIs much faster, more efficiently, and easier than ever, thanks to advancements we’ve seen so far in the web development scene.
So, as a new year starts and new trends emerge in every industry we can possibly think of, we put together the 10 most popular web development trends of 2021, in the hopes that they will shed a light on what lies ahead.
More importantly, knowing these trends will hopefully be a huge help to your business and its online strategy, as it will bring a breath of fresh air that you can use to your advantage.
So let’s dig in!
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only getting better
Yes, Artificial Intelligence has been around for a while now and it’s only becoming a more essential web development trend every year.
In the age of endless information, it’s easy to get lost and waste time just by going through all the collected data. To make things even more difficult, now more than ever customers and online entities expect personal care, attention, and personalization. So, challenging times require bold solutions.
Therefore, Artificial Intelligence is just what we need to stay functional and have only the most relevant and useful data that can be applied to our advantage. More specifically, AI does the manual work, so we don’t have to. It collects, sorts, and processes data, no matter how vast it is at a speed and capacity humans could never even dream to achieve.
More to the point, AIs tend to be less biased and only “judge” a user based on the data they are given. Hence, AIs are becoming better and better at sorting our preferences and provide us with the information we want. And this covers basically anything from news and articles on certain websites to products and services on eCommerce platforms.
But, this is just your run-of-the-mill data-processing, behavior, and pattern analyzing AIs. But, AIs are also behind our chatbots and voice-based interaction systems and power our customer services, accessibility features, fast and safe searching and so much more.
2. Chatbots will become an even greater part of our lives
Speaking of chatbots, do you know at least one company that doesn’t want to time and save money without compromising their customers’ happiness?
No? Well, that is because most companies would, in fact, like to save as much money as they can but do not want to do so at the cost of losing their clientele. And that’s the main reason that makes chatbots such an important trend in 2021.
As AI technologies evolve, so are chatbots, which is why they are one of the top web development trends. They will certainly be the answer for companies with fast, accurate, and smart customer service powered by machine learning algorithms.
For one, chatbots do not operate on a time schedule and don’t sleep, eat, drink, or take bathroom breaks. They are there all the time. Secondly, they have access to all the information they need in the blink of an eye, so their answers will be spot-on and without a trace of doubt.
However, the reason why maybe in previous years chatbots have seen a decrease in popularity is that Chatbots are perfect to answer the common and expected questions, but in some rare cases a human touch is sometimes irreplaceable.
However, chatbots today are becoming harder to distinguish from a human customer service employee, simply because their answers and interactions with us are becoming more complex. The Google assistant is capable of holding up full conversations, even distinguish users based on their voice through voice pattern recognitions.
That is not to say that some users won’t seek human interaction, instead of speaking with a chatbot. But, that need will show less and less in the coming year as chatbots evolve and learn faster and faster.
3. Voice Search and Navigation are becoming more appreciated
When Apple’s Siri first came out it was a disaster. Amazon’s Alexa is messing up all the time, and Google’s assistant is just too funny to be upset with. these are just a few examples of assistants we have in our homes, computers, phones, and even smartwatches that help us find information like never before. Like having your know-it-all friend with you at all times.
The reality is that voice search and voice navigation are some of the top accessibility trends today. It is fast, super easy to use, convenient, and accurate and it is ideal for users who can’t access a computer or a phone for one reason or the other. When you add all this up, a superb user experience is guaranteed.
Nowadays even typing in our questions can feel like it takes forever or our hands are simply too occupied with cooking or working on something else, hence we got voice search and navigation option as an alternative. And it works!
There’s a lot going on in the process of receiving answers with the voice search, but it only takes seconds as a whole. When we address Google, Alexa, or Siri, speech recognition software converts the words into a digital form, which gets split up into individual parts called phonemes.
This is followed by a software analysis that compares all phonemes to words from a dictionary and then they are finally converted into the format of the text that we see on computer screens. This is how the commands are identified.
Now, the reason why voice search and navigation will be among the top trends in 2021 is that Google recognized the convenience of it and made it one of the criteria for high ranking in the search results. This essentially means that if your website is optimized for voice search and voice navigation will be easy, it will outrank those that ignore or are unaware of voice search.
This is a perfect chance to take advantage of great timing, optimize your website, and outrank the competition!
4. WebAssembly (WASM) is the balance we need
WebAssembly is the technology that was created for those of us who don’t want to choose the quality of performance over the quality of user experience, or the other way around. One barely functions without the other, right?
Thankfully, with WebAssembly we can have both and that’s why it’s among the other web development trends.
