2019: Digital Trends to Watch

Quite simply, we’re going on the record to say what we think you need to know about this year (we know we’re putting ourselves under a bit of pressure…but we’re confident we can handle it).

Progressive Web Apps

We expect to see the accelerated rise of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) as retailers understand the benefits of effectively enhancing their mobile optimised experiences towards more of a native app experience for a much reduced cost. Additionally, as design and development patterns become better understood by agencies then they will help to push their clients towards adoption. This won’t be at the expense of native apps, but could be more of a stepping stone on that journey.

Contextual Data

It’s so readily available now and there will now start to be an increased push from agencies and clients to understand and make better use of their data. In particular, it’s essential to see this data contextually, (vertically and horizontally) to try and make better inferences for any opportunities that might appear. Data will be used to facilitate marginal gains especially for retailers as trading is still tough.

React Apps

Frontend is changing rapidly away from styling a lovely UI tendered by a server and into creating apps on the client that talk to servers. We can see Magento now investing in a React-based ecommerce site with offline catalog – leading to being able to sit on a plane with no WiFi and browse the Argos catalogue like we did as children. Drupal are now going that route and their overhaul of Drupal Admin starts with a reskin which, once completed, will be written in React…so the backend of Drupal is an app. WordPress now has Gutenberg for their editor – and this is actually a React app embedded in the admin – how much longer before perhaps all WP-Admin is an app? As part of this everything is going API-based meaning integrations and so much more is possible.

Holistic UX

The user experience is no longer confined to a digital device or website. User experience needs to understand the complete customer journey from first touch point to enthusiastic advocacy. We will need to support customers through long, complicated, and sometimes even emotional journeys. With digital at the heart of every brand interaction every touch point matters, 2019 is the year of holistic digital solutions which are designed to reduce friction, build brands, and enhance conversion and advocacy.

Amazon Search

For those that don’t know, Google and Bing’s search volume decreased by 3% globally last Black Friday, while Amazon’s increased by that amount. Any disruptor that comes in and reduces search volume on Google (and Bing), while at the same time increasing their own visibility is something to be taken seriously. This will be data heavy and is an area that is going to get a lot of headlines this year.

Intelligent Design

2019 is the year of intelligent design solutions. Yes, it must look amazing, yes it must entice, entertain and inform like never before but, more importantly, design must be informed. Analytics, customer surveys, feedback, user testing…no longer is design just about the brand and to hell with making money, this year designers must design smarter and prove that their beautiful interface designs really do work.

Amazon and AWS Separate

We were drawn to recently seeing one of the world’s biggest sports, the NFL, as the subject of advertising by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It looks like they are preparing to separate the two entities of Amazon and AWS. The two functions of the business as separate entities would enable them to follow the most appropriate growth paths for these two different business models. And perhaps realise AWS as one of the top 10 most valuable companies in the world?…

The giant that is Amazon highlighting the power of data and AI, interestingly through an advert for AWS, is a sign of things to come.

Get in touch to talk to us about any of the above – whether you agree, disagree, are excited or nervous about the year ahead. We’d love to help you to navigate your way through the world of customer experience by harnessing the best of digital in your organisation.

Open Source

Feeling a bit disgruntled that certain large cloud providers (think AWS, Google, MS Cloud) are benefiting from offering hosted versions of their databases, but without giving anything back, MongoDB is one company that has made changes to its licence to try to combat this. This has led to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) reviewing this new licence to try to determine whether or not they deem it to meet their Open Source Definition. This, in turn, has led to the open source community questioning how much authority the OSI has over this definition and many questions are rumbling about around the definition and use of open source software. This is a space to watch as we see how this challenge plays out.

AI/Machine Learning

Machine learning is becoming a commodity and everyone is going to try and use it even if they shouldn’t, and it’s going to be interesting, or perhaps actually, dangerous when used wrongly due to the biases involved. Also, due to the way the output works (a randomised algorithm that passes a test), nobody knows how it actually works so fixing issues isn’t easy.