When the internet emerged more than 25 years ago, the first websites were akin to a magical land of unicorns and casinos, resplendent with scrolling marquee text, flashing lights and bright sparkles. It felt like a visit to the Red Light district every time a user connected to the brave new Internet World via modem at the blistering speed of 14k. Companies didn’t realize what a great business asset an effective web design could be. Instead they structured their sites to serve as giant “About Us” pages as a way to invite recognition for their traditional brands.
In the last 25 years the internet has changed substantially, and consumer behavior has changed even more. Websites now dominates the way we communicate, the way we shop, and the way we make decisions both online and also in the face-to-face world. The glorified About Us websites are gone, replaced by mobile and secure business sites that serve as powerful lead generation tools for anyone with a business-to-business or business-to-consumer product or service or information resource to sell.
The explosion of the mobile web has been another important consideration for site development. This recent digital revolution has given way to the popularization of responsive design and has called for a re-evaluation of the way websites are structured. This is one area of web design that still has a ways to go in its development, and we look forward to seeing how it evolves over the coming years.
People typically scan websites, looking only for the information they need — so any site that makes this job easier as a user gets a giant check-mark. A savvy web designer is aware of the fact that most users don’t read everything on a website, and understand how readers take in information. Therefore intuitively placed information, visually accentuated links, and a straightforward navigation are just a few best practices today’s websites should adhere to. Always design with usability in mind!