Rethinking Web Development: Less is more

Web design is a never ending topic. Quite literally too considering what happens in the span of a minute on the internet. See here. Yet with so much content and information spanning the internet, we see one common theme occurring in modern web design and development: less is more.

Websites are no longer saturated with content that takes up the entire screen. We are no longer impressed by pictures layered on top of pictures and crazy artistic effects on websites. Rather the opposite. Design has modernized. It has simplified.

I think that this phenomenon has been greatly influenced by Apple’s Retina display. Apple has truly created a display that makes the computer screen sharp and beautiful. Because of this, designers have stepped up their game. I think its also fair to attribute a large amount of this web design movement to HTML5 and CSS3 as well. For my non-technical readers, these are modern web development languages that was released in October 2014. They have brought new features to the internet and made design a lot more simple. Lastly, I think we can also attribute the more design features we are seeing to the speed of the internet. In the past, downloading an image took a lot of time. Due to this, designers used images sparingly and tried to do as much with design without using images (as they would effect performance). Now, almost everyone has access to high speed internet on either a computer or mobile device. This has changed the way designers view using images as websites will now load faster than ever.

Retrieved from: Apple.com

When you analyze website like Apple.com or even Medium.com, we notice a pattern in design. I like to classify this look as modern elegance. The look now is about subtle differences and clean appearance. Design principles have changed to embrace the content of information that the website is trying to get across. We are seeing a generation of the internet where people are starting to care more about the words rather than the pictures.

Retrieved from: Medium.com

While talking about the concept of “less is more”, I would like to play devil’s advocate and slightly contradict this theory. Well, maybe not contradict, but rather challenge this in a different way. While I still stand by my statement that we are seeing more minimalist style appear in modern websites, one thing we are seeing more of is animations and effects. They. Are. Everywhere! Whether it be content flying in from off screen to grab your attention or elements appearing out of thin air, we are seeing more of an interactive and animated web.

It is fair to say that we as web designers are using less content, but have seem to taken a more artistic and user experience approach with our designs. Just like PowerPoint, web animations are easily overdone, but with small subtle effects, can actually be used to enhance the appearance of a website. Overall, my recommendation when using these effects is simple: Less is more.


What are some of your favorite website designs? Do they also have the minimalist style? Let me know your experiences in the comments!


References:

Woollaston, V. (2013, July 30). Revealed, what happens in just ONE minute on the internet: 216,000 photos posted, 278,000 Tweets and 1.8m Facebook likes. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2381188/Revealed-happens-just-ONE-minute-internet-216-000-photos-posted-278-000-Tweets-1-8m-Facebook-likes.html

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