If you were to look at two websites side by side, one from 2000 and one from 2013, you would no doubt notice a large number of changes. The face of the internet has changed drastically over the last decade-and-a-bit and what made a great looking website back then certainly doesn’t make a great looking website today necessarily.
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There are many reasons for this of course, and one of the most obvious is the way technology has come on. Back in 2000 internet connections were considerably slower, and the devices we viewed websites on had much lower resolutions and less powerful specs. At the same time of course there’s also the obvious development process that any new medium will go through – and over time websites will have learned from one another and tested what works and what doesn’t in order to gradually improve.
But something else that has undoubtedly changed and affected web design is the current fashion. Just like the wallpaper you choose and the clothes you wear; the colour schemes, patterns and images that you should choose for a website will change as fashions change.
Looking at what influences fashion and how this might impact on web design is an incredibly in depth process and not something we’ll satisfactorily be able to answer here. Fashion is the result of the media to a degree, as well as a need for change, the way society is structured and more. Essentially though, gradual exposure to more and more of the same colour schemes and patterns will eventually cause us to gravitate to more of those similar patterns – particularly when we associate them with the most ‘stylish’ or affluent groups. Eventually though this reaches saturation point, and we start looking for the next ‘thing’ which designers and artists struggle to find for us.
Of course a preference for certain colours and patterns, and the positive associations underlying that preference, will also affect the kinds of websites we enjoy looking at which means that to some extent fashions on the web will reflect fashions on the cat walk. To an extent you should find that this bleeds into your design naturally, but if you want to make your site look particularly cutting edge and modern (useful if your site deals with fashion and design particularly) then you should try to make a conscious effort to ensure it does.
So what’s in right now? Well according to my girlfriend and a few magazines I’ve flicked through, black and white is currently very fashionable particularly featuring large bold patterns. Likewise bright neon colours are also very in, and can be used in conjunction with those blacks and whites – a black and white website with large and almost-florescent link buttons would be bang on trend and look very modern.
More generally, ‘minimalism’ is also currently in and has been for a long time in all areas of fashion including interior design. The interesting thing is that this may even have been influenced by technology originally – and specifically by the look of iOS that favours clean lines and white spaces. For a while now less has been more, and this is a good rule of thumb for your web design.
About the guest author: Alex Kirichenko is a web design expert with Business Media, a Canada based web design company providing web services for e-commerce sites, local businesses and large corporations.
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