Webdesign today is a lot different from what it was just 10 years ago. 10 years ago everybody wanted their own unique designs, a very person webdesign with graphics that fit their business or personal style. A few pieces of flash or some heavy graphics wasn’t any problem and something a lot of website owners gladly used to give their site it’s own unique style. Today everything is more more simple. A lot of modern websites are based on predefined templates, this goes for both personal blogging sites, and for webshops based on Magento, Prestashop or WooCommerce. Because of this, a lot of companies have moved away from the heavy graphics, flash and other such things. Just take a look at a modern webshop like karnevalsshoppen.dk, an online business selling kostumer and udklædning. It’s a pretty standard Magento installation with a unique design on the header and menu, and that is how most sites are now a day. Karnevalsshoppen used to have a very specific design that made it stand out from other webshops and was a bit more eye cathing, but after making it more mainstream with a new theme and a little more simple, it’s convertion ratio actually improved. This only confirms what a lot of the webdesign gurus have been telling us for years, don’t try to move out of the box, keep it on a level where your customers are familiar and recognizes things for what they are. The main point is to make the visitors feel at home, even if it’s a site they have never seen before. If the layout and design are similar to other sites they know, and the general structure of the website are too, then they are having a much easier time finding what they are looking for, and often feel more secure on the site too. Which again increase the changes of them using their credit card on your site.
Personally I think this mainstreaming of websites are both good and bad. I like that a lot more sites are now a lot userfriendly, it’s easier to find the products or information that you are looking for. But I also find that a lot of the creativity and soul is missing from many sites. If we look at a site like cykler-sundby.dk – that you can see here, it used to have a pretty unique design where the background was a bicycle and the menu was a part of it’s wheels. It was a fun and creative site, now it’s just another standard wordpress site with a generic theme and no soul any more. It may be easier to navigate around it, but from an artistic point of view, it’s far from a success. This is the case with a lot of modern websites, and I understand why many chooses to switch to such a solution, as it’s often a lot more easier to update and maintain. For some sites like karnevalsshoppen, it also means making more money, and often that is the whole point of a site. I may be old fashioned, but I still smile when I enter a site where they have done something special with the design, and created something that you don’t see everyday. A website should be userfriendly, but in my opinion, it should also be something personal or a piece of online art. I have to admit that most of those attemts was a failure, but in those few cases where it actually worked, it worked very well. Modern webdesign is in most cases a success, but I still feel that most of it, lack the artistic freedom we know from the old sites.