Looking back at the history of the web, we can locate four massive inflection points: search, mobile, apps and social.
Each of these brought about incredible shifts in the way people access information and live their digital lives.
Get ready to add a fifth to that list: cards.
The idea of a digital “card” is simple – a rectangular content container that is skimmable, informative, interactive and best of all, interchangeable.
Cards are more than just another web design trend.
Card UI is not just a new technological innovation. It is the building block for a new web.
![WIRED.com Card UI](/content/images/2015/03/card-ui-design-wired-magazine.jpg "caption="WIRED.com went with a card UI design for "flexibility and configurability.")
There are two distinct advantages cards allow for right away.
A modular back-end
With each section contained inside an individual atomic unit, there is ease of use in restructuring information. Need an update? New card. Need to move things around? Shuffle the deck.
Right now, many common examples of cards are just "clickouts" – that is, they're a glorified link, sending you to what could be a completely new destination. In the future, cards will be increasingly interactive, like Google's weather widget or Twitter's Acura configurer.
![Twitter Card lets Acura fans choose their model while remaining on the social network](/content/images/2015/03/acura-twitter-card-design.png "caption="Twitter is testing out new card formats such as this Acura ad that lets people customized their car without ever leaving the social network.)
![Wired Redesign](/content/images/2015/03/card-ui-wired.jpg "caption="WIRED.com just redesigned to )
Card-based designs create a new workflow for individuals who are pressed for time and want answers quick – basically every single one of us.
It used to be that when we Googled, we were lucky to get a few relevant websites to scan for our answer. Now, Google is bringing that answer to its search results page for us – usually parsed from whatever site tops the results page.
![Google Card UI on mobile](/content/images/2015/03/Cards-UI-Google-Native-Advertising.jpg"caption="Google recently updated its mobile search to used Card UI and bring the answer to your search forward)
This shift signals a major change in how we search, how we optimize for search, and how we communicate and how we design.
Time to build your deck.