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Web design and development trends in 2006

December 12, 2005

Andy Budd, MD of a usability consultancy in Brighton, UK writes about his predictions for web design and development in 2006

With 2006’s focus on web applications, slick user interface and interaction design is going to become even more essential.

This is exactly where we’re going, which ties in with where our funding is coming from. We’re building “software applications with a web based interface next year”, not web sites… And with these apps being heavily used across the business, a slick user interface is going to be key. Unfortunately they’re very easy to get wrong, so fingers crossed.

As resolutions increase in size, big fonts will dominate the first half of the year.

I think our user base will appreciate this – many are silver surfers and really dont like some of exisiting designs with micro fonts. Some of the design led titles go for large fonts. Or they would if they were allowed to use something other than Verdana or Arial. I can’t really sIFR the whole site :)

2006 is going to see Ruby on Rails development take off in a big way, with Rails developers never short of work.

Probably true, but I’m hoping PHP 5 may reach tipping point, particularly with the launch of the Zend Framework.

Last, but by no means least, we will see the death of IE5.x and the birth of a new, improved Internet Explorer in the shape of IE7. With improved standards support, numerous bug fixes and native PNG transparency, IE7 will hopefully make all our jobs a lot easier.

I bloody hope this happens, but I’m a bit my cynical. I think IE5 is going to be the bain of our lives for quite a bit longer. But we’re going to ‘officially’ drop support, and degrade gracefully, treating IE5 users as if they don’t have javascript at all. I think that IE7 is going to be a nightmare to start off, adding another browser to test on into the mix. I fear quite a few sites will break.

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