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Web design in Kenya – A look at the present and the future

Apnest blog- Web design in Kenya – A look at the present and the future
Over a very short period, the web has transformed our lives; it has changed how we interact, communicate, work, learn, socialize and just about everything in our lives. The web is one of the things that powers our daily lives. Over the last decade, the web technologies have evolved to offer better, innovative and elegant solutions and this evolution still continues, leaving everybody speculating what will come next. With the advancement of technology, web designers in Kenya are trying to keep up with the increasing demands of the web users. Today the users want fast sites with a simple design and nice experience; to be honest, these are some of the things that were totally not there a few years ago, especially here in Kenya. Most of us remember the struggle with the government sites, whenever there was huge traffic on their site, e.g., checking the exam results on KNEC’s website, it could have taken you hours to get the results. Today things have changed, web design companies in Kenya are making a move to embrace new web technologies.

The web is shifting, but where is it shifting to?

New challenges call for new techniques. Of late it has become impossible for me to talk about the future of web without mentioning node or JavaScript. Every time I talk about web development technologies, I know I'm a little biased because node is my go to technology when developing web apps. Large enterprises like LinkedIn, PayPal, Netflix, eBay and Uber among other huge companies are moving to node and for good reasons. If you are a web developer and have not been using node, you need to check what it has to offer. Well, node is just one technology that I believe will have huge impacts on the web in the near future but what more is there? There are several web design trends that we see today, and they will definitely define the future of web design. Below are some of the trends that you can expect to see in 2017 and beyond.

1. Mobile fast approach

Mobile fast is a phrase that we have become used to, but in Kenya, we still have a long way to go. Mobile traffic has already surpassed the desktop traffic. More users are using their smartphones to access the web. What these means is developers doesn’t have an option but to offer mobile-friendly websites, making sure it works on mobile before moving to the other devices or in other words developing responsive sites. mobile first image

2. Progressive web applications are on the rise

Web users are always demanding for more, for a better experience, for faster websites and right now progressive web apps offer exactly that. The first time I heard about progressive web apps I thought, it was just another hype in the web design world, but when I took a closer look, I realized it was the future the developers had been waiting for. Progressive web apps offer more than an ordinally website can offer, it is a website offering the experience of a native mobile app. One thing we know, today is that technologies like Angular, React and Vue are replacing jQuery, although jQuery is still being used, its popularity is decreasing while libraries like Angular continue to grow in popularity and usage. The reason behind this Angular and React popularity is closely tied to the growing demand for progressive web apps. What these technologies offer is advanced functionality, making web applications feel more like native software and improving the user experience. Google is a major key player in PWA, and this one among the many assurances that this is a technology will not disappear tomorrow, it is here to stay.

3. Opportunities beyond web design

Web designers will no longer be tied to the browser; there is more to explore. Web technologies (especially JavaScript) have proven to be an unstoppable force growing beyond the browsers. Today web designers can switch to mobile apps development or desktop app development without having to learn new programming languages. Technologies like ionic and react native have enabled web developers to develop mobile apps with what they already know (JavaScript). Technologies like electron are here to open the doors for web developers to start creating desktop applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux. For employers, it is time to hire JavaScript developers and competent web designers in nairobi and prepare for the future.

4. Animations will continue to make an impact

For the last few years, animations have become popular on the browsers offering better user experience. Animations offer visual guidance to the user and let the user feel and see what is happening on the web page. A large percentage of web designers in Kenya have come to adopt the use of animations to offer better user experience, and this is a trend that will continue to play an increasingly important role in development and advancement of the web.

5. Material design

A few years ago, bootstrap was introduced to the world, and this was one of the greatest things that happened to web designers. Although bootstrap was great and is still great, something was missing, at times when developing the user interface things would crash a lot. At times things felt a little bit off. What was missing was a clear guideline of how different elements would be organized, how they would behave (state transitions) and respond to events. Google Material Design has solved all these issues, and web designers can develop websites offering consistent and nice user experience and more importantly helping developers create websites that look great.

6. Lazy loading

Most of the web applications developed by web design companies in Nairobi and other developers all over the world carry huge data with them. When a web app contains a lot of data, it becomes logical to only load data when the user needs it. A good scenario of lazy loading is when a user sees more information as he/she scrolls down the page (for example Facebook). From my perspective, web design in Kenya is yet to fully adopt this technology, but several web applications are utilizing this and some of the above technologies.

7. Web designers in the marketing department

Research shows that user experience will surpass price and product as the key brand differentiator. This calls for organizations to get web designers in the marketing department to help ensure the users get an excellent experience and at the same time they facilitate collecting user feedback in an easier and reliable way. Even as I write this, e-commerce websites are in a category of websites that critically require user feedback as well as providing a good user experience for them to excel. Web design companies in Kenya will also be required to combine some marketing skills with their existing design skills to create successful websites and brands.
Published on Mon 17-3-2017
Article Writen By - Robert Wach
Robert Wachira is a Web designer and digital marketer at Apnest. He has vast knowledge in the fields of web design and digital marketing.