The history of website design and development hasn’t been pretty. In fact, in the early days, the design was unimportant. Content was the king. The power of hyperlinking was the queen.
Then some aesthetic soul thought websites needed a little decoration. The result: the infamous “marching ants” surrounding header text.
Next came WYSIWYG—If you could imagine it, you could (nearly) make it. Oh boy, was that an ugly time. Just think of 1980’s fashions and leave it at that.
As a revolt against these amateur web designs, print designers got involved and came up with complex custom designs. Ad agencies convinced their clients that custom design made them stand out from the
These overly ambitious, print informed web designs started breaking the web, creating usability issues. Then with the help of HCI experts like Jacob Neilson, we came to understand that usability should come before design, and Google showed us all that simplicity worked with their simple search box landing page
Smart Phones and tablets entered the scene, further complicating usability. We even went through some very expensive and harrowing years of creating different sites for different devices. Thankfully CSS and a mobile-first mentality came to our rescue and showed us again that minimal wins the day, after all, the site visitor just wanted to find information, not be wowed by your design prowess (usability studies proved this)
That leaves us at today. Because of a mobile-first, multi-device compatible world, what we now know as truth is that “usable patterns” work best. A website is a type of user interface and the user just wants to accomplish a task. We’ve finally got it that less is more and our corporate design and brand awareness is in our logo, our color schemes, and our content.