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Web Development Trends in 2021: What Have We Learned?

Mad Duck Team

7 min readDec 16, 2021.

Guy coding on a PC.

Every year brings improvements and changes to every tech and software development branch, and web development is no exception. We’ve taken a look at what happened during 2021 and here are the 10 web development trends that shaped the year behind us.

1. Progressive Web Apps

While they’re not new to 2021, progressive web apps (abbreviated as PWAs) are stated to replace regular web apps. They massively improve loading times and allow for offline access to app features (think Google maps).

React, Angular, and Polymer are techs that are being used to develop progressive web apps. With decreased load time, PWAs allow for a much better user experience which, in turn, boosts the number of potential conversions. They also take up to four times less to develop, as they don’t have to be built from scratch for each platform.

PWAs are applications built on a web framework. They allow users to use or install them without downloading them from an app store. Basically, they’re mobile websites with the functionality of apps, providing personal computer speeds and the experience of a mobile application.

Companies like Pinterest, Uber, Twitter, and Starbucks are already using them, and thanks to the increased ease of use, many more are expected to follow.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

In 2021, chatbots have become even more advanced. Thanks to the modern approach to artificial intelligence, they’re now able to use machine learning and deep learning to simulate human interactions. Since a lot of businesses work across different time zones, maintaining around-the-clock customer service can be both complex and costly.

Chatbots can provide instant automated support for simple tasks, like answering FAQs or connecting the client with the right customer support agent.

Microsoft Bot Framework, Facebook Bot Engine, and Dialogflow are open-source artificial intelligence technology solutions that can be used to both develop and customize chatbots.

Illustration of a girl texting and a chatbot replying.

3. Accelerated Mobile Pages

First launched in 2015, Accelerated Mobile Pages Project was supposed to provide mobile users with an incredibly fast experience. Since loading speed is an important ranking factor for Google, AMPs can improve a website’s visibility and lead to a higher SERP position.

They require the use of a new purpose-built AMP HTML open framework, and Google has provided detailed AMP documentation accompanied with guides and tutorials.

4. Single-page Applications

Single-page applications (SPAs) allow for seamless communication with the server. They’re considered one of the most significant web-page development trends. SPAs load a single HTML page in a browser and update content as needed without having to refresh the entire page.

In addition to being cost-effective and easy to create, they also take up less space on servers. SPAs are also more user-friendly and intuitive, making them an ideal choice for modern websites. Facebook and Twitter make use of single-page applications as their main pages rarely need to be reloaded completely.

They can be developed using mainly JS frameworks like Ember, Angular, React, and more.

5. Voice Search Optimization

Voice search is growing in popularity to the point it’s becoming ubiquitous. Digital voice assistants are present on every smartphone, and an increasing number of homes have smart-home accessories (powered mostly by Amazon and Google).

The ease of use and affordability are the main reasons for the jump in this trend. The technology is finally mature, and over a third of Americans are using it. This is a critical mass that will push the technology into the mainstream and voice search optimization services will become a necessary part of any digital marketing package.

Web Speech API is used to handle voice data, and it’s divided into two components: recognition and synthesis.

Text notification on a mobile phone: Hey Siri

6. Motion UI

This is one of the main design trends of the year. Customers want more than a quick user experience, they want it to feel pleasant as well. The aesthetic appeal and comfort of an interface, along with the feel and the flow, have become important factors.

Motion UI is a frontend framework that allows developers to build responsive applications and websites. It can be used to animate design elements, making them bounce, spin, slide, and more. This will improve behavioral factors, allowing the app to rank higher in SERP.

The library is flexible and can work with any JavaScript framework.

7. Blockchain

Blockchain technology has been around for a few years, and the cryptocurrency craze is still going strong. However, the biggest thing to show up in 2021 is definitely the growing popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The concept of digital scarcity is hardly new, but this time it might actually be taking off. With blockchain-powered certificates of ownership, and the technology being picked up by major financial institutions (Mastercard) and game developers (Ubisoft), it appears that blockchain is here to stay.

8. Business Intelligence

No business can succeed in the market without information and Business intelligence facilitates improvement in business operations. BI tools and interfaces are having an increasing impact and are in ever-growing demand.

Put simply, most business owners and decision-makers don’t have the time or inclination to read through reams of raw data. They need it simplified and digestible on the go. BI applications provide just that, with clean, easy-to-understand dashboards, and actionable insights.

9. Data Science

Another trend that’s hardly new, but growing in importance. Data science has been shaping the way businesses interact for years, and it will continue to do so in the future. Improved access to user data allows for enhanced personalization, app customization, and better machine learning protocols.

This data is a gold mine for developers who will be able to tailor upgrades and enhancements based on user behavior. Upgrades will no longer be a planned strategic decision, but emerge from gathered and analyzed data.

10. Cloud Solutions

Cloud is clearly taking the primacy away from on-site infrastructure when it comes to enterprise-level businesses. It reduces costs and allows companies to save space when it comes to resources such as data storage, servers, applications, etc.

In addition, cloud solutions help streamline operations within departments. Since everything is off-site, it improves data security, allows for easier backups, and recovery while allowing businesses to focus on their core competencies.

The trend is expected to transform the approach to web development and strengthen the entire web architecture.

Hand holding a board and a sign for cloud above it

Wrapping up

As we can see, speed and user-friendliness are the words to go by when it comes to web development trends for 2021 and beyond. Many of these technologies are particularly focused on optimizing the user experience on mobile devices. Honorable mentions include Dark UI, IoT, and the resurgence of FPGAs.

Future trends will probably deal with optimizing UX on smart wearables and IoT. Staying on top of new developments is always worthwhile, and most of the trends will continue being relevant or will become the norm in a short while. Implementing them as soon as possible allows you to get a head start and make the most out of developing technologies.