Our compilation of web development trends for 2024 pretty much aligns with the predictions of digital industry experts, drawing insights from their publications. Nevertheless, let's aim to scrutinize emerging waves like the AI frenzy with a discerning perspective. Grounded in the practical experience of navigating the implementation of new technologies daily, we'll try to bring a nuanced view that reflects the realities of the day-to-day operations of numerous businesses committed to digital transformation.
We could start the article by delving into the parallels between the current reality and the futuristic landscapes envisioned in literature. Many sci-fi classics initiate their narratives with contemplations on the practical implications of artificial intelligence and the subsequent need for legal regulations.
The technological leap is undeniable. Just over a year ago, we would smile at the conversations with the amusing Cleverbot or chuckle at drawings produced by tools like CrAIyon. In a remarkably short timespan, we transitioned from that to the practical assistance provided by ChatGPT and the widespread use of images seamlessly generated by Midjourney or DALL-E for advertising and social media, sidestepping the intricate web of licenses and copyrights.
Perhaps Large Language Models and Generative AI don't quite align with the envisioned artificial intelligence capable of solving problems beyond human capacity and genuinely "thinking" rather than just reshuffling assumptions within existing structures. However, the reports surrounding "Project Q", a name that could easily be plucked from a William Gibson novel, crafted by OpenAI, evoke a blend of anticipation and unease akin to the atmosphere during the rise of the Internet in the 1980s.
But for now, let's not get too ahead of ourselves and focus on trends set to permeate widely, capturing the interest of every CMS and digital experience platform user whose business hinges on martech tools.
After such an intro, the first trend could not be different. Moreover, concrete data underscores that in the technological landscape of 2024, discussions outside the realm of AI will be scant. The G2 report reveals that the AI market in the software industry exhibited the swiftest growth among all analyzed markets, with a growth rate twice as high as the second-largest design market.
The report quotes Principal Analyst Matthew Miller: "Everything from CRMs to finance technology has been injected with generative AI capabilities. The solutions that will stick will be those that drive significant and tangible business value - from cost reduction to revenue growth."
AI integrations with digital experience platforms, CMSs, or other martech solutions, including mailing tools, generally aim to fulfill three key objectives:
- Providing a more personalized user experience
- Enhancing content richness
- Streamlining time-consuming tasks for marketers, managers, and beyond.
When it comes to personalization in the sense of exact adaptation of content to the recipient, this trend has been visible for years, and AI or machine learning technologies can only improve it. However, not every experiment last year, e.g., with the introduction of intelligent chatbots to customer service, was successful.
One can argue about the role of AI in "content enrichment." Writing Assistants work well as precisely what they are - assistants, not creators. Last year, our favorite mailing tool introduced its own AI writing integration. In an A/B test, we dispatched messages to half of a similar target group crafted by a human, while the other half received messages generated entirely from a highly detailed prompt. Interestingly, we received responses only for the human-crafted messages. AI-generated text often comes off as secondary, overly "correct," and somewhat bland. Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising if this year sees a discernible trend of labeling original and genuinely unique content as "Non-AI-Enhanced," akin to the "GMO-free" designation in the food industry.
Repurposing composable content
At present, AI tools excel in aiding with time-consuming tasks like transcribing video materials or summarizing long texts. Kentico, for instance, has ingeniously embraced the AI integration trend by incorporating it into the new Xperience platform. This integration goes beyond mere implementation, focusing on practical applications such as generating summaries and bulleted points for website articles, specifically for mailing or social media purposes. The ethos of not employing AI solely for the sake of using AI was notably underscored at the latest Kentico Connection event.
Sustainable Digital Experience
There's a palpable market expectation that digital solutions should not only be efficient but also environmentally conscious. Recognizing the tangible link between the digital and physical realms—where software equates to hardware—there's a growing awareness of the substantial energy consumption of data centers, emphasizing the significance of query numbers and the size of transmitted data packets.
Umbraco Executives are acutely attuned to this reality and are unwaveringly committed to incorporating sustainability practices into their solutions. Beyond a series of optimization changes, user conveniences, and a broad dedication to achieving carbon neutrality, Umbraco has introduced a Carbon Emission Report functionality within its Cloud Portal. Furthermore, efforts are underway to develop the Sustainability Package, enabling continuous tracking of CO2 emissions per page view.
Low-code, no-code platforms
It's not merely a passing trend; it constitutes an entire dynamically evolving sector within the CMS market. Platforms like Webflow, facilitating the creation of straightforward and, at times, intricately complex websites with minimal or even zero code knowledge, are enthusiastically adopted across various industries. This is particularly evident among companies prioritizing fast Return on Investment.
Kentico recognizes that independent marketing teams must swiftly generate new subpages, landing pages, and more without overburdening development teams, often preoccupied with other responsibilities. In response, the new headless hybrid DXP Xperience by Kentico is endowed with a myriad of no-code tools designed specifically for marketers. These tools empower the creation of new websites through user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces, eliminating the necessity for IT team support.
Distinguishing itself from platforms like Webflow, Kentico's solution stands out due to the robustness of its digital ecosystem. This ecosystem not only facilitates website design but also streamlines the management of mailings, complex websites, and side projects through a unified dashboard.
Enhancing security and privacy features
Several privacy regulations were enacted in 2023, and some previously passed measures have now been implemented. Further regulations are slated to take effect in 2024. Notably, the regulatory obligations imposed on major tech companies may have a significant trickle-down impact on third parties dependent on their platforms and services for audience, data, and revenue.
Included in the standard features are upgraded user authentication, resilient encryption protocols, and meticulous adherence to worldwide data protection regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Elevating security and privacy attributes will extend further beyond protecting sensitive data; it's fundamentally about building user trust.
What remains more than a trend is our dedication to delivering top-tier web development services to our partners, ensuring the security of websites constructed with the latest, future-proof, and sustainable .NET technology.
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