Two weeks ago I travelled to Cardiff to take part in “The Web Is…”, A Conference celebrating 25 years of the world wide web. There were over a dozen speakers talking about what the web is today and more interestingly, where it is going in the future. My biggest take away from the conference is “The Web is for for everyone”. It actually became a bit of a meme from the conference; it felt like every second speaker had the iconic picture from the opening ceremony from the Olympic games in London.
The concept of context aware design is not a new one. We already alter our designs today based on the context in which our users will see them. For example, we may make a responsive site so that users visiting from smartphones or tablets get a better experience on their device. Perhaps we have print stylesheets so that if the user prints a page they get a design that is tailored to that context. The concept is not new but the implementation is only in its infancy. So, what lies ahead in the future of context aware design?
When I was 12 years old I found myself standing on the top floor of a five story building in my school, peering down through the gap in the stairwell. I was trying to work out if the fall would be enough to kill me or if my bodies natural want to survive would kick in last minute and have me reach out and grab the handrail. I’d break a lot of bones but probably wouldn’t die and so I decided against it.