The principle of WebAssembly is simple and yet clever: it compiles a code from any programming language into bytecode using a browser. Consequentially, the website’s performance is improved with a high-security level and fast code execution.
Moreover, WebAssembly is a smart technology that can work perfectly well without being dependent on hardware, platform, and programming language.
Finally, like most technologies, WebAssembly is progressive and regularly improved, which means that it’s unlikely that it would let go of its strong position any time soon.
5. 5G will lead us into the future
There has been a lot of fuss over 5G even before it was introduced and with good reason, as it will surely make our online endeavors faster, include lower latency, improve our current opportunities and create new ones, therefore it’s sharing space with the other web development trends in this article.
Although 4G was great, humanity and web development demand more, hence we got 5G, which is 100 faster, meaning that businesses and web developers will get to start on new and more ambitious projects that would have been lacking with 4G.
5.1. Stunning graphics
Before 5G, web developers had to carefully maneuver between high-quality visual components that were more complex and the best user experience. Unfortunately, the ambitious and more demanding visual touches had to be saved for later to avoid lagging and other disruptions that would cause user dissatisfaction.
The customer always comes first, right? Well, now both website visitors and web developers can rejoice – 5G is here and there’s plenty of space to use the best visual elements.
5.2. 3D design
3D is not exactly a new concept, but that doesn’t make it easy to apply. Until now. With 5G in your pocket and favorable timing, you can make your website stand out not only in comparison to the competition but in general compared to most websites, as 3D is not widely-used yet.
Luckily, appealing visuals and being visually unique aren’t the only benefits that you’ll get to offer. Would you like to connect with your customers and make your business appear more approachable and relatable? It won’t be difficult to achieve: now your customers will be able to “check” your products and place them in their location.
5.3. Improved speed
How often do you still see the word “Loading” on your screen? On the internet, it might be one of the worst occurrences to come across. Luckily for us, soon we can forget about it and not just on the computer screen, but also when we browse the internet on a phone.
The reason why the speed increases and evens the browsing speed between mobiles and computers is that 5G uses a millimeter wave, which is an extremely high-frequency band. Because of this, businesses and customers will be quick to acknowledge the importance and relevance of 5G.
5.4. Augmented Reality (AR) at its best
All of the previously mentioned benefits combined will make Augmented Reality (AR) a dream that finally comes true and the ones who use it first will get the most out of it. While Augmented Reality is a trend itself and will be discussed more thoroughly as the next trend, 5G highly contributes to its success and availability by making it possible to use it with real-time response.
6. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will become a reality
As promised, we present to you Augmented Reality as one of the most popular web developing trends in 2021. Also, we’ll throw in a special addition – Virtual Reality, as the two highly complement one another.
You already received a small teaser in the previous trend, but now let’s talk details, shall we?
Just so we’re on the same side, let’s define the main difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is.
Simply put, Augmented Reality adds digitally designed elements into the real world, whereas Virtual Reality completely blocks the real world and places you into a digital reality designed by web developers.
So what makes them a trend?
Although the common opinion is that they’re mainly used for designing games, there’s more that businesses can get out of this – the methods can be applied within and outside of the company and all industries can use them at least for one purpose.
As mentioned earlier, AR and VR can be aimed at customers, allowing them to get a “closer look” at the products or even your company as a whole, as well as simply letting the customers play around with the outstanding design and content. Getting personal this way will greatly boost sales and productivity.
Moreover, AR and VR can be used by any industry to design virtual workshops and trainings for employees and possibly even customers, if that is one of the services that a company offers.
In other words, web developers will be busy in 2021!
7. IoT: Internet of Things will connect us even more
Internet of Things, or in short IoT, refers to physical objects that are connected to the Internet for the sake of smooth and smart functions, as well as the exchange of information. Naturally, the objects will not fit into the category if they’re not equipped with smart software and sensors that can pass on the information and fully function.
While it can include many various types of technology, the most relevant and best-known examples for IoT are smart cars, smartwatches, the integration of previously mentioned chatbots, and many others.
The two most significant factors that make IoT stand out and be qualified in this list of trends are reliability and outstanding performance: The collected data is safely collected, stored, and used for an interactive UI experience. Also, the collected, identified and analyzed data is efficiently transferred through cloud networks ensuring 100% functionality without delays in the system.
Consequentially, security and quality performance can grant more control over the operational processes, better opportunities to communicate with customers, and really understand their needs, collect more accurate data, and many other opportunities.
8. Motion Design UI will make navigating fun
We have established already that modern online visitors have high expectations and seek both informative and fun navigation. When it comes to the website’s design and navigational functionality, the devil is in the details.
