The Internet of Things: 5 Trends to Watch in 2016

It’s impossible to predict the future. New trends are constantly developing, fads come and go, and what’s in vogue one day may be irrelevant the next.

Fortunately, the Internet gives us nearly unlimited access to the collective minds of the world, and with it, insight into what trends will likely take hold as the New Year unfurls its banner. In the interest of preparing ourselves, let’s review 5 trends of website development and security and how they’ll look in the coming year.

1. Search Engine Optimization

Ahhh, SEO: the lost but not forgotten element of achieving a higher page rank. We know SEO is considered old-fashioned, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely out of the picture (even in 2016).

Proper SEO still relies on doing your keyword homework, using tools, such as Searchmetrics’ Keyword Analysis tool or Google’s Keyword planner. However, your keyword strategy needs to be adapted in the modern age of 2016. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to not only deduce what keywords you’re using but your intention behind the words. This means that proper keyword usage, SEO value, and page ranking will depend more on the quality and relevancy of your content than it ever has before. The days of black-hat SEO tricks are over.

2. Security Standards

Security awareness isn’t optional these days, and it becomes a bigger concern as time goes on. Web security is notoriously under-appreciated with many website owners waiting until a breach occurs before taking action. In 2016, servers that house privileged information must understand the economics of security, how to assess their security architecture, and have a plan of action for when unauthorized access occurs. Hacking techniques progress alongside technology, making it essential that web owners take agency over their security and prevent problems before they arise.

3. No Privacy

Tied closely with security, users must become more conscious of their web presence moving into 2016. The explosion of social media is largely to blame for the lack of privacy in our online lives—even with built-in security and privacy controls on platforms such as Facebook and Google+, our comments, likes, and shares leave behind a digital footprint that is nearly impossible to erase completely. Don’t expect secure passwords to save you, either—the recent Ashley Madison breach in early 2015 highlights just how fragile our online privacy is. While not every web page houses material as sensitive as the Ashley Madison platform, both the user base and the site itself suffered irreparable damage from their unexpected data loss.

4. The Future of E-Commerce

Like every other aspect of the Internet, the e-commerce world is shaping up to see some big changes in the coming year. And what direction do you think online business will be moving? We’ll give you a hint: 80 percent of Internet users currently have one in their pocket, according to Smart Insights Marketing.

That’s right—mobile mania. E-commerce and online sales stand to make a bigger impact in the mobile market than they ever have before. For retailers looking to capitalize on this trend, this means more personalization, faster access, and a seamless omnichannel shopping experience that can easily transition from application to brick-and-mortar business.

5. Web Design

We all know that mobile optimization is hot right now, but better mobile use isn’t the only web design element poised to take 2016 by storm. Other design trends have already taken root and are starting to show their value, but developers need to be careful when jumping on these particular design bandwagons:

  • Hamburger Menus: These navigation tools are strewn throughout Windows 10 and are becoming commonplace on many sites. The push toward the sleek, minimalist UI has no better figurehead than these polarizing little guys—love them or hate them, they’re here to stay.
  • Carousel Landing Pages: With how poor carousel pages perform, it’s a wonder that they’re still as popular as they are. With poor SEO value, demanding page loads, and a stunning lack of engagement (less than 1 percent of users click on carousels, according to research by Eric Runyon in 2013), you’d expect carousels to be on their way out. Alas, carousel pages are all the rage these days and show no sign of leaving any time soon.
  • Video Load Screens: Talk about a mixed bag—interactive loading screens can be a great way to show off your unique brand identityn but only when done right. Data by Kissmetrics found that the patience threshold for most users is around 10 seconds when waiting for a page to load. Why, then, do so many pages feature long and complex intro videos that bore people and provide little actual value? There’s nothing wrong with a simple video to start your consumer off—just make sure you don’t drive him away in the process.