That Was Then, This Is Now: Taking Stock of 2016 & Looking Ahead To 2017


Well folks, we did it. We survived 2016 — not without a few scratches, mind — and have nothing left to do but sit back and look back on the year that was.

And before you run for the hills at the thought of looking back on the past, almost surreal year that was, we should note that our nostalgic reflections are limited to the tech/design/digital startup industries. We couldn’t bear to make ourselves look back on the rest of it, let alone force it on our readers.

The end of a year isn’t just a good time to take stock of what happened over the past 365 days, but to look ahead to the next 365 days and prepare ourselves for the changes they will bring.

No matter how you felt about 2016, time marches forward. Grab your bonbons and your bourbons (metaphorically speaking, of course) and join us as we take a look at what was and what we think will be.

The Year That Was — A Look Back At 2016

“The componentization of applications and having a ‘sane’ way of managing state between components has been a real shift — and a real benefit to our teams. React, Redux, the rise of unidirectional data flow in front-end applications are all pieces of that bigger trend in development. Better thought-through ways for building front-end web applications was a big change in 2016.” —Andre Molnar, Associate Director, Technology

“I think this year was more colourful than ever, with a bold influx of bright, pastel colours and lots of deep shadows. I think what’s happening here is that Material design is being morphed to bring the sorely needed life back into a sea of monotone and horizontally banded pages and apps that we’ve been seeing the past while.” — Andrew Semuschak, Practice Lead, Visual Design

“We’ve seen a lot of Single Pane of Glass growth in 2016. Because we work in the enterprise space our clients are starting to see the advantages of having a unified dashboard and/or data centre for streamlining their tools and services. We’ve had a number of projects that either touched on or were centred around the idea of a SPOG offering and it’s only going to grow, I think, as companies start to reap the rewards around efficiency and customer service.” — Yashar Rassoulli, Technical Director

“We had more ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ work with clients last year and one of the key changes I saw was in the way we presented and kicked off ideas with them. There was a greater use of both speed & visualization as a way of starting conversations that helped to build good-will and trust right out of the gates. Taking an active investment in their outcomes and results helped ensure we were working together as partners to finding the solution that works best for their needs.” — Nathalie Crosbie, Associate Director of Design


The Year That Will Be — A Look Ahead To 2017

“Obviously everybody has been hot on AI, VR/AR, and machine learning, and there will be growing use and adoption of all those things, but I think in 2017 it’s the impact of all these technologies more than the tech themselves. We’ll see the first batch of consumer accessible interfaces and products for a lot of these technologies. The barrier to entry is coming down and it’s starting to mean more to the average person.” — Andre Molnar, Associate Director, Technology

“I’m predict a continuing trend that focuses more on taking something that already exists and repurposing it as something new. Looking at the resurgence of ‘retro’ 8-bit games for smartphones, design styles and the release of Nintendo Classic, it’s easy to see we’re all in need of a step back and good dose of nostalgia.” — Andrew Semuschak, Practice Lead, Visual Design

“It’s taken almost all of 2016 for us to start seeing the power of Drupal 8 to integrate modern web technologies. This trend is going to continue picking up momentum in 2017 with more exciting major integrations, pushing Drupal further away from being an old-school content management system and towards being a framework for content distribution. Composer, Magento, Hyrbis — we’re just getting started over here! To quote a wise man: ‘This isn’t even my final form! Wait until you see my true power!’” — Erin Marchak, Drupal Practice Lead

“Cognitive computing is obviously on everyone’s minds these days. It’s one of the biggest topics in the industry and we’re going to see a lot of growth and new fields emerge because of the changes machine learning is going to bring.” — Yashar Rassoulli, Technical Director

“I believe a lot of what I saw and observed in 2016 will be continued and pushed ahead in 2017. Less planning and knowing every detail in advance and more jumping in and doing, trusting in the strength of our teams and our partnerships with clients. I like to think of it as the ‘dark road’ analogy: trusting that the road continues in front of you, even though you can’t see it, because if you waited til things became clear you wouldn’t move.” — Nathalie Crosbie, Associate Director of Design

“2017 is going to be a continuation and proliferation of all those hot topics we’ve been hearing about: IoT, AI & bots, VR/AR, wearables… But they won’t just be hot topics. They’ll start to become commonplace and a part of our everyday lives. We’ll see more of the “new UI” — motion UI, voice control, and haptic will play increasingly bigger roles. And we’ll really start to see how everything will be personalized and delivered. Content is going to be tailored like never before.” — Benjamin Woll, Associate Director, Client Services

“I do believe our customers will begin getting more sophisticated with personalization. Vendors like Adobe, Optimizely and Acquia Lift have products that are increasingly mature, and customers who are getting into a routine of A/B testing are seeing personalization as the next progression. I also believe that our customers are finally ready for conversational UI, something that could become increasingly important as we design experiences that span across many devices.” — Jason Cottrell, Founder & CEO

What did you think of 2016? What major trends emerged for you in your work? And what do you expect to see way more of in 2017? Let us know in the comments and be sure to share this article.

Written by

Leigh Bryant

Leigh Bryant

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