That’s where Motion Design UI comes in: with its help, we can create smooth, interactive, and entertaining pop-ups, scrolling effects, charts, menu, animations, and page header transitions. However, a clear vision should be defined before getting started on the process.
Although everything with Motion Design is exciting to try out, different visual elements might confuse the user and appear too extravagant for a pleasant journey, so make sure that before you have a clear plan to get all the best out of it.
Successfully implemented Motion Design strategy will greatly improve user experience, search engine rating, and brand image.
All in all, Motion Design, if used correctly, will make people want to come back to your site again and stay longer.
9. Serverless Architecture will become a trendy investment
Here is another one of the web development trends that will save time and money for companies: Serverless Architecture.
Web developers are straightforward people, therefore Serverless Architecture is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a technology that allows us to create the structure and foundation of our applications without tying them to servers completely.
You might have heard that regular servers are being replaced by cloud-based systems. Although this option doesn’t completely let go of servers, the coordination and management are performed by AWS, which means that your focus can be aimed at bigger tasks rather than maintaining the servers and doing the manual work.
In other words, thanks to Serverless Architecture, your company can save time and money, making your architecture stronger and more independent, as well as flexible.
10. Single-Page Apps and Websites will give us simplicity
Single-Page Apps and Websites is yet another one among the web development trends of 2021 that cannot be ignored. Both apps and websites that are single-page are the new way to go if you want them to be faster, easier to navigate, unique, and of course, improved SEO rating and larger customer base.
Let’s start with defining what makes Single-Page Apps such an important trend.
10.1. Single-Page Apps
Single-Pages Apps, or in short SPA, has everything we need for web development trends nowadays: simplicity, the best data protection, fast and easy navigation for the users.
You might be wondering: how does it work?
It’s simple, really. The answer is in the name: as it is a Single-Page App, it works in a browser and since it’s just one page, everything you need to see is there, so you don’t need to spend additional time waiting for another page to open. Even better – you don’t even need to reload it as the app is in use.
It gets even better: the users won’t need to fret if the quality of their internet suddenly gets worse. It happens to all of us and none of us appreciate this type of surprise. Luckily, in Single-Page Apps visitors will still be able to navigate when the internet’s performance quality decreases, as SPA is able to adapt and synchronize all information as soon as the internet goes back to its previous state.
Finally, the perfect alternative to waiting for the app to reload is being able to find everything with something that many of us were trained to do by social media: scrolling. No more “Loading” and staring at the blank screen – the customers will surely enjoy the casual scroll with no disturbances.
10.2. Single-Page Websites
As consumers become more impatient when it comes to information gathering and navigation, Single-Page Websites will certainly prove to be an invaluable strategy to apply and one of the crucial web development trends in 2021.
The first thing you’ll notice with Single-Page Website will be that you managed to save money and time, as you don’t need to spend time to create and design additional pages – only one page, where the most important information will be displayed in a straightforward manner.
Moreover, in the long run, you will begin seeing that website optimization requires less effort to maintain and optimize it. In addition, the website is likely to receive more traffic – simplicity, high speed, and uniqueness will be appreciated by Google, which will increase your ranking.
Finally, a higher level of control and monitoring will make the workflow smooth – it won’t be difficult to identify the website’s visitors find problematic or unappealing. Adjustments will be easy to implement and drive the visitors in the direction that you need them to take.
Conclusion on the most popular web development trends in 2021
At the beginning of the article, we established that many of the trends listed above are not designed to last for a year. Instead, the focus is long-term influence and even more improvement, so you might not be surprised to see some of the web development trends in 2021 expand on next year’s list too.
So, here’s our question to you: What do all these trends have in common?
The answer is really simple: they work towards the same ultimate goal – the best user experience possible. This, with reduced costs, faster time to market, less development and management work, and best of all, less maintenance needed afterward.
Take AI developments for example. The technology existed for a long time now, but only in current times, we can say that a chatbot can in fact learn from users and better itself. This is far from deep learning, the algorithms are not quite there yet. But machine learning used in today’s AIs is becoming better and better.
But more importantly. while Google’s Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are becoming almost intelligent, they are easier to train and maintain. The user “does the work”. The same goes for VR and AR technologies or even chatbots.
Chatbots take away repetitive questions and tasks, so actual employees can focus on more important tasks. VR and AR gamify the process of shopping f.ex. or even learning, removing the shop assistant or tutor, and allowing them to focus on more complex things.
There are countless examples of how web development trends like the one discussed above save us time, money, and frustration while providing our users with an amazing user experience. And if you like our 10 most popular web development trends, check out more lists like it below.