The web was created and launched by researchers at CERN in 1989, with the first public web server instructions launched almost exactly 20 years ago in 1993. Over the decades, the web has grown from a tiny part of the Internet, accounting for just 1% of traffic in its earliest days.
Today, there are over 630 million websites, yet the fundamentals of layout and how they are structured have changed little. Catalogue-style navigation still harks back to an era of print design, and is more compatible with laptop or PC devices as opposed to tablets, smartphones and other new technologies.
Chuck Longanecker of PandoDaily.com said that websites were still aspiring to the standards of print, holding designers back from exploring more creative, user-friendly designs.
“Still tied to the same print-based paradigms and catalog-style navigation, these outdated formats now shackle designers to a limited framework that prevents them from truly exploring the advantages inherent in the digital medium. Websites suffer from the ultimate skeuomorphic insecurity, trying to be something they’re not, by emulating the print paradigm.”
“These shackles to print also inspire bad user experiences. Think of the ADD-like behavior visitors adopt as they jump from page to disjunct page trying to find some semblance of a path on journeys without easy-to-reach goals. Bottom line, websites are broken, but not lost.”
Mentel IT experts are among those in the industry leading this trend in web development. New technologies on the consumer side, like tablets and smartphones, have changed the way people interact online. The need for responsive, compatible designs that feel native to any device is expected to shape the future of web design, which analysts like Longanecker are forecasting will influence the move toward ‘pageless’ design.
Pageless design refers to long-form web pages that wrap all the information visitors need in a single page. For businesses, this allows a more direct presentation of the features and benefits of their products and services. For visitors, this allows for information to be digested in a more logical way, with a consistent user experience across devices.
App design has had a big influence on web design trends. The most successful apps are those that are seen to deliver a slick user experience without the clutter and awkwardness of most standard websites. The concept of infinite scrolling is one that lends itself to usability and comfort, and this makes it much easier to present and digest information on the web.
As web design becomes more cohesive, businesses will find it easier to lead their traffic through a narrative structure that links all elements of the product or service together. Some suggest this leads to more effective web-based results, reporting increased conversions and improved user engagement.
The web is always changing, and while technologies have moved on, the design standards established early on have yet to undergo substantial change. The move to a pageless future allows for more fluid, attractive designs that are more lightweight and user-friendly, without the same restrictions and barriers of design convention.