Much has been said about HTML 5 and CSS 3 lately. While this post is not seeking to add revelatory statements to those made elsewhere, I am seeking to aid the average layperson – people like our clients – in understanding why this updated code stuff is so important, and how it represents yet another sea change in web site visitor expectations.
You may remember a time a few years back when you couldn’t go an hour without someone using the buzzphrase “Web 2.0”. Many of us felt it was a kind of hyped up way to say that the web was changing, and with it people’s expectations. As with any mass hysteria, you have to wait for the dust to settle before real meaning and understanding can be gained.
What Web 2.0 was then is exactly what Web 3.0 and 4.0, etc. will be about: Evolution. The gradual change that takes place along a continuum.
What was touted as a destination by those caught up in the hype has turned out to be the next logical step in the evolution of web technology and computer-aided human interactivity. Whatever Web 2.0 was about, it wasn’t a stopping place. There are no real stopping places on the internet.
We have been pushing the limits of our web since the first day two computers could talk to one another. Big surprise then that we would continue to rearrange the virtual furniture. We will never be completely done decorating the spaces within our browsers. (And that’s the big lesson for any business that wants to remain relevant.)
Whereas the previous wave of disruptive technologies centered mostly on the cool stuff you could build and run on web servers (those glorious and all-but-invisible computer boxes that fueled the growth of countless social startups), and to a troubling extent a “glassy button” graphical look that almost supplanted the actual advancements being made, this upcoming wave of change seems to have as its beach the browser itself.
And that’s as technical as I am going to get. Why? You’re busy making your company work for you. You don’t need to know the difference between server-side and client-side actions. What you need to know is that as this new wave gathers strength and presses inexorably toward landfall, your web site visitors – the people from whom you’d like to extract a measure of value while providing the same in return – are about to get even more sophisticated in their expectations of what a web site should be and do.
So if this article is seeking to add anything to the conversations happening around the release of new web standards, it’s this: You cannot afford the luxury of a set-and-forget web strategy. You must continue to invest and innovate in order to keep pace with the evolution of your market.