A colleague tipped me off to this piece:
The Undesigned Web
by Dylan Tweney
… It's that separability of design and text that has led to the third wave of the web, in which readers (or what some would call end-users) are in control of how the content they are reading looks. And, as it turns out, many of those readers like their designs to be as minimal as possible.
And six months ago:
My advertising/marketing predictions and not-technical-because-I’m-not-a-tech-guy recommendations:
- The visual power of the web will fade as more people use handheld devices. Goodbye, fancy-schmancy web sites. People will get bored sifting through it all when they can find what they need with their smartphones.
- How this will play out, I don’t know – but the ‘web’ needs to be rethought. Accessing a page on a desktop or laptop is not the same as accessing it on a smartphone. There will have to be two separate ‘webs’ for large screens, small screens. People will get very tired very fast clumsily negotiating bulky pages on handheld devices. Usability cannot be ignored. Laptops and Desktops will only be utilized for deep research or visual treats.
Not everybody agrees, sort of. Actually, it looks like they do agree, sort of:
Is "Undesigned" the Next Great Web Trend? Fat Chance
Online, content is a tool. We use it. It's not passive and neither are we. And if its design hinders that use, we get irritable. That's why good Web design often has more in common with the invisible soft-science of industrial design than the in-your-face, "art directed" aestheticism that many of us associate it with.
I remember when hyperlinks and animated GIFs were eye-popping, cutting-edge marvels. Before long video, music, and games were everywhere. That ended up as lots of fun.
But technological marvels come and go. Human nature persists. The importance of being connected, communicating, and seeking out information has been around since the beginning of civilization.
How will this shake out with advertising and marketing? My take:
That silly retronym “traditional advertising” will remain the premiere force for introducing people to a product or service, along with sustaining its shelf life. Television, print, radio, and billboard ads will continue to have the visceral power they’ve always had – if only for their sheer size, simplicity, and cutting-edge audio/visual qualities. Advertising on smartphones will be considered an annoyance, invasive, and rather dinky – while marketing (coupons on steroids, and more) will flourish and dominate.