2008-7 Internet Marketing/Design Predictions

Well, in case you didn't realise, a new year has just begun! We have ditched that old 2007 calendar and have started using expressions like "that’s so 2007". But what design and technology trends can we see happening or continuing into the coming next 12 months - God willing of course. Here are a few of my humble predictions, things which I feel need bearing in mind for forward thinking businesses and designers. Dis-agree or agree? Do you have your own to add? Pop a comment at the end of the post. We’d love to hear them...

1) Increase in use of New Technologies – adaptation to new technologies.

As we all know the internet is becoming more and more accessible - not just in the western world but now across the globe. For all I know you could be sitting in a café reading this, you could be using a wi-fi hot spot or be accessing this on a mobile phone. The integration of the internet into our lives is meaning the way we interact with almost anything is connected with an online experience. This means we can expect other products which we wouldn’t normally associate with the web gaining features which will feed in from the web. I can see such things as RSS feeds and database logging becoming more main stream.

The increase of broadband connections (consider the new "wiremax" technology) will mean we will see much more rich media and video content appearing. We may see more companies adding video adverts or footage of their latest products in an endeavor to hold the edge over their competitors. Although we need the information in written form so that search engines can pick it up, as visual creatures we all respond better to movies. I think that this will start to become a big part of internet marketing this year.

With screen resolution getting bigger we may see websites become a little larger and not so boxed in. Maybe we can start to see the end of 800 x 600?!

2) Increase in Social Networking and Blog design

From a business perspective the benefits of word of mouth (WOM) marketing and Buzz marketing that blogs and social networking can potentially achieve is immense. If done correctly you do not have to pay much money in to get a lot out. With open source software becoming more sophisticated we can see an increase in this area over the coming 12 months.

3) Online Music Domination – more online buying

We all love record stores but it seems we do not like their prices. With music being made available online through companies like Apple with their iTunes software, we can see this trend increasing as consumers can purchase the tunes they want, when they want.

4) Growth of browser based software – webdesign merges with software design

Your browser may start to become your new desktop. Microsoft have recently launched Office Live which is basically an online extension of Microsoft Office. Smaller applications like Google Maps have been around longer. I think we will see an increase in browser based software and possibly the start of a shift in the way we think about programmes. Wouldn't it be amazing if we just logged into a virtual desktop from anywhere in the world which contained all our programmes and files?! The benefits of such a system would be that it could be more secure, easier to use and save the hassle of installing software etc.

So the web designers of today may be the software designers of the future!

5) Web 2.0 Design styling refined

We may see more glassy icons and wet floor effects as the badly applied phrase "web 2.0" becomes a household term. As a backlash to this it will be interesting as to what we designers do to start the next trend – maybe non-gradient solid block colours will make a come back in 08!?

6) RSS feeds

The amount of flexibility and bespoke features that RSS feeds have will probably become more widely recognised. Maybe we can expect these RSS feeds to start filtering onto our TV screens or mobiles and other devices.

7) Increase in Green Awareness – more green energy designs

With the western world turning its attention on the worrying fact that we are destroying the planet, we may see the "green" trend continuing. The public will become more and more interested about doing the right thing for the planet and so green-friendly ways of running our lives will increase. Watch the green sector because there will be a lot of activity here in the months ahead.