Umbraco shares factors shaping online experiences in 2024

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Open-source content management system (CMS) company, Umbraco, has shared its predictions on the key trends that will affect web content creation and digital experience design in the next twelve months.

The Umbraco CMS has been used to develop more than a million websites during the past two decades. Umbraco is now the largest open-source .Net CMS in the world, supported by more than 250,000 software contributors, and implemented by 1,500 digital agency partners.

After speaking to digital agency partners and open-source community members, Umbraco has identified that generative AI, sustainable web design, security compliance, and measurable return on investment (ROI), are the major trends that will shape the CMS industry and online user experiences this year. In addition, nurturing trust with customers will become an imperative for brands.

G2’s State of Software Report, Q4 2023, revealed that AI saw 39 percent growth, the highest level across all 26 high-level software markets. Umbraco anticipates that website developers will apply generative AI for data analysis in the backend, and content creation and dialogue automation in the frontend of company websites, speeding time-to-value and providing more convenient and personalised experiences for users.

Commenting on the impact of generative AI on the CMS market, Umbraco CEO, Kim Sneum-Madsen observes, “Generative AI, applied within CMS platforms, will be used to automate content creation and deliver relevant recommendations, based on previous online activity. This will enable organisations to provide personalised digital experiences at scale. In addition, predictive analytics, powered by AI, will unlock insights into future user requirements and guide proactive digital content strategies.”

Acknowledging the environmental impact of digital service expansion, Umbraco foresees sustainable web design practices becoming more commonplace, as the major cloud service providers upgrade their own technologies and work towards net zero.

Kim Sneum-Madsen comments, “In the past year we’ve seen more companies asking our digital agency partners to support their efforts to reduce environmental impact when designing new digital experiences. This has led to the development of carbon-conscious design practices. By sharing their experiences and best practices with the wider community, these pioneers will help to make sustainable digital design much more widespread in the coming year.”

Increasingly sophisticated cyber threats are driving the introduction of enhanced security and privacy features within CMS platforms, including enforced multifactor authentication and robust encryption protocols, to comply with international data protection regulations. G2’s State of Software Report, Q4 2023, revealed that website security software saw 34 percent growth year-over-year.

Kim Sneum-Madsen says, “Security should always be at the forefront of software development and maintenance. As we conduct more of our lives online, safeguarding our digital spaces is becoming more crucial than ever.”

In response to static, or reduced CIO and CMO budgets, marketing software license fees are coming under closer scrutiny. CMS platforms are being evaluated on their ability to support digital marketing efforts and deliver timely ROI. Umbraco predicts an even greater focus on the time-to-value delivered by CMS and digital experience platforms in 2024.

Kim Sneum-Madsen comments, “We have seen from the MemberWise report, and our own digital agency survey conducted with Danebury Research, that organisations are paying closer attention to the value delivered by their CMS. Companies are assessing time-to-value of licensing to ensure that they’re getting the most from investments, then selecting and integrating specific tools to optimise engagement, enhance experiences, and make transactions smoother. This will drive growth for technologies that integrate seamlessly and extend CMS functionality to deliver rapid ROI.”

Umbraco has also identified an increased need to nurture customers’ trust for digital success. Kim Sneum-Madsen says, “As we have seen with the sustainable web design briefs being presented to our digital agency partners, CMS evaluation will not solely be based on the ease, efficiency and ROI of creating and managing content, but about providing personal interactions with product experts, establishing trust, and working in partnership to solve problems and harness opportunities together.”