My monkey-sense is telling me…

I’m getting serious 97th monkey vibes. (Read “this”:/about if you have no idea what I mean). It’s prediction time:

I think 2006 is going to be the year that standards based designers take a quantum leap forward and embrace the third and fourth presentation layers. As a group, we’ve become very comfortable with structure and presentation. I sense a growing movement towards manipulating data (the third layer) and adding interactivity through manipulating the DOM (the fourth layer).

Till now, this has been the purview of developers. But designers have been growing increasingly savvy in their use of css, and are ready to make the leap to conditionals, variables, and loops.

My strength is being relatively typical – meaning what’s important to me is _usually_ important to my peer group. In this case, I’ve been devouring books on php, the DOM, and Ruby on Rails. The freedom this new knowledge has brought to my designs is incredibly refreshing. I know I’m not alone in this. I’m not the first to jump aboard this good ship. My position as the 97th monkey suggests that a whole bunch of designers are about to make this leap.

I expect that the first half of 2006 will see a rebirth of the tutorials that ruled our little web design community 12 months or so ago. I expect that we’ll see some stretching of current UI conventions as we stretch our fledgling wings and push back against the limits of xhtml/css. I expect there will be lots of misuse of our new knowledge. But I think we all learned from our flash obsession, and will be quick to pull back from excess (once the new-toy smell has faded).

Should developers be concerned? Nope. I think we’ll actually increase their business (and not just by fixing our mistakes!). The more we learn to do, the more we want to do, and the more we butt up against the limits of our time and abilities. Our knowledge will be mostly limited to a better understanding of what *can* be done, and a greater respect for what developers do. Think of it like this: having raced road bikes, I have a better appreciation for just how good Lance Armstrong is than had I never ridden a 2 wheeler. Same thing with code.

What do you think? What is your monkey sense telling you?