Firefox set a good model for the rest of the open source world when it infused simple, clean design into a very useful tool. Seems to me that this trend is tantamount to what is coming up next in the world of technology and online living. Of course, you can’t really have one or the other, but the core differentiator that will set one app above the rest or result in widespread adoption will be rooted in user experience, not in the number of features or power.
So, I hate making predictions, but I think I can make a few observations about how design might well change the software/webapp landscape in the not-too-distant future:
- Digg is outpacing Slashdot: everyone’s spreading the meme it seems; boy oh boy, ugly never hurt so bad
- SourceForge will die from a thousand cuts (and it’s about time — no, 8′ tall ads and shiny will not save you from yourself)
- Flickr and Bubbleshare will continue to gain over Ofoto (Kodak EasyShare Gallery), Smugmug: it’s the social, stupid!
- Facebook and MySpace destroy the future of Friendster, et al: sorry, but they have their audience nailed
- WordPress will continue its meteoric rise over more complicated (and ugly! (sorry, Drupal!)) apps like Drupal and Joomla
- Ubuntu will outstrip RedHat on the personal desktop: Linux for Human Beings, sounds like a good place to start, doesn’t it?
But these are just my humble observations, and given that I’m no analyst, are subject to change, revision, contradiction and further extrapolation.