In August of 2014, we blogged about how mobile access to the Internet was impacting web design. With the near-infinite variety of screen sizes on devices that now access the web, websites need to be sleek, simple, and adaptable. So now, most everything we associate with traditional web design is no longer applicable. We’re going to go ahead and call it: Web design has gone the way of dial-up modems and floppy disks. Rest in peace, web design.
Websites Are More Vibrant and Alive Than Ever
To be clear, this eulogy is not about the website. The website has not only evolved with the technological changes, but in many ways has defined these changes. Rather than a collection of simple static pages with complex design and graphic elements, the modern website is a crowd-sourced, adaptive, and dynamic wonder! Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress have made creating and managing web content a breeze, and there are a mind-boggling number of plugins and apps that can empower the modern website with functions and interactivity unimaginable even five years ago. You would think that it would be a bold new age for web design, too. This, however, is not the case.
Web Development Is the New Web Design
Certainly design is an aspect of the modern website, but the design elements by necessity must be very simple and bold, not only so they can be seen on a tiny screen, but so they don’t hinder complex functions, including the responsiveness of the website to mobile screens. The lavish and creative graphic elements that were a web designer’s bread and butter in pre-mobile days are indiscernible on a tiny cell phone screen and can cause a nightmare of rendering problems with mobile-responsive themes.
Enter the web developer. Web development is now the heading under which web design functions take place. A web developer can manipulate the complex code that a more graphic-oriented, “old school” web designer would not normally have experience with.
From Mobile Devices to the Internet of Things
We’ve been sounding the alarm bell to our clients about the importance of mobile web for years now and blogging about it as far back as April 2012. And now we are watching something new moving quickly over the horizon: the Internet of Things. If you haven’t heard this term (often referred to as the “IoT”), you soon will. The Internet is beginning to interact not only with people, but with devices. And not just other mobile devices, but appliances, automobiles, signs, store displays — the list goes on and on. This technology has been here for quite a while, but now it is beginning to go mainstream. How this will impact the look and functionality of the next generation of websites is not yet clear, but it’s obvious that things are getting more complex and good web developers will be in high demand.
It Is, Was, and Will Always Be about Content
You may long for the fun and fanciful designs of websites of yore, but think of it this way: A website is just a delivery system for content. The very first website was simply a bunch of text and links (the earliest web design consisted of changing the font weight and size) accessible by a small number of people. Now you can browse the Internet via mobile from virtually anywhere, meaning the information displayed on your website can be seen practically anywhere humans can go. And that is pretty remarkable.
So, yes, we are all a bit saddened by the news. But like the floppy disk and pagers, web design will always be a fond memory. If you would like to pay tribute, we suggest visiting the very first web page and taking a moment of silence.
Web Design – 1995 to 2015