Think about this: In the year 2000, the Online Computer Library Center reported 7 million Internet websites. As of April 2012, Netcraft reports that 676,919,717 websites reside on the World Wide Web. To describe web development as a growth industry is an understatement. All of the activities that surround a company’s website — design, development, maintenance, and security — have increased exponentially since the first innovative web browser was released in 1993. Web development as a job description moved from garage status to business and social necessity in record time.
In 1995, a company looked for a web developer to manage its intranet. Today, many types of businesses in Houston and around the world are looking for web development companies to create and manage websites that are critical to their success. In 1995, fewer than 1,000 web development companies existed in the United States. By 2005, the web development industry had spawned more than 30,000 companies in the U.S. alone. Now an online search of web development in just one city, Houston, nets 17,500,000 results. Web development has been one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
That kind of growth has pushed web development firms into the uncharted waters of new technology while demanding new marketing services for their clients. If one Houston web marketing and design company represents web development in general, then the company’s portfolio of services reveals the expertise and business savvy required of web developers today: blogs, shopping carts and web development; content management systems; membership management; search engine marketing; social media consulting and marketing; email marketing; and customer relationship marketing.
What can we expect in the near future as companies and clients struggle to absorb new ways of doing business with new technologies? .net writer Craig Grannell interviewed industry experts to get a bead on web development and design trends for 2012. Their predictions give rise to new challenges in web development that demand new approaches without forgetting good business practices. Among the technological trends is the need for more efficient and standard ways to build interfaces for multiple devices. And speaking of devices, experts predict an explosion of mobile devices in 2012. As web development of mobile applications increases, 2012 should see a growing understanding that appearance isn’t everything. Designer and illustrator Geri Coady says, “We should treat style, content, and behavior with equal respect — they must work together to strengthen the meaning and personality of a site, app, or brand.”
Even amid the new and the unknown, some things never change. For one, we should never forget respect for the client who is paying for all this. Headscape co-founder Paul Boag advises: “If we are going to prosper in 2012 we need to blow our clients away, not just their users.”
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