Three predictions for 2012

Firstly, we’d like to wish all our customers, friends and colleagues a very happy and prosperous New Year.
At the the beginning of 2011, I made three predictions in another blog (My predictions for 2011). Here I reflect on them a year later and make new predctions for 2012.

‘People will start to recognise QR codes’

Well, there is still a long way to go before we can call them mainstream, but recognition has improved considerably. I have done my bit presenting at network meetings, exhibitions and businesses, and we’ve added some heavyweight customers (Scottish Enterprise, Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh Tourism Action Group) to our list as a result, but the real evidence is in the high street, magazines and newspapers.
At the turn of the year, you’d be lucky to see one in a magazine, and occasionally one in the high street.
Last week, I counted 42 QR codes in Stuff magazine. Yes, 42! And this is not the crazed obsession of one editor, a large proportion of them them were from advertisers.
But are they being recognised? Well the answer is yes. At a recent event in Edinburgh, where we spoke to a tourism audience, there was a waiting list after 45 people signed up to find out more.
And while it was true they didn’t all know how they build them into their business, they certainly recognised them enough to want to find out more.

‘Mobile web will become ubiquitous’

Smartphones are becoming commonplace amongst consumers and businesspeople
Smartphones are becoming commonplace amongst consumers and businesspeople

Smartphones are outselling PCs, mobile data tariffs are becoming more important than free minutes and touch-screen phones are the norm for today’s businessperson.
Mobile web is everywhere. But there is still much work to do. Mobile content is poor, mobile audiences are being neglected and misunderstood and Mobile devices are becoming increasingly more versatile.
If we look at the statistics, we will be accessing the web from a mobile device more often than from a desktop PC or laptop next year, so I think that’s pretty close to ubiquity.

‘Web developers would increasingly turn to WordPress as a CMS’

There are still a few luddites that claim WordPress is bloggers’ software, but that’s like saying Facebook is for kids.
WordPress, like Facebook, grew up a long time ago, and is now powering some world-class sites. In fact, it’s powering 14% of all websites in the world, and it is being used on 92% of those as a CMS (content management system).
This year, it has had two major upgrades that have sigificantly improved its functionality as a business system. I have no measurement as to how many developers are using it in comparison to last year, except that I would be happy to put money on it being more than this time last year.
So what do I predict for the coming year?

More mobile

Mobile web will become a serious concern for businesses of all sizes. Analytics will clearly start to show a drop-off in usability and conversions, and this will point to the increasing use of mobiles accessing non-mobile sites.
The focus will turn from an app culture to a website culture, with a particular emphasis on what is currently being called ‘responsive web design’ (because it responds to your device size) but will probably be called ‘one web’ by the end of the year, due to the fact that it is one website built for all devices.
Arguments will continue to rage in the web community about whether it’s the right approach and, for the record, Canary Dwarf actively supports the notion and will be advocating it in 2012, but will not be insisting that it is a panacea. We will approach each project individually and apply the solution that makes the most sense.

Social integration

I think we’re past the tipping point where businesspeople can get away with saying ‘social media, Pah!’ and sticking to their old-fashioned tools.
But with those who are late to the game struggling to catch up with those who are actually benefiting from it, it will be increasingly difficult for newcomers to get to grips with the ‘gap’ as more seasoned users move beyond engagement and communication into strategy and integrating it deeper into everything they do online.
And so rather than social media being treated as an add-on, it will start to become more a ‘part’ of your business than a new thing you’re getting to grips with.
Social media ‘experts’ will not telling you how to get more friends, and to tweet more, but how to measure the effect of your social activity and how to use it as part of your business strategy and how much it is costing you compared to how much it is making you, otherwise known as ‘return on investment’.


The cost of tablet ownership will come down in 2012

Tablets were scorned by many when they appeared in 2009. But the sales say otherwise.
The market has been interesting, but still dominated by Apple. This is all going to change this year with the advent of the Kindle Fire, a cut-price high-spec tablet that also has the one advantage Apple had over its competitors – easy access to content.
This will be good for tablets in general, and we will see them becoming part of business and home life more and more as the cost of tablet ownership comes down.
This will lead to more businesses seeking to make their content tablet-friendly, and will demonstrate that not only do these devices work significantly differently, and I mean emotionally, not technically, that businesses will become more focussed on content provision as a result.
What do you think will happen in 2012? Do you agree that mobile and social are important to your business? Is online activity becoming more important to you? What would happen to your business if the web went away? Tell us in the comments below, or share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter using the buttons below.

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