Pretty much everyone wants to be cutting edge. This is as true of life in general and style in particular; and it is especially true of professional web development. Naturally, not everyone can anticipate trends before they happen, but the minimum standard for your web design company should entail staying on top of emerging trends and making sure that client sites look like they truly belong in the modern landscape of the web.

This isn’t just a matter of keeping up appearances. By keeping up to date on familiar practices among other web development professionals, your own web design company can provide you with a distinct competitive advantage. Certainly, visitors to ecommerce sites follow some of the same patterns as consumers at brick-and-mortar stores, including the practice of shopping with their eyes. But more than that, the overall standards of the marketplace set them up with certain expectations whether they’re shopping for a product or service, online or off.

Responsive Web Design

As far as web development goes, the leading example of major changes to user interface is the rise of responsive web design. As smartphones and tablets began to consume a larger and larger portion of the click-through rate, it became more and more important for web marketers and web development professionals to cater to the associated demands.

By now, you’re almost certainly familiar with responsive web design, having at some point visited the same site on different sorts of devices. You’ve surely seen how web developers have customized display and interface for the differences presented by computers and smartphones. And you’ve probably also experienced the frustration of visiting a site that has failed to adopt this practice.

Any web development professional who has not pushed responsive design for his clients at this point is well behind the times. But think for a moment about sites whose web development companies anticipated the rise of this trend and adopted it before it became the order of the day. Those sites almost certainly retained traffic that would have otherwise clicked away because the design had not matched the device.

What’s Next?

So what other changes will impact the web development industry in the way that responsive web design has done? Of course it’s difficult to say. To make a definitive prediction, especially for something well in the future, one would have to predict the future. But it goes without saying that there are changes on the way for web development companies, and that those who stay on top of them or even correctly anticipate them will have a competitive advantage over others.

It’s not always necessary to innovate and make anticipatory adjustments to your web development process. But it is crucially important that web design companies and their clients both monitor the broader internet and constantly check to make sure that their own sites are up to snuff. And it is similarly important to keep an eye on changes in the surrounding culture, in hopes of identifying the next smartphone-like disruption.

It’s not necessary to be ahead of absolutely everyone else in the web development industry. But if you see an opportunity to innovate effectively and you don’t exploit it, you are giving away a tremendous competitive advantage.