– Where is web design headed?
– What will be the main trends and keys to success in 2010?
The people of Information Architects have made an interesting forecast, which we offer you translated (freely) and summarized:
Still today many websites are too difficult to use. They are full of irrelevant information and their functionality is too confusing. On these sites, there are 3 essential elements that are missing:
- a) A business model
Few websites have a clear business model. Many try to make money through pushy, random advertising, thinking that the “amount” will automatically translate into higher sales.
But the truth is that successful websites, such as Google, Flickr, or World of Warcraft, do just the opposite, showing that the key is in:
– do something really well
– do not rely on random advertising
To make money you have to have a clear business model and a logical and orderly navigation structure. It is not about stacking content and tools, but about making smart use of resources. Less random information and more relevant information.
- b) Logic and details
Keeping things simple is one of the most difficult challenges. You have to think hard and work hard. In other words, designing and building something “simple” requires a lot of time and attention to detail.
Think of Google. It seems very simple. As a user, you don’t worry about the technical details of searches. You don’t care what’s behind it. The “machine” is in charge of doing everything for you, it shows you the results in such a way that you don’t even notice the design.
This operation is the result of work and a delicate attention to detail.
- c) Self-awareness
Most web professionals are not aware of how complicated the logic of their sites and applications is for someone outside, that is, for almost all users. This happens because they are not able to see themselves from the outside. They believe that their way of ordering functionalities, content, products and services is clear, rational, and understandable to everyone. Sometimes they even believe that it is the only possible one. But in reality, when users come to your website they find a veritable “maze”.
The designer must be aware that his way of seeing and understanding things, his way of ordering reality, does not have to be shared by users. You must be able to see yourself from the outside to get out of your mental schemes and get closer to those of the user.
The key to the popular success of television is, in large part, that the web cannot exceed the speed of the remote control. It is also faster to change radio stations than to prepare what we want to listen to on our i-Pod. That is to say: in terms of speed, traditional media is still an important reference for interface design. That is why we can use them as best practices from the point of view of physical interaction.
The success of Facebook and Twitter is that messages are faster and more direct, easier to create and send than via email. The bottom line is that designers of the future will have to focus on streamlining processes, reducing the number of physical movements required. The key may be, again, in the design of traditional products: handles, drawers, shampoo bottles.
Beauty is on the inside
The user experience is on the interface, not on the surface. Instead of wasting time arguing about whether green or yellow is better, it is much more important to focus on the essentials: the interaction offered by the interface. The important thing is not the visual appearance, but to offer the user what they are looking for and what they need.
Fortunately, the change from “what the director wants” to “what the user needs” is also happening in other sectors than web design: part of the success of the Wii and the Iphone is precisely that they are easier and more comfortable to use than your rivals.
– Standards. Standards – for example, in the fonts used – can be a great step forward because, the more standardized the elements that make up the visual appearance of a website are, the easier it is to use.
– CSS. The different environments for CSS development have become a great help for designers.
– Libraries. The jQuery UI library is another of the main supports for the work of designers: it includes especially useful interface elements, such as registration forms, image galleries, etc.
Standards help us build user-friendly websites in less time but, of course, they also push us towards a homogenization of design. That is why it is foreseeable that an opposite trend will rebound, which calls for different designs, which try to stand out from the rest through a very defined look and brand identity.
And you? How do you think web design will evolve in the coming months?