The internet of things continues to be one of the hottest trends in the technology world these days. The technology has impacted all facets of tech development and, of course, the way that websites are designed and developed.
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Web design and the internet of everything
There’s no denying the buzz about the internet of things, it is a notion that pretty much everything, from automobiles and refrigerators to industrial machines and environmental sensors to baby monitors and surveillance cameras can be equipped with circuitry, allowing them to connect to the internet, offering information continuously or on-demand. A lot of internet-connected devices are on the market already. In any case, each IoT device has to be accessed, managed, configured and manipulated at some point. Doing so requires a more familiar internet-connected device, like a smartphone or laptop. And this commonly means new web development and design techniques.
Design considerations for IoT interaction
A website design company should be aware and knowledgeable of the different considerations for design and IoT interactions. The following are some design considerations required to let users interact with IoT devices:
- Back end: To allow users to interact with IoT devices, a way of establishing communications among them should be established. Since each device has various commands, capabilities and data, it could transmit and receive exactly how to communicate device to device.
- User interface: A web-based UI for an IoT app should be clean, fast and intuitive. All the standard usability best practices would be brought to bear when it comes to designing the interface, which include meaningful feedback, good user assistance and logical flow. Keep in mind that many, if not most, usage instances involve mobile devices.
- Security and privacy: The downside of IoT is that it presents more opportunities for hackers. If one could unlock a web-connected front door, a hacker potentially could do the same and help himself to the contents of the home. Part of the privacy and security responsibility lies on the device designers, but a third-party web designer has to make security the main design consideration.
- Power management: A lot of IoT devices are battery-powered and wireless; excessive back-and-forth communications would prematurely drain the battery. Communications should be designed to minimize power usage.
- Speed: Unlike traditional websites, where requests go to a web server that sends back data, there’s another communications leg involved between an IoT device and web server. This possibly means more latency and the perception of slow response of users. Thus, design strategies for slow connections must be adopted.
- Testing considerations: Testing an IoT website is a bit more complicated than it is for a traditional site.
Many opportunities to make lives easier
The advent of the internet of things presents a lot of opportunities to build innovative, new and useful apps to make people’s lives easier. It is good to know that the IoT development landscape is improving, but the present ecosystem still is rampant with difficult-to-use and fragile devices, most of which come with disparate communication protocols and security flaws that prevent seamless integrations. Instead of squeezing embedded C to the web world, there are other web tools and technology that could be used.
Impact of IoT on web design
The growth of IoT already is beginning to exert influence on web design. The following are some considerations for businesses when building websites, as well as web-based user interfaces:
- Business sites should develop the growing sophisticated ability of responding to personalized data from web-enabled devices.
- With a business site, activities should interact more directly with IoT devices. For example, a surge in search queries or uptick in online purchases for a certain product could impact a machine’s activities immediately for both those companies that manufacture products and those that prepare them for distribution. A third-party vendor message on the availability of a new product could automatically and quickly lead to its promotion on the website.
- Flexible, clean user interfaces are imperative. Designing websites that look good on screens of various sizes is imperative. IoT has many demands of user interfaces and web design; people will not interact with various devices in the same manner. Rather, they will have different expectations for the information displayed on every device and how they could optimally engage with it. Intelligible icons and minimal text can make the most of small interfaces. There would also be an increase in the need for dashboards, which include apps that help people manage data from various devices.
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