Fjord predicts digital trends in 2012

Expects work and play to merge, social boom, more wearable tech

Digital agency Fjord, designers of services and interfaces for the likes of Foursquare and Flickr apps and BBC iPlayer mobile, has revealed to .net its predictions for digital trends over the coming year. It believes the next 12 months will be a "tipping point for emerging trends that will define and pave the way for future digital innovation," and a number of these trends can be taken advantage of by web designers and developers.

The majority of trends Fjord is predicting in its report centre around major shifts in technology, revolving around service design, often driven by mobile and relevant changes in interfaces. Fjord notes smartphone ownership continues to grow, and that work and home-life is becoming intertwined as tools migrate to the office: "Users won't put up with interfaces that don't match the slick, pleasurable experiences of the stuff they use at home." Designers must therefore increasingly be at the top of their game when creating interfaces, regardless of the type of user the project is aimed at.

Fjord also expects some major leaps in terms of interaction from social and commerce standpoints. Increasing use of mobile will grow the significance of location and time, requiring app and web developers to be mindful of related technologies, and providing opportunities for new services. "This could alter the power balance between Facebook and Google and enable mobile first solutions to leap into contention," thinks Fjord. Mobile will also lead to an explosion of 'connected wearables' and demands for interfaces that "take advantage of the growing concept of 'glanceability'". The report adds that this is "fertile ground for start-ups, as functionality needs to be iterated, and incumbents are likely to be stuck in their old business ways".

Further predictions include a "remote revolution" in the living room, with the television working in tandem with remote apps on smartphones, retailers adopting new payment tactics, and cutting-edge input methods becoming more prevalent: "As voice and gestural input emerge to perform more functions, we'll see new ideas for services and business models emerge going far beyond touch."

You can follow Fjord on Twitter. The full report will be published online on January 3.