Web Design

How web 3.0 is changing the design landscape

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Web 3.0 is set to change the design and development landscape in a fundamental way. 

With a new era of web standards approaching the level of consideration when approaching a high performance web design or development project is drastically increasing. 

Online technologies are advancing and with the now growing trend of new internet iterations such as the Metaverse it’s natural that we’re setting a new version of the web now being coined – web 3.0. 

According to Christopher Baker (Director of a leading Web design agency) “New web projects we are being commissioned for are signatically more considered in terms of animated interactive and 3D technology used..” 

We’ll explore how AR, VR, decentralisation and SEO are all impacting design forever in this 10-minute read. 

Intro to web 3.0

The first two world wide web and web design iterations gave us centralised data access and unique interaction methods like social. According to Search Engine One, “Analysts predict that Web 3.0 will be different, a completely new mindset on how we approach web interaction. Many tech innovators predict that Web 3.0 won’t just change how users access websites; it will also change how developers create websites. For this to happen, computer scientists are looking at developing complex artificial intelligence to make internet functions like search or app development easier and more intuitive. This means that Web 3.0 won’t just be analyzing and comparing keywords, it will also take into account things like context, lexicon, slang, and delve further into human language and intent.” Many feel it will be dominated by cryptocurrencies, blockchain for privacy, enriched experiences, machine learning and smart SEO. So, we’ll break those down in detail:

Increased focus on privacy & decentralisation

According to Coinzilla, “The ‘decentralized web’ employs the power of blockchain technology to dissolve the need for centralized operators, working only with immutable encrypted data.” In practice, this means that specific operators would no longer own your data. That information would come with you as you visit different websites and you’d retain ownership over it. Think of it as a passport. Companies like TikTok or Facebook could access and look at your passport to service your visit, but you’d get it back (with all your data) at the end of the browsing session. This is a huge shift from how web 2.0 operates. Currently all sites you visit store data about you on their own systems and often sell or monetise that information. For designers, this means changing how user data is accessed and stored at a basic level.

Cross-platform data sources (IoT)

Since users will now own their data, it’s going to pull from every source that the user has visited. This means that designers can craft far more personalised experiences – even if they are fleeting. But what do you do with all this new information? Deloitte suggests, “Learning to manage data from sensors—whether from retail stores’ camera feeds, trackers on trucks, or infusion pump sensors in hospitals—helps prepare the business for handling the volume of data, and also helps them begin to benefit from the insights they can provide.” Web designers will need to prioritise, narrow down and optimise these experiences based on what data they find useful to enhance the brand’s product or service offering. And they’ll need to make them device agnostic. Your brand experiences will be picked up and put down across all phones, tablets, computers, smart TVs and gaming consoles.

Rise of AR & VR web experiences

Advanced computing power makes more resource-heavy experiences like AR and VR possible. It’s such a big trend that Google has a whole collection dedicated to showing how these experiences can work and they state “[augmented] and virtual reality are opening up the possibilities of how we interact with the world and information around us. WebXR brings together AR and VR on the web to make them more convenient and widely accessible.” And Google is not the only company to make VR and AR easier to work with for web experiences. While VR shuts out the world, AR includes it for endless brand interaction variation. Web designers are now harnessing virtual fitting rooms, products in your space technology and other WebXR deployments to enhance the shopping experience for retail customers. 

User journeys augmented by machine learning and AI

Businesses are rapidly moving to machine learning and AI to replace repetitive decisions which would have been made by a human operator in the past. As a result, a larger amount of the user journey for web designers is impacted or controlled by AI. And while this is wildly helpful for streamlining processes in business, it raises some concerns under GDPR that designers need to account for. Emerge states, “Unleashing machine learning algorithms on large datasets may reveal conclusions that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. This is often compared to human “gut instincts,” when our subconscious draws a conclusion, but we aren’t necessarily able to explain how we arrived at that end. While we may expect this from humans, it is less commonly accepted for machines to have this capacity. Any data that is generated by a machine learning algorithm, as opposed to traditional data processing, should therefore be differentiated visually.”

SEO encompasses photo, video and audio

The new, smarter web 3.0 uses machine learning to understand all types of media that exist on digital devices. The search of the future will focus more on getting the right answer to a user’s query the first time – regardless of device. Search Engine Watch states, “The first step is to ensure that all content is clearly [labelled] for search engines. Microdata can be used to achieve this and Schema.org mark-up remains just as vital as it has been for the past few years.” But they caution that more long-tail searches, voice assistant queries and position zero results will be the battlegrounds for web 3.0 searches. As services like Amazon Alexa and Google’s Quick Answers begin to show more multimedia content results, it will be critical for designers to properly designate these assets for search.

Summary of web 3.0 in design

There’s a lot to love about the intelligent web. Now your assets like videos and images can be served as search results. Your experiences can interact with their real-world environment and you’ll get access to more data to personalise the interaction. But the concerns around privacy and decentralisation mean a real change to how websites and applications are built. But, by harnessing these new ways of designing for the web, you’ll craft a web 3.0 experience that can weather these shifting consumer expectations; providing peak utility for years to come.

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