Wireless technology changes from year to year, and with people using their mobile devices more than ever before, it probably isn’t surprising people are gearing up for 5G wireless technology.
Fifth generation wireless technology will be much like 4th generation technology — it won’t work the same for everyone everywhere every time. However, it is quite different in other ways, including the use of unlicensed waves to deliver it versus carriers paying the government for these waves.
What it means for websites is people will use mobile wireless to access the Internet even more than before. Some of the benchmarks of 5G will be faster speeds, rivaling fiber optics — without the wires — lower latency and a better uniformity all around no matter where you are. It will take some time for 5G to be readily available. 2020 is the benchmark year carriers expect to offer it in most markets.
There are some real advantages to this fifth generation of wireless access. If you want to get your website ready for the 5G surfers who might land on your page soon, there are some specific things you need to consider.
Even though 5G will become available in bigger cities, the technology is still a work in progress. Cell phones also have to adapt with faster chips to handle the lightning fast capabilities. Carriers have to perfect the systems they’ll use to capture the higher speeds, and there may be bugs to work out as they go into various test markets.
So, while you want to understand and adapt to the new technology, you don’t want to cater exclusively to 5G just yet. Doing so will put any user who isn’t at those speeds yet at a disadvantage when visiting your website. For now, it’s best to stick with targeting those on typical mobile speeds but planning ahead for the day when those speeds will rub faster for all.
As more and more people get on 5G, however, things such as videos will stream much faster. Some experts estimate that the 5G wireless technology will be 10 to 100 times faster than what the typical cellular connection is now and perhaps even faster than running cable internet into your home with wired technology.
This is a good opportunity for web designers to go ahead and add high-performing videos that highlight a product or service. You can set videos not to play automatically to accommodate those at slower speeds, but adding video can be a powerful tool to reach consumers.
We live in a world where the ability to take our devices on the go has become more and more important. From smart glasses to smartphones, accessing a fast, reliable Internet has quickly become a must.
Even the ability to access real-time asset information helps companies grow by putting info in the hands of different areas of your organization, such as the accounting department or staying on top of your supply chain. This will create the ability for you to customize your website and inventory systems on the fly, even from a remote location.
Try to look forward into what the world will become with wireless, super-fast Internet. People will begin to interact with every part of their lives in different ways. Ambient devices, such as something inside your car, at the entry of your apartment or even walking through a store, will be readily available.
Start preparing now for how you can utilize devices between your website and say a brick and mortar store. Imagine one of your customers is stuck in a doctor’s office and your app pings the person and says here is a video to entertain you while you wait.
Because connectivity will become more reliable, no matter where you are located, you can include more ways for your users to share their experiences. Let’s say you sell tents. Your users can snap a photo and share a review from the top of a mountain or in the wilderness. How can you implement features that will allow your customers to interact and share how they use your products?
Figure out ways you will get your site visitors involved with the mission of your business. Run contests inviting them to share their favorite moments involving your brand. Ask for photos to share with the world. Make the experience personalized by engaging site visitors.
Because the speeds will be higher, think about ways you can make your website more interactive by developing virtual reality or augmented reality. This might mean the person can step into a scene and walk through a room decorated with your products. Perhaps they can upload a photo of their bedroom and try out a rug or a new lamp and see how it looks. Think about ways you can really immerse the user in the overall experience.
While you will add some additional capabilities over time, like most things the cell companies roll out, 5G won’t be perfected for a while. Keep in mind that many users will still experience issues with connectivity or slower speeds when the network is busy.
Some experts believe the systems in the US are not yet ready to handle this type of speed, causing issues and a bottleneck in the system as bugs are worked out. As with most things web design related, it’s still a smart idea to keep things as simple as possible while providing a positive experience for your customers. As access gets faster and more reliable, you can begin to experiment more and more with new ideas and features.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.