10 Web Predictions for 2013: the Results!

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At the beginning of 2012 I published 10 Web Predictions for 2012. My foresight failed dismally and I only got it half right. Therefore, I played it safe in 2013 — let’s see if I fared any better…

1. Browser usage patterns will steady

We’ve reached a point where there’s comparatively little difference between the top five browsers. I didn’t foresee Opera switching to Blink which makes them closer still. The majority of users are unlikely to notice or care which browser they’re using: nor should we.

Cumulative score: 1 out of 1. A good start!

2. Browser choice will become more limited

I predicted more vendors would jump on the Apple bandwagon and dictate which browser you can install. While Windows RT, Chrome OS and Firefox OS have browser restrictions, none has been able to challenge the dominance of Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android or even Linux. I still think it’s a concern, but can’t really claim a point. Yet.

1 out of 2. D’oh.

3. IE11 (or 10.1) will be released

IE11 was released with Windows 8.1 in October and launched on Windows 7 in November. Not only did it arrive within twelve months of IE10, but it surprised many by being a very good browser.

An easy 2 out of 3!

4. A big Windows 8 update will arrive

My prediction:

SP1 will bring back many of the business PC-friendly features Microsoft stripped from the OS. I wouldn’t be surprised to see less reliance on the gesture nonsense and a smaller Metro/whatever-its-name screen which looks suspiciously like a Start button.

I had the name wrong, but Windows 8.1 is more akin to a service pack than a full Windows release. I like Windows 8/8.1, but I’ve been using it since day one and the first few weeks were frustrating. The OS is a brave departure from Windows 7 but people are afraid to learn something new — especially when there’s little perceived benefit. I doubt Microsoft will return to classic interface, but it will take some time before users accept Windows 8 (presuming they ever do).

That’s 3 out of 4. It’s looking good!

5. Node.js will become a disruptive technology

The web is dominated by PHP, .NET and Java, but Node.js received considerable attention during 2013. All the cool kids are using it. There’s some way to go: relatively few companies are writing Node.js applications and hosting choices are more limited. That said, developers are using the technology for task automation and build tools such as Grunt.

Perhaps I’m a little too early with my prediction, but 2014 certainly looks good for Node.js. Half a point seems fair: 3.5 out of 5.

6. 2013 is the year of Responsive Web Design

Who isn’t creating a responsive website design? They are everywhere with good reason: the benefits far outweigh the costs. It’s difficult to justify reasons not to use RWD.

Definitely another point: 4.5 out of 6.

7. A responsive image standard will be decided

Hmmm, I wish. Despite everyone using RWD, it remains remarkably difficult to target devices with different images according to resolution and bandwidth. While there has been some consensus to the responsive image problem, we’re a long way from a workable cross-browser solution.

There’s been some movement, but even half a point would be generous: 4.5 out of 7.

8. Touch screen devices will come of age

Tablets are everywhere. You would have seen an abundance of the devices when fraternizing with like-minded technical buddies before 2013 but, this year, tablets entered mainstream consciousness. Your pointy-haired boss and parents now use one in preference to their PC.

Additionally, let’s not forget that entry-level laptops have received touch screens during the past year. Another point I think: 5.5 out of 8 — I’ve beaten last year’s score with two predictions to go!

9. The native vs web app debate will continue

This is more difficult to quantify. Companies want apps, but the market is confused. Native, web and hybrid all offer compelling advantages and disadvantages.

I’m going to award myself a slightly generous point. The debate is less heated, but you’ll still be annoyed by “use our new app” pop-ups and skip screens which inevitably lead to awful software which is less functional than the website you were trying to access.

6.5 out of 9 — on to the final prediction.

10. Average web page weights will reach 2Mb

By the end of 2012, average page weight had bloated by 30% in one year to reach 1,250Kb. Few developers seem concerned by this and I predicted another jump to 2Mb. The actual figure according to the HTTP Archive Report is a little over 1,700Kb — a 32% increase in the past twelve months. That’s also split over a ludicrous 96 HTTP requests.

So my prediction was a little wide of the mark, but pages still have an obesity problem. I’m going to be greedy and claim another half point.

That gives me a grand total of 7 out of 10. That’s 40% more accurate than last year — my precognitive skills are improving! Watch out for my 2014 predictions coming soon

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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