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Who could have possibly foreseen the changes the online scene has undergone over the last few years? The Internet has become a sort of unpredictable force that is constantly changing and improving the user experience and the capabilities of online features. The new year will undoubtedly usher in a new landscape for the world of web, and we here at Lifeblue have put forth our hopes and expectations for the next chapter of the online evolution.

LB's Digital Alchemist, Cristal Givens, believes that 2012 holds an increased use of augmented reality features. This means more apps incorporating socially populated data to create more relevant and useful mobile and web experiences for users. We've already seen the beginning stages of this phenomenon, so Cristal just may be right.

Piggybacking off another budding aspect of the Internet, LB's Marketing MacGyver, Cindy Jones, expects to see continuing growth in web experiences like those created by the site Pinterest. 'I think they are just on the beginning of an amazing journey to engage consumers in a way that will demand the attention of brands. The Pinterest model delivers a great way for brands to better understand the behaviors and motivations of their consumers, and I think it is just a matter of time before this social media engagement platform explodes.' Cindy could be on the right track, especially considering recent statistics on this site's popularity and growth.

Cindy has also taken note of other trends that have yet to really take off, but hold great potential in further connecting people globally and making lives easier'features like mobile payments and an increase in mobile web strategy to complement the ever-changing capabilities of our smartphones. These kinds of advancements will demand an evolution in the usability and interface of smartphones as well as online.

Increased connection will also further affect our idea of globalization. No longer does time or distance serve as barriers in our ability to communicate. 'The web, along with social and digital technology, will have infinite possibilities in the way we build engagement platforms on a global stage and connect brands to consumers on a larger landscape,' Cindy says.

LB's Backboard, Russel Dubree, doesn't foresee any huge advances in technology over the next year, as he believes that we have already seen a plateau in mobile and gaming enhancements. He does, however, predict an even more seamless integration of the web into our entertainment lives in 2012.

'Basically combining TV, Internet/web, gaming, movie streaming and mobile into one cloud-like platform that can be accessed from anywhere. I know it exists with a significant investment or technology installation, but essentially I'd like to see the advancements that would make this capability more accessible to the masses.'

LB's Codebase Wrangler, Derek Odell, also focuses on entertainment trends and predicts that 2012 will be the year of 3D web, as this technology has swept to televisions after making a big comeback on movie screens. Jonathan Pacheco, LB's own Front-end Auteur, views the web from the aspect of censorship, predicting that 2012 will bring in an increased level of censorship and protection; however, he also believes that by 2013, we will all be accepting of this fact.

Ben Tautfest, as LB's Design Savant, focuses his thoughts of the future more on the visual presentation of the web. 'From a visual design perspective, I think we will continue to see the use of lots of subtle textures, minimalist design will rule the school, and I also see a big movement towards modern vintage aesthetics as well.'

Ben also foresees typography design to continue to improve and take cues from traditional print, with more varied and sophisticated typeface choices, better use of space and cleaner blocks of copy. He also predicts the use of space in general layouts to become increasingly important in directing attention as the need to call attention quickly and clearly will expand. Ben believes animation will also play a bigger role in interactive design as well. 'One more thing as a "wish" for what I'd like to see possible on the web is layer blending modes via CSS. It's not going to happen in 2012... but a guy can wish.'

Amongst all of our expectations, predictions and wishes, it will be interesting to see what of our proposed advancements will actually be realized during the next year. What will be even more exciting to see will be those that we haven't even fathomed? But regardless of our guesses about the future, one thing is for sure'the web will continue to evolve and enhance its capabilities. We intend on being ready. Are you?

Written by LB Wordsmith, Savannah Harper

Photo courtesy of WST WebSuccessTeam