Since the early 2000s, web design has taken a drastically different direction as more and more home users become internet savvy. In fact, more than 60% of the world is connected to the internet with a broadband connection, so the demand for sites that are both beautiful and accessible has sky-rocketed. Previously, website design was very utilitarian; you created a site that had links for what your target audience would need, and you didn’t worry about presenting websites in a manner that would be easy to read for the end user.
However, with more people using the internet today, web standards have been created to ensure that everyone’s browsing experience is the same. Web developers must follow these standards with their HTML/XML/CSS markup so that the sites render the same across all browsers, since not everyone uses Internet Explorer anymore. So with all of these changes taking place, including what has been dubbed web 2.0, where is the future of web design taking us?
In the past, Flash was a gimmick used to impress people. Today, it is little more than an annoying roadblock to the content of a site, and many people do not even include flash intros anymore. Because current web standards are moving more toward Ajax and HTML5 instead of Flash, we are seeing more and more websites that are able to communicate directly with the server without the end user needing to reload the page. A good example of this is in the username checks employed for various registration forms. When you type in a name and the site can return whether it is taken or not without you having to reload the page, this is an example of Ajax in use.
Because Ajax and Ruby On Rails is relatively new technology, a lot of site designers are hesitant to employ it. However, the simple truth is that a good user experience nearly demands it, as more and more people become accustomed to being able to get information in real time, without having to reload pages in order to get more information. Thus, the future of web design is moving heavily towards the use of Ajax and HTML5, due to their information on demand technology.