Advanced Web Tech To Enhance Your Visitor's User Experience
The World Wide Web has come a long, long way from its days as a DARPA research project, then to its use an academic research tool, to being the transformational force we know it as today. Thanks to the Internet, and all the documents stored on it, we've reached a point in human history where we have created and stored more pieces of information than at any other time in human history.
This information can then be shared in the blink of an eye. The struggle these days is on how to make your site rise above the hundreds of millions of other websites out there, and have people take notice of it. Fortunately there are several existing, and emerging, web technologies which can help you create the kind of user experience you've always wanted your visitors to have.
This was the first real revolution in how websites were coded. For the longest time there was no way to make the text, navigation or images on a website any more attractive than they already were. HTML was reliable, and easy to learn, but ultimately made for very boring websites, even if you'd mastered using frames or server-side includes. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) gave web developers the kind of creative muscle they needed to build websites which looked exactly how they wanted them to look, and most developers have never looked back since.
What we love about CSS is that if you've taken the time to learn HTML you'll have no problem at all learning CSS, and you're going to love the results you can achieve with it. Another thing to love about CSS is that it's constantly evolving, providing you with new and exciting design capabilities.
The vast majority of images you'll find online today are pixel-based, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as you're dealing with relatively small image sizes. Pixel-based image technology starts to suffer from serious problems once you're working with very large resolutions, because you suddenly wind up with images which are unfeasibly large or are quite heavily pixelated. The solution to this is something called scalable vector graphics, because they're based on geometric constants rather than just a large number of pixels. Even better is that because the SVG file format has properties which care stored in XML files, you can use scripting to manipulate how an SVG image looks, and even how it behaves. The only real downside to using scalable vector graphics is that you'll need a modern web browser, and computer, to get the most from them.
If you've been wondering how some online games manage to generate incredible 3D graphics using just a web browser then you have WebGL to thank for that. Browser-based games were previously limited to being poor knock-offs of old arcade games for a very long time, but thanks to the WebGL API your web browser is now capable of creating 2D and 3D graphics which would have been cutting edge on most consoles and computers just a few short years ago. As a development tool the WebGL API is going to take time to learn, but the results are more than worth it, plus there are plenty of Open Source libraries for you to rely on i.e. cutting down your development time.
This is another API which you'll find very interesting if you're going to be working extensively with images, or other media, online. The API itself allows you to draw and fill in shapes, render text, and literally work with a blank media canvas in almost any way you want to. 2D Canvas gives you precise control over everything you do, although this digital canvas is just like a real canvas in that if you "paint" it with a given color you can't undo that very easily. This API is supported by the Big 5 web browsers, so compatibility shouldn't be something you need to worry about.
Being a web designer can be incredibly frustrating at times for a number of reasons, but when you see the current advances in web-based technologies it's difficult not to feel just a little bit excited to see things happening which were considered impossible no more than a decade ago. These new technologies also allow you to create an entirely new approach to UX on your sites, ensuring a great experience for them, and an exciting learning curve for you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey all! I’m Alice, I’m a copywriter who is passionate about all things related to web design. Check out my G+ page