In the last 20 years, web design has gone from being a purely technical skill to display text and, if you had the patience to wait for them to download, images to the heavily stylised multimedia extravaganza it is today. It goes without saying that web design 20 years into the future will also be drastically different again. New trends and technologies look set to alter the way that people and organisations promote themselves online so Antimatter Design has decided to have a go at predicting what a website in 2030 will look like.

Virtual offices

The office is becoming increasingly unnecessary. Emails can be forwarded to smartphones and picked up from anywhere in the world. Work can be completed on laptops or even tablet computers and sent to clients from the comfort of the worker’s own home or even local coffee shop. Conference calls can be made with clients 4000 miles away over Skype with screen sharing facilities making it easy to conduct presentations without the enormous expense of traveling to far off destinations. More and more employees are working from home, and companies are outsourcing certain tasks from remote workers on the other side of the planet.

At the moment the office still serves a function as a place where people can meet in person and communicate certain ideas as doing so via a computer screen still doesn’t quite cut it. But Virtual Reality might.

Virtual reality appeared in the 1990s and was hailed as the next big thing until the infancy of the technology led to no one at the time liking it. However there is a reasonable chance it could make a comeback quite soon. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Second Life, where people have become real life millionaires by buying and selling virtual items in large online 3D worlds have highly dedicated cult followings and it would appear to be a fairly logical step that a Virtual Reality interface could be developed for people to interact in these environments.

It could also make that international conference call presentation a lot more interesting. For that matter, it could make for an interesting new office and solve the problem of how co-workers are going to interact if they were working from home, therefore putting the concept of the real life office in further jeopardy. In many ways you could have a more realistic representation of your office if all the work was conducted online, as the Indian tech support guy or the Thai clipping path provider could also have their own space in the virtual office. Instead of outsourcing minor tasks to people from countries where certain skills are less expensive, companies could recruit the best people for their organisations from people all over the planet, meaning that niche markets could be represented globally and much easier to access.

Hi, my company is looking to expand and we would like to upgrade our office. We want the company’s brand to be represented throughout the premises and various features implemented to make the type of work we do easier for our employees to carry out

Augmented Reality premises

To say that offices will have ceased to exist within the next 20 years is not particularly realistic. The number of twentysomethings who would not be up for the idea now never mind when they are in their forties in 2030 suggests that that is unlikely to happen. However, in many circles and industries it could well be a thriving and growing concept by then.

More likely, Augmented Reality could be paired up with service design to add an online dimension to real life premises.

The Google Glass Project is aiming hard to make Augmented Reality a big thing, by developing a pair of glasses that can link in with location tracking and social media while also acting as a phone and having the ability to take photo and video of wherever you are, with the enormous number of possibilities that this pairing implies. A pair of glasses that interact with the general environment could at some point end up succeeding the smartphone, once the inevitable ‘geek’ stigma of it wears off.

Super responsive websites

At the moment, responsive web design is becoming a bigger and bigger thing. With the growing variation in screen sizes from vast high resolution monitors to mobile phone screens, development of websites that work across all these different platforms is becoming more and more essential. This is a trend that is likely to continue, with [Microsoft?] having been playing with digital environments that can overlay your entire home.

Web Design in 2030

Web Design is unlikely to be called web design in the future due to the fully immersive way in which the internet will be operating by this time. In fact, the term ‘user experience designer’ is being used more frequently these days. By 2030, a more apt term may be ‘online environment designer’, and the profession would start to require greater knowledge of skills like 3D modelling, interior design and service design in addition to the existing skills of branding, layout design, coding, SEO and usability knowledge. It’s likely to change everything about day to day life, and at the very least make for some very interesting projects.

Leave a comment