The Grumpy Designer’s Bold Predictions for 2019

By on Web Design

2019 is upon us and it has me thinking big. And since everyone else out there is telling you what will happen in the new year, I’m going to do the same thing: But with a twist.

You see, this isn’t any old set of predictions. No, these will be more like trekking up a mountain to see a soothsayer. But only way better, since you won’t suffer from the fatigue of having to climb thousands of feet just to hear my thoughts.

This old grumpy designer has read literally tens of these “predict the year ahead” types of articles. And I’ve discovered that, although they mean well, they’re neither very fun or useful. So, I’m here to change the narrative.

But before we begin, just a word of warning. These predictions are absolutely huge. Like you’ve never seen before. And they are completely tongue-in-cheek, so don’t wager anything of value on them.

If you want to know what 2019 will bring, you’ve come to the right place. So, settle in with a cup of your favorite beverage and prepare to be dazzled.

Tarot Cards

Prediction #1: JavaScript Will Run Everything

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t take full credit for this one. Back in 2015, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg told us to “Learn JavaScript Deeply”. And JavaScript is absolutely everywhere these days, including the new Gutenberg editor, which is powered by React.

But JavaScript isn’t just changing the way we create content for WordPress. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg here. It’s going to do so much more.

In fact, JavaScript is set to completely wipe out all other standards and languages. CSS? Gone. HTML? Gone. PHP? It’s been real.

This will create a seismic shift in the web design industry. Earnings for freelancers will go through the roof as what used to take mere minutes will now require thousands of lines of buggy code to approximately emulate.

If you know JavaScript at all, then I would consider placing an order for that Maserati right now. I’ll take mine in black.

A box full of money.

Prediction #2: Google Will Host Many Websites

One of the easiest ways to predict the future is to study the past. Therefore, we know that Google has been on a mission to shape the web as it sees fit. Their unique blend of standards and search engine algorithms have had a massive effect on our daily lives. We can’t escape them. And Bing isn’t coming to save us.

You may be wondering what’s next. What more could Google possibly do? Well, that’s what I’m here to tell you.

In 2019, Google will decree that the web is completely unsafe. First, they will admit that their previous insistence that we all use SSL certificates, lest we be branded as “Not secure”, didn’t go as planned. It turns out that there were a few rebellious souls who didn’t heed the warning.

To make things right, Google will offer “free” hosting services that are completely optional. By taking them up on this kind offer, they will in turn make sure your site is indexed in their search engine. However, since they can’t guarantee the security of any websites hosted elsewhere, they will simply remove outsiders from their index (you can’t be too careful).

Thus, the web will finally be made safe for us all. And, after the subsequent merger with Facebook, we will be pleased to have so many eyes watching over us.

An iPad displaying Google's home page.

Prediction #3: Retro Design Will Go All the Way Back

As a designer who has been around since the 90s, I’m heartened by seeing some websites adopt a more retro look. It brings back memories of a simpler time.

My psychic powers tell me, however, that this is more than a fad. In fact, it will be looked upon by history as more of a tidal force that reshapes web design permanently.

Think about this moment in time. Websites have gotten way too complicated. UIs are dense, while ads and modals litter our screens. And don’t get me started on the unreadable typography.

Therefore, I predict that 2019 will see a mass movement to design based on the limitations of the early web. We will see a mixture of plain system fonts and large, uncompressed images that bring about a more user-friendly and primitive look.

Ironically, every new site will be full-width and able to take advantage of the extra screen real estate afforded by 4k monitors. Yet, it will also be mobile-friendly. Amazing!

One thing that will stay the same is the need for a great debugging tool. Because, even though the look is completely barebones, it will still be built using JavaScript.

JavaScript code on a screen.

Another Historic Year

You may be wondering why I’ve only made three bold predictions. Let me explain. Change in both our industry and world is usually more iterative. There aren’t many sweeping transformations that happen overnight. Instead, we tend to see things change slowly over a period of years.

When you think of it that way, to have these three massive events all happen within one year may be unprecedented. Also, the longer this post goes on, the more opportunity it has to really go off the rails.

But regardless of what 2019 brings to the industry, I do hope it brings all of you much joy and success. Thank you for reading and for continuing to support this grumpy designer!

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