For a years businesses have known that a buggy or slow website is the kiss of death. In our rapidly evolving digital age, a bad website translates to bad business. But, as new technologies become ever more prominent, businesses need to adapt to these shifts. Over the last few years smart phones and tablets have changed the face of Internet usage, and it is becoming clear that businesses must engage with these technologies in order to maintain and grow their customer base. In fact, earlier this year studies showed that mobile apps have surpassed desktop usage. Because of this, responsive web design is quickly becoming the standard for businesses trying to adapt to a multi-platform world.
Responsive web design adapts to the screen size and viewing capabilities of various devices. This means that your website will appear slightly different whether someone accesses it from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Without a responsive web design, a website designed for desktop and laptop access will not appear correctly on a smaller device. Images and text may be cut off or the view will need to be resized by the user on sites without a responsive web design. By adapting to screen size, businesses can optimize their users experience and increase mobile traffic on their site. Responsive web design allows sites to load faster and display correctly on a variety of devices and screen sizes.
Mobile apps are also popular among businesses, but Google has made it clear that they prefer responsive websites to mobile template sites. Since responsive web design relies on a single URL instead of a slightly different URL for each device, Google and other search engines prefer it for SEO. When Google issues such a strong stance on website configuration it is important for businesses to take note and follow suit.
Additionally, we may not know what technologies may be developed, but responsive web design can ensure that a site will function on new devices. Recently a study found that only 1 in 5 retailers had sites optimized for the new Amazon Fire phone. However, because responsive web design is simply about automatically adjusting a website based on screen size, site that use RWD run seamlessly on the new device. Responsive web design offers optimized viewing on any device without the need to develop a separate app of mobile specific URL. By utilizing RWD, businesses can maximize their mobile traffic with minimal resources and costs.
We’ve grown accustomed over the years to modern and visually pleasing web layouts, with easy-to-use interfaces and clean designs. It’s easy to forget what the internet looked like before web design really took off. Microsoft celebrated their 20th anniversary last week by reminding internet users everywhere what their original website home page from 1994 looked like.
This re-creation of Microsoft’s original home page might come off as simplistic to us now, with its pixilated background image, basic fonts, and limited features. However, Suzanne Choney points out in a blog from Microsoft: “In terms of ‘Web design,’ the notion, much less the phrase, didn’t really exist” in 1994. If you consider the web was only around for five years prior to 1994, this home page seems more impressive.
Microsoft’s old home screen also shows how much progress the internet as a whole has made in such a short amount of time. Microsoft’s first administrator, Mark Ingalls, points out that in the age of the dial-up internet in 1994, users might have had “to count to three or five” before Microsoft’s home screen would load.
If you owned a computer 20 years ago and had the patience for dial-up, you also couldn’t visit many popular websites of today because they weren’t in existence yet. Facebook, Wikipedia, and Google wouldn’t be created for several more years.
In 1994 there were only several thousand websites compared to the over one billion of today.
With how rapidly the internet progressed over the past two decades, the internet of the future could be very exciting. How different will websites look two decades from now? Will internet speeds become faster?
Maybe in another 20 years Microsoft will re-create their home screen from 2014, once again reminding everyone how far the internet has evolved, and will continue to evolve for years to come.
With so many different designers in so many different industries attempting to attract web users, web design is a constantly changing field. As in all design and tech oriented fields, trends come and go. Certain trends are now falling by the wayside to make room for new styles of web design.
SEO copywriting has been a big part of web design for years. All kinds of companies have used SEO copywriting in promotion and design, as well as to enhance their Internet reputation. However, Google has created increasingly intricate algorithms, making it more and more difficult for SEO copywriting to keep up. Under the new guidelines, some sites are being penalized for their use of SEO copywriting.
Replacing SEO copywriting is user-focused content informed by keywords. Copywriting and content writing are by no means out; however, SEO-focused writing simply doesn’t work the way it used to.
Another trend we are waving goodbye to is the traditional site model of web design. In the United States, 55% of Internet usage comes through mobile devices. Therefore, it is now desktop sites that are being modernized in favor of designs that work best on mobile. With mobile devices coming as large as iPads and as small as the Nokia Lumia 620, one of the most important considerations in web design today is making sites viewable at variable sizes. This design strategy is called “responsive design,” because the site must respond to the size of the device it is being viewed on.
Another trend coming into stride today is the favoring of video over text. With video sharing sites like YouTube allowing people to track how many views their video receives, using video can be an effective way to gauge one’s marketing strategy and plan content for the web. While some claim video isn’t ideal for home pages because of the slow loading time (a concern especially when it comes to mobile devices), video is becoming a more and more popular way to share information and content. Video is easier to share than ever in the age of social media.
Web design is an ever-changing field. Keeping up with trends in design can lead to a successful internet presence.