A designer’s viewpoint: everything looks the same
In the early days of the Internet, web design looked much more diverse in comparison to what is offered up today.
There were fewer rules, so designers either transferred design layouts straight from magazines and on screen, or they experimented more and took more risks.
I hear a lot of people complaining about websites all looking the same and how there is no value left in web design.
As a designer, I think that today’s websites lack diversity and the eccentricity needed in order to stand out from the crowd and be memorable.
Why? Who is to blame?
Nowadays most websites and mobile apps, for design agencies and designers, all look prettier but are unusually very similar to each other.
Many websites are now created using frameworks (such as Bootstrap) while others use stock templates. This means that you just need to put your content in and the website is already done!
You’ve seen it before: logo on the left, hamburger button on the right (revealing a full-screen overlay menu) below a full-width photo or video background and a centred H1 text on the hero header.
This style itself is so mainstream that sometimes the client wants you to design something they’ve seen somewhere else! There is no innovation, no originality and no creative flair involved at all in this process!
These are areas of expertise and a certain level of quality that is expected from designers and such components are essential when it comes to branding, corporate messaging and storytelling.
Furthermore, we are now standardising the way that we perceive things: being recognisable and familiar. It feels comfortable to use and many users are now accustomed to this style and layout.
I think that we – as designers – are the ones who should be pushing things, taking a chance on experimenting and creating something new.
I firmly believe that we should play around more with single elements on websites.
Incorporate parts which move independently, reduce the current static nature of so many websites, and mould such movements to the way that users naturally interact with websites across all devices.
We should also realise that the ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality doesn’t necessarily work for every single company and their websites.
When it comes to designing a website, make sure that your branding is clear and that the design focuses on creating a great user experience to increase engagement.
Today’s designers don’t have to be as experimental as we were before, but, we should rekindle the same sense of fearlessness in taking risks and experimenting with design layouts that previous designers had.
When choosing your designer, therefore, make sure they use an up-to-date website hosting platform: one that can give you the most in terms of quality and design and support you, even when you use more complicated functionality.
Case study - npower
As one of Britain's largest energy suppliers, npower needed a careers website that reflected their heritage and leveraged their employer brand to attract candidates.