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#webpredictions - debate about the future web

16th August 2011

Our technology pundits have gathered, the conference has begin, and we're discussing how the web might evolve over the next 10 years.  The debate is lively and the outcomes are interesting....

Social media

- I'd like to see convergence.  It's all about isolated platforms at the moment, isn't it?  Like operating systems used to be.
- Yes but operating systems still are a polarising force.
- Not in the same way though; you used to be able to do nothing without installing some platform-specific software.  Now the web browser has become a huge leveller.
- So what's the leveller with social media?
- Don't know, but it seems to me a bit weird that you can't keep in touch with your facebook friends from Google+ and vice versa.  What about a common protocol that unites your groups of friends?  A bit like circles in Google+
- OK, I look forward to it.

User interface

- Websites are getting boring and I don't see that trend changing. 
- In the sense that users expect them to work in certain ways, yes, but remember that happened with operating systems, phones, tablets, and almost every technology with a user interface.  If we continually redesign the interface or make it difficult to switch between devices, users become less pleased with the result, and less effective.  But at the same time the user interfaces on websites are getting more sophisticated, in saving your work, looking things up as you type, and so on.
- I see that more as the icing on the cake.  I don't see a paradigm shift.
- While web designers have to employ tricks to do this nowadays, I see the browser as providing more native support for those use interface elements.
- Yes, that would certainly help with accessibility.  You could fill a list for someone who's turned off javascript because of accessibility problems, and it would still work for them.
- Nice.

Security

- The most fundamental problem with computer security is users trusting in communications or sites when they shouldn't.  Surely users are more savvy now?
- Yes but hackers become more savvy too.  I think browsers have a role to play in keeping up to date with their techniques and warning you if you're going somewhere dangerous - like Chrome does a bit.
- It seems like the more sophisticated browsers become, though, the more exploits they seem to have.  Can browsers be simpler and work better at the same time?
- Or they could give you a little tutorial in computer security when they're first installed.
- That can't be the answer; people would just ignore it.
- Maybe they need to work more hand-in-hand with the operating system to get it right.  

Mobile

- More and more users are accessing websites on the move
- Is that certain websites like google maps or everything?
- We don't have info on that, but every website should take steps to improve their mobile offering; it's difficult to predict if your customers are going to be checking you out from their phone. 
- Are mobile devices going to get bigger?
- I doubt that the smaller devices will disappear, but I don't think watch-sized devices will ever take off; they're so limited.  I do think that small devices will increasingly dock with bigger ones or make use of projection to incorporate bigger screens.

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