Life moves faster on your screen than anywhere else in life. Last year’s trends are tomorrow’s relics. There are some basics of web design that stand the test of time, the tried and true practices that new designs build from. It only takes a simple click for someone to get to your website, but it also only takes a simple click for someone to leave. Not everyone is arriving at your site on the same device either. Here are some very important web development directions to follow.
The complexity of a web site can be the reason people choose to stay or leave within seconds of arriving at your site. If you’re giving the user too many bells and whistles, they’re out the door without so much as a nod goodbye. No one has the desire to get a shovel from the garage and start digging for what they need. It should be there in plain sight and easily accessible. It also forces designers to achieve more by creating simpler, cleaner, more elegant solution.
Plug your phone in at night and somehow by 5 p.m. you’re down to 10 percent battery. We’re on our phones all day long. Mobile web browsing has already surpassed desktop use and ignoring the importance of having a good mobile website is like ignoring a tornado as it eats your neighbors’ house. Mobile web browsing created the need for companies to develop a mobile-only site to accompany their desktop website. People have been very strongly gravitating towards a responsive website that adjusts to the platform viewing it. It makes sense that one site serving many purposes it better than many sites that all do the same thing.
Wide Screen Grids
This is really an extension of responsive design, but in the other direction. Wide screen monitors have been around for a long time, but only within the last year or two have people started expanding past the 960px grid. It goes to reason that if we are responding to the smaller screens, we should show the larger screens some love too. A site that stops responding and fitting comfortably on screen after 960px isn’t truly fully responsive. We’re not really sure why this area has been ignored/avoided by so many for so long. Yes, more 4-inch screens are being used than 17+ inch screens, but the large screens are getting bigger and still being used, mostly by people who appreciate solid web design. Responsive design is about making web content beautiful for all users on all platforms. Designers and developers shouldn’t forget about the big boys.
Fast Content Delivery
The faster the internet gets, the faster people want your website to load. Just like a cluttered website, people will leave your site if it makes them wait, even for just one or two seconds. This is a difficult subject as the web is evolving so quickly that hosting companies are having a hard time keeping up, resulting in no clear solution other than simplification and minimization. It’s entirely possible that this problem is directly responsible for the widespread adoption of minimalist design trend, a movement born out of necessity. Some things to think about are style sheets, content delivery networks (CDNs), cache control, combining and minimizing files, and keeping all CSS and JS external.