Web design has come a long way from generic templates, scrolling marquee, and a reliance on Flash. When you think about it, web design has changed A LOT, just in the past 5 years. Let’s take a look at some elements that probably weren’t even on the horizon half a decade ago:
Do you remember the screen size of your first smart phone? If you thought it was awesome then, look at the options today. Nowadays, the biggest smart phone screen size in the market us upwards of 7 inches! And computer screens are getting bigger too. Take a look at this comparison of monitor sizes from 1999 to 2012. We’ve gone from small to big and are heading towards huge. For web design, this means that there is more crucial space to play with and fill with important, relevant information. The area above the fold is increasing greatly.
Of course, bigger and different screen sizes calls for responsive design. As this is fast becoming the industry standard, it was unheard of years ago, when it was just the standard to have a desktop and separate mobile version of your website. Responsive sites helps design work with SEO and improve user experience across all mobile devices.
Gone are the days where you just put up a design and hope and guess that it will do ok. There are many user testing and heat map programs that can tell you what people think of specific elements of your website. Although these are just opinions of specific people, you can use the feedback to improve your design. Yes, maybe that phone number does need to be bigger and predominantly displayed because people can’t find it. No, maybe people don’t like pop-up contact forms as much as you think they would. Guess work is being taken out of effective web design as we can more accurately diagnose and fix problems.
Maybe 5 years ago, you would be given a timeline of when your website would be completed and it would be the end. The site would stay like that as-is for maybe another 5 years until any changes were made. Nowadays, we understand that website maintenance is important, whether it’s to have on-going SEO on your site or to update any design elements that are needed to help with conversion. There shouldn’t be a set date on completion of your web design and it should change with your business as it’s needed.
Time will tell what the future will hold for web design but it seems like “clean” and “simple” are making a comeback. As things that are old become new again, it’s exciting to be caught up in the ever changing world of web design.