Internet trends over the last year are subject to debate and the perspective you take will always influence how you see things. Someone with limited Internet access will be more conscious of the fact that e-mail is becoming less cryptic, while those who use it for academic purposes will notice that more information is becoming available online - with literally billions of pages accessible.
From the perspective of a multimedia and web design company, there are subtle changes in this environment that have made us sit up and take notice. Faster access = more people online
According to www.internetworldstats.com
, Africa as a whole has seen a 429.8% growth in usage over the last five years and high speed internet access through ADSL lines seems set to make this figure rise dramatically in areas where infrastructure is being developed. Although Africa as a whole represents only 2.5% of the world average, the rate of growth is higher than all other areas of the world, with almost 24 million people online in Africa. More people want web sites
With Internet access becoming more readily available in SA, more people are seeing the benefits of being represented online. In terms of a South African perspective, people have moved away from developing a business web site and are developing personal sites where family can access images and news. Churches are also making themselves known online, as well as schools and even once-off web sites for events.Web site costs
The perception in the marketplace, however, is that web sites are still too expensive. This has been a prevalent trend in the last five years - however, people are still willing to pay the same amount on once-off advertising as opposed to investing that amount into an ongoing and fully-updateable web site. The core problem is that cheaper web sites, which look promising, end up costing more in the long run. More Flash web sites
With access becoming faster, more innovative design layouts and programs are being used in SA. Although the design programmes and the skills have been around since the inception of the Internet, with the slow connection speeds, it has not been a viable solution and was only used for advertising and marketing clients who could afford the slow download speed in order to showcase their innovativeness online. The new Macromedia 8 will also allow for interesting developments such as video streaming (www.macromedia.com
). Wireless connectivity
Wireless access to the Internet has become one of the businessman's vital tools - accessing information and email from anywhere at anytime - business never sleeps.