What’s next for web design?
Which came first: the chicken or the egg; design, or functionality? It might not seem like it but the answer to the first part is way more obvious. For the second, I always opt for functionality. You may disagree but before you start yelling at me, hear me out and read on. If nothing else, you’ll find out why the egg came first.
A quick look back to the early days of the Internet.
Looking back at the visible part of the web design concept, the answer to What next? is quite simple. Just like fashion and architecture, the Internet is full of trends which repeat periodically, often using the same interchangeable components. That is just one side of the coin though.
Functionality and all the technical aspects, hidden under the thin layer of beautifully matched pixels, tell a completely different story. At the very beginning, we had just that functional part and the pixels, with the function usually being a few simple links and the pixels forming the text.
The evolution of the creative mindset.
It may sound like not much though it worked just fine. But for some, it wasn’t enough, so we started to incorporate more and more fancy features: images, rich colour palettes, sounds and of course videos. Suddenly, this created a new era. In a relatively short time, we were able to build websites which we weren’t able to dream of just a decade earlier. However, it might have been cool, but it was also very messy.
In a relatively short time, we were able to build websites which we weren’t able to dream of just a decade earlier.
A change was desperately needed. Yet again, we decided to use the same old trick which we used in architecture and paintings in the past. We started simplifying things. Today we firmly believe that less is more, and, because it works, I firmly believe this trend will continue.
What else can happen in web design?
Well, as a web developer all I can say is “it depends”, with your audiences’ priorities being the key dependency. If we don’t see any breakthroughs in the way we consume content, the changes will be minimal.
We can expect to see way more precision in targeting because of the very accurate data we can gather. And automation tools and the easily accessible AI engines will help craft dedicated and unique content for broader audiences than ever before.
By the way, I am fully aware of the very fine line between the potential and risks of AI. But because we can’t stop it, our only choice is to join in and embrace it. Only that way can we use it to do something positive.
Anyway, that’s a different conversation for another day.
Another problem which will need to be addressed is the ageing population. I think creators will put even more attention on websites’ accessibility for elderly people. And the same applies for disabled users.
In terms of the website usability and mobile friendliness, we are almost there. Changes in this area shouldn’t be significant. Thanks to Google and its SEO algorithms, which favour mobile devices, the majority of users have already changed their mindsets. Simply running a website which cannot be consumed on a mobile phone isn’t practically or economically wise.
Simply running a website which cannot be consumed on a mobile phone isn’t practically or economically wise.
Last but not least, Web 3.0. Will it eventually happen? If yes, it will be another important factor which will change the Internet again. However, I would not put money on this happening any time soon. For now, this technology seems to work against the commonly accepted environmental policies. It would be major cause of the energy consumption boost, if accepted and implemented worldwide.
There are many unknowns about the future of web design. But one known is that we will continue the simplification process exactly in the same way as we have done with the ways we use the Internet: we made it simple enough to put it into our pockets.
That change was inevitable because it was both practical and fashionable. With web design the situation is even more obvious. The simplicity can be environmentally friendly: by using less computing power, we reduce the requirement for electrical power.
The simplicity can be environmentally friendly: by using less computing power, we reduce the requirement for electrical power.
From our perspective, there is one more positive aspect that will come out of the continuing move to increased simplicity. It will strengthen and simplify websites’ messaging, and the communications required, which now looks a little bit lost.
Web design is getting simpler, making it more functional to the wider audience. That’s what makes me believe functionality is more important than design, apart from for a very select and narrow group of enthusiasts.
And when the day comes for you to alter the look and feel of your website, get in touch and we can discuss the best ways for you to do it.
Now you’ve made it… Dinosaurs laid eggs and were the ancestors of all living birds. That is why egg came first and not the chicken.
Senior Consultant, Head of Web, based in Geneva
Slawek’s content-driven approach is the perfect fit for Leidar’s “North Star” concept. And as head of web, Slawek is being involved in all Leidar’s digital communication projects.