Ascentum recently welcomed Miriam Goldman, who joined our tech team as Software Developer and Web Publisher. Miriam is a graduate of the Web Development program at CDI College in Ottawa. Before joining Ascentum in May, she worked for four years as a web developer and editor in the federal government, specializing in coding HTML pages and Web 2.0 tools. I got a chance to sit down with Miriam to ask her some questions about her past and where she sees things moving into the future.
1. You’ve obviously been a witness to a massive evolution, having ridden the shifting tide of web development for the past seven years. What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned with keeping ahead of the game?
I would say the most important lesson I’ve learned is to not discount anything, and to keep an open mind. While there might be a trend that seems ridiculous at first, it could very well catch on with the general public.
2. How do you think the current platform of web standards are evolving? Can you distinguish a theme developing in terms of what’s popular?
It’s definitely moving more towards an emphasis on accessibility for mobile and tablet devices. And I can definitely see an incorporation of social media.
3. What do you think websites will look like five years from now? What would make them better and why?
Graphically, they will probably be similar to today. I’ve been seeing a trend to keeping things “sleek and simple”, which is definitely an advantage to the user. In terms of the “back-end”, the building blocks, per say, there will definitely be full integration of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. As to what would make them better – simplicity and a focus on user experience.
4. As you know, at Ascentum we employ a wide range of online tools to help people engage; from idea forums to Choicebooks. With this in mind, what aspect do you think takes more priority in the development of a website that aims to engage? Look and feel or accessibility? And why?
They are both equally important in my mind. You need a good look and feel to capture the initial audience – people will not click through a site that looks ugly. Conversely, once you have your audience, you need to focus on accessibility, to reach as many people as you can. For example, if you do not choose your color scheme properly, those who are colour-blind would not be able to navigate, and thus would not participate in the online engagement process.
5. At this point, there are more mobile users than desktop users. In what ways do you think we can accommodate mobile users and focus on mobile interface when developing an idea forum or Choicebook for an engagement project?
It comes down to simplicity and navigability. In developing a mobile theme for online tools, it’s important to reduce, and even eliminate, clutter. If you provide a clean experience, making it clear what to click, and where to navigate to, you’ll capture that audience well.
6. In an article about the future of web design, I read, ‘long gone are the early days of monolithic, cumbersome websites, which are quickly being replaced by simple but beautifully and thoughtfully designed user experiences.” I can’t help but wonder, with this new “simple, slick and clean” renovation of websites, how will communication between people change? Will our language also become quick, clean, and precise? Will in-depth ideas suddenly be limited by 140 characters? Will this inhibit true dialogue?
I can definitely see the trend towards clean and precise language. But I don’t think it is limiting. While avenues such as Twitter are great to express initial thoughts, places such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ascentum’s engagement tools, even email still exist to dive more in-depth. I don’t believe true dialogue will be inhibited – I think it will become more focused and precise. Perhaps ideas will become clearer with this evolution.
-Holly Clark –