Journal

The year we harnessed the web

The bursting of the DotCom Bubble. The Global Financial Crisis. The Covid Crash. It’s astounding how entwined and cyclical our lives and the economy are. The fatigue and strain of not-knowing what lies ahead plays on us all, but with everything 2020 throws, watching our clients and friends adapt online is fascinating.

A screengrab of Pooka Director Paul Galinsky in a Google Meet conversation
Pooka & Co’s Paul Galinsky on a Google Meet conversation. Now a familiar sight to many Pooka & Co clients.

The biggest technical change is obvious. The world now commutes on the information super-highway almost as often as on the physical not-so-super-highway. This is great for personal autonomy and the environment. In better times it would be wonderful for mental health too.

For years, Web Developers have worked remotely by choice. Often as digital nomads, occasionally as hermits. It’s fantastic for concentration and time-management, but as an industry we’ve learned that separation is best when balanced with physical contact. Time spent with colleagues and clients inevitably leads to stronger personal relationships and clearer communication. It also helps keep us sane.

A screengrab of an online exhibition on connectedness
A History of Connectedness. An apt title for an online exhibition by our clients at Skrei.

We’ve had a busy year at Pooka. We took on an avalanche of new client work at the beginning of 2020, both for our own new website builds, and support contracts on WordPress sites built by other developers. We felt a small lull as lockdown first struck, which frankly wasn’t unwelcome as we adjusted our own lives to lockdown. But today we’re receiving a consistent run of new build enquires and a noticeable upturn in workload from our long-term clients.

The analogy that a website is the new shop-window has become truer than ever. In many cases, a website has now become the whole shop, service-provision and back-office. So it needs to work brilliantly, look fantastic, and be reliable.

As organisational leaders sense this shifting of business focus online, they’re increasingly looking at site modernisation and functionality improvements. Redesigns and rebrands that have been on hold are now being actioned, and some businesses are actively pivoting their offerings to focus on this brave new world that we’re all facing.

Screengrabs of the Our Town Stories website on a tablet and phone
Our Town Stories is a wonderful example of a modern responsive website harnessing the Google Maps API. We rebuilt this fascinating website for Edinburgh Council & Edinburgh Libraries in 2020.

Nobody truly knows what will happen in the physical world, so it’s never been more vital to place your own online presence above the competition, or to make clear the value that your organisation offers the world.

2020 certainly isn’t the year that anyone expected or wanted, but it’s absolutely a year that people have begun harnessing the web more deeply than before.

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