Recently, Adobe announced that it would no longer work to support Flash on mobile devices. On October 3, 2011, it announced it was also going to acquire PhoneGap – a tool that is used to take one piece of content and output it to all the major mobile device platforms.
Let’s not assume that Adobe is going to take over the world, but they’ve done a great job keeping up with the needs of the market. (Remember, Adobe acquired the Macromedia Suite – Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash – which has been the primary suite used by web developers around the world over the last 10-15 years).
Adobe isn’t the only company fighting to stay on top of the market. WordPress (blog, website and content management technology) has continually added templates (including purchaseable templates created by power users) and newer blog technologies like Tumblr and Posterous are even more forward building in widgets/gadgets that make their sites perfectly situated for leveraging social networks and information sharing with like minded individuals. Think Twitter with larger text limits. Drupal and Joomla are now the primary sites for serious web developers and constantly innovate with their templates.
Blogger, not to be outdone, has just added a powerful dynamic template. The new twist allows any user of the page the ability to display the page in a way that meets their personal viewing needs.
Pinterest has taken the world by storm as a kind of Delicious (popular bookmarking site) on steriods – you save what you like and others can view what you like and “re-pin” items they like. Driven by pictures vs. text links. Great way to share ideas, get more exposure to your product and ultimately find more business contacts.
LinkedIn, the online networking site, has made great strides with the groups and sharing features. I posted a job posting to a group of designers and was able to provide a friend 30 applicable resumes within 48 hours of the posting.
So, what of all this innovation and keeping up with the market?
No one can keep up with it all. What is popular today may be outdone tomorrow.
Keep a few points in mind while navigating this landscape:
- K.I.S.S.– Keep it Simple Stupid. It’s time to go back to basics. Take out extraneous eye candy, complex designs, and convoluted implementation. The design needs to be simple for customers and for you…especially since you could be switching to different tools each year (or sooner).
- Don’t jump too fast! – See a flashy new tool? Want to jump in and use it for your website? Not so fast. Create a test site/account and fill it with fake content. Test it with other gadgets, find out how it looks on your mobile device, see how it works with your day-to-day use. Make a list of all the functionality that is there AND that seems to be missing. Compare it to your other site or product. Is it really better? Is it better in some ways and not in others? What are you willing to give up to have it? We all have our own list of technical requirements and sometimes something new won’t help you.
- Tools aren’t necessarily the answer– we’ve got hundreds of technology tools to choose from for websites, project management, photo management, social networking, online communities, photo editing, and more… I used to work for a boss that had me try out new tools every day of the week. It started to detract from my day job. I started to realize that tools are there to assist us, but they aren’t the point. They should support your business. Not the other way around – unless you are selling tools.
The market will keep shifting thanks to continued innovation. That will bring great possibilities for us all. Something that will best meet your needs may not have been invented yet, but is soon forthcoming.
The key is to stay true to your roots while being willing to test new ideas and technologies, but remember that you don’t have to use them.