The internet is all about change. In a span of less than two decades, we’ve seen the inception of the internet, the dot-com bubble and a world wide web dominated by e-commerce (Amazon, eBay, etc.) shift to one dominated by social media (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter). It’s been marked by a low barrier to entry and short-term success, but very few companies have possessed the ability to stick around for the long term.
Now, the web is changing again. Web 2.0, the social web, is giving way to web 3.0 which promises to be run increasingly through mobile devices. This brings me to the question I’ll ponder in this post: how is the mobile revolution affecting website design?
The short answer is a lot. Aside from the obvious effects, like the rise of mobile apps and the need for companies to create a mobile version of their sites, I’ve noticed some subtler ones as well. I’m no design pro myself, but it’s not difficult to see the impact the rise of the mobile web has had on modern web design aesthetics.
Check out web product design company Zurb’s website. Notice the clean, simple layout. Look at the icons—they’re large and inviting, just like those you might see on your iPhone. There’s also a remarkable lack of text — just a few short paragraphs towards the bottom of the page — and ample white space that’s pleasing to the eye.
For an even more dramatic example, take a look at ideapaint.com. The homepage is so compact you can’t even scroll down (at least not in my browser). It includes links to three subpages, one link to a product page and two simple calls-to-action. That’s it. Obviously, it’s easier for Idea Paint to get away with such a design because their product is visually-based, but it’s certainly worth learning from.
It’s a testament to the power of the mobile web that it has affected the way we judge a website’s aesthetics. It also serves as a sign of things to come. If you’re not ready for its rise, it’s time to get on board.