10 Web Predictions for 2012: the Results!

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Twelve months ago I published 10 Web Predictions for 2012. In this article, we’ll look at the accuracy of my prophecies to determine whether I’m the next Nostradamus…

1. Chrome Will Overtake Internet Explorer

An easy one. I predicted Google’s browser would take the coveted #1 spot in the middle of the year and it was confirmed during May.

Cumulative score: 1 out of 1. It’s going well!

2. But IE10 Will be Better Than You Expect

I speculated IE10 would be released in the spring, have full W3C standards support, amazing speed, a slick interface and receive glowing reviews. It arrived in October and remains a beta on Windows 7. My own review was generally favorable but IE10 only just catches the competition — it doesn’t overtake them.

In summary, it’s OK but wasn’t better than expected. Bah: 1 out of 2.

3. Windows 8 and Windows Phone May Surprise You Too

My quote:

Windows 8 will be applauded by businesses, home users, gamers and developers alike. It’ll sell well even though the western economies are in meltdown. Web developers will also be able to leverage their skills and write native Windows applications using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

Other than speed, many existing Windows users have criticized the new OS. It may not be a disaster of Vista-like proportions but my prediction was way off: 1 out of 3.

4. Tablets and Mobiles Will Begin to Influence Web Design

This is a harder one to assess but, in my experience, many more clients are using and considering tablet support. Retina displays have also received an unwarranted amount of attention given their relatively low level of usage. I’m going to be generous and award myself another point: 2 out of 4.

5. Responsive Design Will Go Mainstream

I suspect the number of responsive websites increased exponentially during 2012, but popular “mainstream” sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yahoo, MSN, WordPress.com and the BBC retained their rigid fixed-width designs.

Perhaps I was correct in questioning the industry’s readiness for responsive layouts? Half a point I think: 2.5 out of 5.

6. Many Mobile App Developers Will Switch to HTML5

I thought this was a safe bet. The fragmentation of the smartphone operating systems (iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry OS, webOS, bada, Windows Phone, Firefox OS, etc.) combined with more sophisticated mobile browsers and APIs would make HTML5 a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there with more money than sense. Despite evidence to the contrary, many consider mobile apps to be more popular, easier to develop and highly lucrative (refer also to 5 Reasons Why Zuckerberg Has Not Killed HTML5). While I wouldn’t suggest HTML5 was always better or easier, it’s not superseded mobile apps this year: 2.5 out of 6.

7. Advertisers Will Discover HTML5

HTML5 advertising scares me. Consider the power agencies will have to monitor your location, adapt to differing devices and change any part of the page. HTML5 adverts would also be far more difficult to block.

Fortunately, no one’s bothered and advertisers are sticking with Flash. Wrong again: 2.5 out of 7.

8. But Flash Will Survive. Just.

Yay — I got one right. Flash is far from dead. Game developers may be migrating to HTML5 but advertisers are remaining faithful. 3.5 out of 8.

9. IE6 and IE7 Will Finally Die

This time last year, combined IE6/7 usage was 5.8%. Today, it’s fallen below 1.2%. However, the browsers may still be popular for your target audience — especially if you’re selling to large organizations or Government departments. Fortunately, they’re becoming a distant memory for most of us. Another point: 4.5 out of 9.

10. Average Page Sizes Will Reach 1MB

According to trends, I predicted average page weights would reach 1MB by the end of 2012. I never imagined they would bulk to 1.25MB by November. Utter madness — especially when mobile usage is increasing and HTML5/CSS3 should reduce page sizes.

I’ll award myself half a point: it was a correct prediction but I underestimated the scale.

That gives me a grand total of 5 out of 10. Hardly spectacular although infinitely better than your horoscope. It illustrates the futility of predictions, but will that stop me? Probably not…

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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