This past year, we saw the rise of Uber, Apple jumping into the wearables arms race, and large acquisitions like Facebook’s $22 billion bet on Whatsapp. So what big changes can we expect to see in 2015? With the New Year already upon us, here are a few predictions for the year ahead:
1. Say hello to the simplified experience
2013 and 2014 were years in which the web dramatically embraced the power of HTML5 and all that it could do for content authoring. Layouts became more complex and rich, for example, take a look at NY Times Snowfall and The Verge’s Fanboy. The movement towards complexity for its own sake, however, has slowed, as editors and marketers in general have slowly begun to opt for cleaner, simpler ways to produce engaging content. Companies like Medium are reaping the rewards of a movement towards elegant simplicity when it comes to digital content.
2. The super contextual web
Analytics, business intelligence, and marketing automation tools have for years made it easy for eCommerce companies to create super personal experiences for shoppers. From being able to recommend related products for you to buy to knowing exactly when to serve you an ad for that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting to buy, eCommerce companies have always had a pulse on your buying tendencies.
However, these technologies are now being adopted by non-eCommerce companies to give you better-curated content. Expect your favorite blogs, news sites, and gossip columns to be able to offer you startlingly accurate predictions of what content you’d like to check out next.
3. Card design everywhere
Every customer, consumer, and professional experience should be designed for mobility — we all know how important that is today. Too many people use smartphones and tablets on a daily basis ignore them. But with this increasingly large audience, it’s important we design with the constraints of smaller devices by creating morsels of “digestable” information. In comes “card design,” first popularized by Google Now. Cards are an ideal way to give information to users without inundating them with too much information, further pushing the web towards quick and impactful experience. While the concept has been around since 2012, we see this approach becoming highly popular in 2015.
4. “SoPro” apps
SoPro, or social productivity, is the use of inherently socializing business software to make businesses more efficient. For years, tools like Salesforce Chatter and Microsoft’s Yammer have been around to help enterprises be more “communally” productive to close sales, engineer products, or collaborate on documents. But newcomers like Slack have gained tremendous buzz for transforming the workplace, helping organizations take on the daunting task of reducing the dependence on almighty email. Based on dozens of startup products and work done by giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce, expect to see your workplace adopt SoPro apps moving forward.
5. Smartwatches will be a huge flop
Sure, smartwatches have been around for almost two years now, with companies like Pebble pioneering the way. But this year, both Android Wear and Apple Watch will jump into the market with fully-matured options. As consumers, we’ll realize that a smartwatch just doesn’t provide the value these companies are hoping it will. In their current state, they’re tethered to the smartphone, provide a highly select bit of information, and compete with fitness trackers for attention. Until the industry can 1) make a multiday battery, 2) appeal to the luxury timepiece market, and 3) decrease the smartphone dependence, expect smartwatches to be compared to the 3D TVs of yesteryear — a somewhat interesting riff that just doesn’t quite capture mass interest.
Himanshu Sareen is CEO of Icreon Tech, a global IT consultancy delivering business solutions and custom applications to customers including National Geographic Channel, Fox, PepsiCo, and Nokia Siemens Networks. He is responsible for the strategic and overall business development of Icreon. He founded Icreon in 2000 and grew the company through a mix of acquisitions and organic growth.