If there's one takeaway from 2011, it's that the economy is haywire and technology is evolving faster than an oiled bullet. In that kind of nutty atmosphere, it can be a challenge to predict what will happen to web-based technology in the coming months.
1. More design for mobile devices.Look around you. What's in the hands of the people surrounding you, including your own? An iPad or iPhone? Nook? Kindle? Tablet? Blackberry? Everybody's using some kind of handheld device. While corporate websites have been mobile-compliant for years, nonprofits will finally start to catch up. Want to peer into the future of mobile design? Read Mobile Web Design Trends and Best Practices.
2. App-lification of websites.All those people with mobile devices are getting used to responsive design that they can manipulate with their fingers. Move over "point and click," and make way for "touch and swipe." People are beginning to expect interactive design with websites, so expect to see websites look and behave more like they came from the app store.
3. Websites focused on user experience.Since people are spending so much time with their heads bowed over their handheld devices, they also expect to understand what to do with an app without having to guess. This means websites will be built with careful attention to user experience design (UX), in other words, built with humans in mind. Nonprofit leaders might finally understand that the less people have to think about a website, the more likely they'll donate, sign petitions, volunteer or otherwise participate. Finally!
4. Less Flash.We've long believed Flash to be big and clunky plug-in, with way too many distracting splash screens and blank spaces on the iPad. There are other technologies out there that make web movies and play on a host of devices, so expect to see more of these letters in the alphabet soup: AJAX, CSS3 and HTML 5.
5. Move to online donations.Smart charities are already asking for money online with little more than a click. Many smaller nonprofits have been slow to relinquish check-cashing for ecommerce web design. We see some of that fear waning, and expect more nonprofits that don't allow online donations to begin earning some electronic cash. What do you think will be trending in 2012? Give your vote for one of these five in the comments below or tell us what you think we'll see in the future.
[Image: Flickr user rjrgmc28]