4 Trends for Website Developers in 2018

4 Trends for Website Developers in 2018

Looking forward into 2018, there are some key trends will directly impact how applications are developed. These include increased regulation in Europe, integrated digital experiences, new digital channels and artificial intelligence.  

Let’s take a quick look at trend / prediction and how it will change the developer landscape.

General Data Privacy Regulation

GDPR will be important to teams not only from a compliance standard, but also from the consumer reaction to the controls. The “right to be forgotten” has the potential to limit the ability to personalize and orchestrate a customer experience across digital channels. There has been a focus on meeting the standard, but teams need to start making plans for how strategies and models may need to change.

Imagine if a significant proportion of your European customers ask to have their data purged. How will you deliver relevant content to them? Do you have the workflows in place to execute and validate that the customer’s request to be forgotten was executed? Marketers will need to plan strategies that strike the right balance of personalization to deliver value without prompting customers to block data collection.

At Acquia, we are not taking GDPR lightly. We have taken a close look and shared our perspective earlier in 2017.

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New Channels

In 2017, we saw new digital channels rapidly adopted by consumers. The holiday shopping season is often a good indicator of what technologies consumers will use, and 2017 was no exception.

A recent article on Slashgear noted that Alexa and Google Home both climbed to the top 10 downloaded apps on Apple’s App Store on Dec. 25. I doubt it’s a stretch that people will be expecting a lot from chatbots in 2018. In fact, in 2017 Acquia Labs worked with Georgia.gov on the development of an Alexa skill.

In 2017, augmented reality became prevalent enough that Time magazine started ranking the apps in October. Based on these trends, development teams need to ensure that they have not only the internal expertise to build and maintain these applications, but the platform to support it.

Second, consider the architecture. Digital marketers will be looking to ensure a consistent use of content and brand across all of the channels.

Development teams will need a platform that supports automated tools and the stacks that support their desired application architecture. This brings us to our next trend.

Integrated Digital Experiences and the Headless CMS

Headless CMS (which we call Decoupled Drupal) is finally getting some real traction. The benefits of having a strong content management system (like Drupal) on the backend to serve modern applications (like single page apps, native mobile apps, chatbots and more) allows teams to scale.

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Frontend teams are no longer waiting on the backend teams. All great stuff, but then there is the issue of supporting it all.

Digital platform teams will be faced with a challenge of finding the services that support a wider array of technologies.

Frontend applications might be running through one provider, while backend are supported by another. Maintaining a platform strategy that scales with the technologies you want to use will be key for adopting a headless architecture strategy.  

Getting Smarter with Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

With the new channels and technologies taking hold, we are going to need to get much better at intelligently serving up content to the right user, on the right device at the right time.

Enter artificial intelligence and machine learning. As our digital ecosystems become more complex, our teams need to be augmented with the technologies that help them scale.

We believe machine learning and AI will start to enter the picture among early adopters in 2018.

Developers will certainly need to integrate these tools to bring the value to life across digital channels.

However the effectiveness brings us full circle back to the GDPR questions at the beginning of this blog. Maintaining a balance over these tools to keep the personalization thoughtful without crossing the line to creepy will be the biggest challenge for teams that own the tools.

Peter Brown Photo

Peter Brown

Former Director of Product Marketing, Cloud Computing Acquia