“We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain”. These words were uttered by the great theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking. And Bill Gates says, “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow”. These 2 quotes are just 2 of the innumerable expressions attempting to portray the awe inspiring power of internet on our lives.
More than 2 decades ago, precisely on 6th August, 1991, at a CERN facility in the Swiss Alps, Tim Berners-Lee published the first-ever website. And in 1994, Tim founded the World Wide Web Consortium (often referred to as “W3C”) at MIT in order to create standards for the web to ensure that different websites would all work the same way. And ever since, ‘electronic communication’ has never looked back! And inarguably, website design and development has had been a critical component of this game changing ‘electronic communication’.
After the very first website published in 1991, millions of websites have been developed and as per the latest numbers by Internet Live stats, more than 1 billion websites have been created! No wonder, it seems to be a daunting task when creating a new website given the fact that you will be adding another drop to the existing ocean of websites. Fortunately, with the evolution of web design and development, the complexity involved in creating websites has had been proportionately decreasing with the rise of simple-to-design and user friendly website development.
Gone are the days when you could not design a website without having a hardcore web programming background. Website design today is to a large extent, an easy to use, user centric, drag & drop process. The biggest change witnessed as a result of website design evolution is the transformation of website users into website creators. Today, a website user is no more a passive user but a responsive and interactive user who can not only be a power user but also the website designer as well as developer. Let’s take a look and appreciate how website design has gone through a paradigm shift over the last 2 decades.
‘Drag & Drop’ versus Coding
The concept of ‘Drag and Drop’ allows website designers to simply drag the relevant web design blocks and drop those blocks into desired position of your webpage. You don’t need to write any code when you use the drag and drop system. Since the designing blocks are the ready-made building blocks, you don’t need to build or code these blocks and hence can focus on other critical website design aspects such as usability, responsiveness, and understanding target audience needs. To help website creators with effective designing, website builder companies like Wix keep their web designs up-to-date by proactively incorporating latest design trends. For instance, you can build parallax scrolling websites, insert background videos, create background sections of different colors for a single page, and do much more without writing a single line of code by simply using the drag & drop approach.
Responsive Design versus Static design
In the old world, web pages used to be static entities evoking images of something set in stone. In the modern web design world, the web pages respond intelligently to users’ web environment. For example, web pages now automatically and optimally adjust to varying different screen sizes that are used view those web pages. Hence, the modern process of web design does not code a separate version for each viewing format, but utilizes responsive web design to address varying user needs.
Theme based web design versus Custom design
There’s no denying that for some special types of websites involving complex business requirements, a custom web design could be the preference over a theme based design. But for the majority of web site designs, especially for small businesses’ need where cost and time are critical constraints, selecting a readymade website template from a catalog is the preferred approach. Website template providers such as Wix allow their users to choose a website template as per their core needs.
As seen below, it becomes very easy for a user to simply pick up an already built website template and start working on the template right away without having to spend time on creating a template from scratch. Also, as and when required, website templates can be customized and fine tuned to suit your specific needs and hence again, can save you a lot of money, effort, and time as compared to the development of ‘Custom’ websites.
Focus on the target audience needs versus technical nuances
The key aspect of modern web design is creation of websites based on intuitive design. The focus of web design today is how to step in users’ shoes and think like a user rather than think like a developer as was the case previously. A design is deemed intuitive when the users can use your website smoothly and with satisfaction. Hence, designing a professionally sound website requires a great understanding of your audience and you don’t need to be a technical genius to understand your audience needs.
Simplicity versus Complexity
In a study by Google in August of 2012, researchers found out that users judge websites as beautiful or not within 1/50th – 1/20th of a second. Users also rated “visually complex” websites as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts. The study claims that, “Websites of high visual complexity lead to a more negative first impression than websites of medium or low complexity and pro- totypical websites create a better first impression than less prototypical ones”.
Simply put, the study found that “the simpler the design, the better”. And with the evolution of web designing concepts in favour of simple yet effective website development, website designing can indeed be a fun process. Below video shows 11 simple steps that can be followed to create a stunning yet easy to build website.