It happened during a presentation to a client’s website approval committee. I was invited to explain details of a highly priced website proposal when one of the board’s member asked me: “How long will it take for this new website to become obsolete?”
He had a valid concern. Six years before they had invested on a website that had become outdated.
My answer did not give him much assurance. I could have been more focused on “I am going to close this deal now!” and could have said something like:
“This new website will have a long shelf life! It will be built with WordPress, which now holds 60% of the CMS market share and 25% of all websites in the world! Wordpress, the platform choice of The New Yorker, BBC America, Sony Music, BestBuy, Fortune and many more is here to stay and its web dominance is unstoppable! Your investment is safe!”
Instead I said:
“I ask this question to myself everyday. How long will websites last before they are replaced by the next thing?”
Coming from a Marketing background I always keep in the back of my mind Theodore Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia”. I am invariably aware that I am not in the business of building websites. What I build are the means for businesses to communicate and interact with their costumers in an effective and productive way.
Business have been communicating and interacting with customers before websites came into existence (1990’s) and will continue to do so after webpages go the same way as fax machines, dial-up modems, floppy disks and paying for long distance calls.
Websites have been managing to survive the shift from desktop to mobile usage (balance tipped in January 2014). The transitional and inadequate “Website Mobile Version” has been replaced with “Responsive Design” providing a better viewing and interaction experience across a wide range of devices and their screen sizes (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
So what is the next thing that will replace websites?
The next big thing might already be out there just waiting to catch on. It can happen as a consequence of a massively adopted device that will change the way we connect to communicate and interact.
This device could be the new version of Google Glass (quietly reintroduced to a more exclusive market in the summer of 2015). It could be Microsoft’s HoloLens or the product developed behind closed doors by MagicLeap.
It can happen relatively fast but not surprisingly because it will be that “thing” that most of us will buy, use and carry with us or wear all the time.