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Is website design becoming to complicated?

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Websites are like machines in the sense they are constantly emerging, and designers are building more and more functions into them.  Arguably, machines such as stereos and applications such as Photoshop and MS Office,  have more and more features built into them with each new version.  Is this a true step forward, or do the products become less usable as a result?

Can it be argued that web design is mirroring this trend?  Well with the development of new web technologies such as CSS and WordPress, the reverse effect seems to be true.  Both are praised at how easy they are to use, and to update.  This is an element that makes them so appealing to users.  Also, they are both well supported should any problems occur.

These though, are not websites in themselves, and CSS among other tools and applications, are making sites that are a lot more advanced in the sense of what they can do, than websites were ten years ago.  The concept of web design has changed enormously over the last ten years, mainly as a result of these technologies.

This is in part due to lots more ways of displaying content, and advances in databasing the content.  In short content management has advanced, and with this advance more features are now available.

This looks great on paper, as the more options the better the website, right?  Well think about it this way, what if there were so many features on the site, that it was too busy, like websites of ten years ago, would it not be like having too many fonts, or colors?

Many machines now have so many features, that they designers have run out of button space, and have had to make one button do several tasks.  On the surface this seems like no big deal, but when you need a thick manual to operate your car stereo, is this really a positive step?  Apart from switching between CD and radio, adjusting the volume and station, what else do you really need?  On/off maybe?

Websites, are encountering similar problems when it comes to displaying content.  The way in which a user uses the mouse can dictate how the content will appear.  In some cases, just by hovering the pointer over an object.  Is this a clever way to present information to the user, or just a sign that we are running out of space on our websites?

It is important to remember though, that websites are less like machines, and more like shops and books.  They either sell you something, or tell you about something.  Many do both.

Maybe this is the key difference between a website and a car stereo, is that where as the stereo has more features with each new design, a website has more content.  If you look at the new developments in web design, everything is or has become related to content, and where as the stereo designer has to work out how to make one button do four tasks, the web designer has to work out the best way to display four bits of related information to one product or feature of the website.

Sometimes, product design does not seem to feature the needs of the user, and as a result the product is awkward to use, and for many the frustrations caused by trying to use it, out weigh the pleasure of using it.

Perhaps it can be fair to say that the better web designers, like with fonts and colors, exercise restraint, common sense, and design websites with the user as priority, and this keeps the website tasteful.

11 Responses to “Is website design becoming to complicated?”
  1. Jason - SimpleWeb

    You have brought up a great point in this post. Although we have access to so many different features… do we need all of them?

    I am inclined to say that all the features have a place and a purpose, but not all together on the one site. I can remember when sites used to have so many different colors simply because they could. Of course it was in bad design taste but to the designer it was a new toy to play with.

    In the future, I think designers will become more like website specialists. Knowing all the different CSS, CMS, Javascript, Php etc, but designing a website in a way that the website owner can easily make changes themselves.

    This is sort of where CMS is currently headed which is good for website designers as they can build a site and let the owner create as much content as they like. It is also good for the website owner because they no longer have to pay excessive fees to the designer to add a new page to their website.

    Great post.

  2. Trivedi Roman

    And because of the continuity of technology’s development, I agree that web design should be less complicated. It can go along with the change but ease of use is a thing to be considered.

  3. Judy

    Thanks for the wonderful read. Website designing is definitely the love of my life, so I will

    definitely recommend your website to my visitors.

    All the best!

  4. Wilmer Paras

    If we can get away with some of applications that are not that relevant, then why not? Users are in need only of those that are vital with what they are doing. Other than that, they will just be scraps.

  5. Ozzman Cometh

    This is very true. This article has some great points that really speak out. I agree with Earl. A website doesn’t really have to be complicated.

  6. Earl

    How very true. It really doesn’t have to be so complicated. There is nothing appealing about a website that has so many things going on, most of which they can do without.

  7. sandsoftime

    Eugene, I think it all really is up to the web designer. Most web designers are not really inclined to minimalism and they tend to overdo their designs because they want the website to be loud and have more appeal.

  8. Annan

    Being a wide internet user, I only goes to those sites that are so convenient to use. I am not after complexities. As long as the designs lead me to where I wanted, it’s fine with me.

  9. Eugene

    I don’t see why it has to be complicated. Whatever happened to minimalism?

  10. Luis

    It’s simple, really. If the website will function without it, you don’t need it.

  11. Lashawn Staylon

    @Judy: Same here, I love web designing. This is a good post for us lovers of designs.

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