Evolutions In Web Design - Are You Staying Current?
Web development and design has changed a lot in the past 10+ years that I have been coding websites. The landscape has evolved; you simply couldn't do the stuff you can do now. Here are some of my favorite upgrades to web design and development.
Drop Shadows and Rounded Corners
This seems like a silly upgrade, but can you imagine drawing every shadow in photoshop or making four images of rounded corners every time you wanted a nice rectangle? It's so nice that with a few lines of code I can change all the hard edges throughout a site to soft edges. If the site needs more depth I can attach different drop shadows to site wide content all with some code.
It has made the developer's life so much easier. Designers can now include these touches in their designs without us coders chastising them.
About 5 years ago there were only about 5 fonts you could safely use on the web. Then a few years ago Google gave us about 100 more. Now a days designers can use almost any font they would like in their website designs.
Typography is important. Fonts make an amazing difference in how a website looks. Cutting edge, fun, or strictly business, your website speaks to users through its type and now we can use a huge set of voices.
Responsive design allows websites to adapt and shift their layout based on the device that is viewing it. It wasn't needed or possible five years ago because people generally looked at websites on their desktops. Now with everyone on their phones it is the latest trend.
Even a few years ago, the norm was to create a separate website for mobile users. Usually that website would become stale or frustrate users by how abbreviated the content was compared to the full site.
Now with css media queries (the backbone of responsive design) sites can change their css based on how big the browser is. It still takes some thorough thought, design, and development to make it happen, but at least it's possible.
Nothing has been better than jQuery for modern web design. Animations were either not feasible or possible a few years ago. You would have to use Flash to get something to move. Now with jQuery, accordions and sliders are everywhere and animated planes are a piece of cake.
jQuery is the answer to the Flash problem. Flash has been rendered obsolete by apple. jQuery has filled that gap and then some. If your site is still using flash slideshows or navigation It's time to upgrade to jQuery. Your iPad and iPhone users will thank you.
Content Management Systems
Gone are the days when you would need an IT guy to update your website. Content management sites are now the norm and the best ones are open source (free). It saddens me when I see pages with .html after them, because i know that page has probably not been updated for at least six years and the owner just doesn't know how easy it could be.
The content management systems have evolved as well and keep getting better. I can currently create really sophisticated Drupal sites that people can manage easily and independently.
Has Your Website Evolved with the Times?
Is your website stuck in the past? Are you using the modern tools available to you? If you aren't your potential customers are noticing your dated look and content and thinking your company reflects those traits.
Concerned about what people think? You can check out our free web design evaluation and we will tell you what we think, and perhaps how you can improve.
It's exciting to design and build websites in 2013. I am learning new stuff all the time, and people are constantly developing new ways to make things easier and better. I can't wait to see what the web world will be like in another 5 years.