Take React Native, for instance. React Native recently generated substantial discussion on Twitter about whether it is truly seeing the levels of adoption that suggest its primacy over foregoing traditional approaches to native application development. Though it is impossible to ascertain React Native’s penetration without clear data, React Native is indisputably one of the most popular ways to build native mobile and desktop applications. Electron, too, has gained considerable clout due to its favorable developer experience for desktop applications.
Consider that in the early days of native application development, the only way a CMS architect could preview unpublished content in such applications would be through a heavy-duty emulator or by downloading a compiled APK or IPA file to their cell phone.
Though I’ve written extensively about voice interfaces in terms of information architecture, design, content strategy, usability testing, my work on Ask GeorgiaGov, affordance and wayfinding, and voice interface writing, I have purposefully avoided much discussion of the technologies underpinning voice interface design today. This is because the range of ways in which we implement voice interfaces has seen a wholesale revolution in the years since the launch of wildly popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
In the not-too-distant past, voice interfaces leveraging speech recognition and speech synthesis were driven by proprietary technology, challenging hardware implementations, and automatic speech recognition (ASR) technologies that may or may not have been open-sourced. Compare this situation to today, where browsers now natively have speech recognition and speech synthesis APIs that have led to an explosion of voice-enabled web interfaces like the voice-enabled search interface I directed for Nestlé Purina.
React Native and Electron are just the beginning of web development’s slow but steady infiltration into non-web experiences. But in reality, it is merely representative of the fact that many of these non-web experiences are tapping into the fact that the web remains the most robust way to build digital experiences. Why not extend what the web offers to new environments such as digital signage, even if they are merely web application-powered digital signs?