As web professionals we’re used to hearing about the virtues of shipping fast and iterating regularly in order to meet changing needs, but how do we ensure that the projects that we’re planning now are still as relevant and robust when they launch in the future... and beyond? How do we prepare for the unknowns and constant shifts in technology; what can we do to progress the evolution of the web itself; how do we, as individuals, ensure that our skills are as relevant as ever in this rapidly changing world?
In this talk we’ll look at why the future is important, plus past visions of the future, including those from the world of science fiction. We'll explore what we can learn from these lessons, and how to apply this in a practical sense to the work that we do.
Disruption will only accelerate
Our existing standards, workflows and
infrastructure won’t hold up
Proprietary solutions will dominate at first
The standards process will be painfully slow.
Acknowledge and embrace
Think and behave in a future-friendly way.
Help others do the same.
“Short of figuring out real teleportation,
which would of course be awesome
(someone please do this), the only option
for super fast travel is to build a tube over
or under the ground that contains a special
This is where things get tricky.”
“We’ve seen repeatedly that if an interface
works for an audience, there’s something there
that will work for users.
Finding what that thing is and using it for
inspiration in our own work is part of how we can
use these speculative interfaces.”
Make It So (scifiinterfaces.com)
1. Better consider our users’ changing needs.
2. Identify opportunities.
3. Aid prioritisation.
4. Deﬁne what something is and what it will be.
5. More robust decisions - understand limitations and beneﬁts of
6. React quickly/better to change by embracing evolution.
7. Make more exciting things and shape the future of the web!
User interfaces & interactions
Digital platform components (CMS, etc)
‘Non-digital’ systems (accountancy, etc)
Hosting environment & languages
Third party integrations
Different elements have different
Choose technologies and
architect your developments
with half-lives in mind
Separate concerns, loosely couple
Think in patterns, not pages
“Zero UI is … taking us away from screens to a
more natural way of interacting with things”
A practical approach
to the future
Separate content from
display to better cater
for new outputs (visual
Where screens are involved, remember
to think from very small to very large
Create a backlog
roadmap & make
Balance problems now
& of the future
Consider future usage
Learn from the past
Create a set of high
level principles for
Stories and design
“A good science fiction story should be able to
predict not the automobile but the traffic jam”
Track & manage
Think atomically, and
with patterns, not
Allocate time to
improve the past and
Lifespan of project
(not heavily, but
ensure the past is
captured for future
Prototype & test
change as a
Leave space for the
Draw a line - what do
you support? Why?
Measure, & use
from the world
(watch more sci-
Accept change. It doesn’t mean you failed
Work to educate others,
Fix problems that you can see, and those that might be
Provide support (bleeding edge technology
users often have it rough)
“Don’t plan for the future because there is no
future - just now and a series of next nows.”
My slides are mainly blue because according to Make It So, blue is
‘futuristic’ - it’s the most prevalent colour in sci-fi interfaces!