In the 90s, web design was basic and simple. After all, with internet speeds resulting in a single low-resolution picture often taking minutes to download, a website during this era had to rely primarily on nothing but pure text.
Those days are long gone, and each year, technology is changing web design. Over the past 10-15 years, the accelerated evolution of technology has forced the rules and acceptable web design standards to change drastically. From mobile responsiveness to current trends, the effectiveness of a modern website is reliant on equal parts content and aesthetics. The user experience is paramount, and the level of trust a user has in a website is directly impacted by the design choices.
It’s clear that technology is changing web design, but what exactly are the key factors driving this change?
Google Algorithms and SEO
As of right now, there are around 1.88 billion websites online. This staggering number is a good indication that no matter what type of business one may have, chances are high that there are many competitors. This competition means that if a business wants to gain leverage in the search results, its website must follow best practices of search engine optimization (SEO).
As technology is changing web design continually, SEO is not optional if a website wants to be seen. Further complicating matters, the Google page rank algorithm is constantly changing. A good web designer needs to be sure that they are keeping up with these updates and changes.
Increased Mobile Usage
As of Q1 of 2021, statistics show that mobile devices account for 47% of all web traffic. This data indicates that any given user is just as likely to visit a website on a mobile device as a laptop or desktop computer. This percentage has been increasing steadily since 2015, when only 23.7% of web traffic originated from a mobile device.
With this new mobile-heavy era of web browsing, web designers are forced to adapt. To accommodate the mobile user’s needs, a website must be designed to adapt to a smaller, portrait-oriented display. This paradigm is a stark difference contrasted against designing for the extensive real estate offered by a computer screen in landscape orientation.
In addition to the website’s appearance, the user experience (UX) designer must consider that half of a website’s visitors will be interacting with the page through a touchscreen rather than a mouse. This change in input methods means web designers must emphasize appropriately sizing navigation links and icons.
It is also essential for web pages to have a lightweight design, achieved through optimizing image and video sizes, to reduce data transfer for users on a limited mobile data plan.
Internet speeds continue to improve at an impressive rate. With the advent of technologies such as fiber optics, broadband connections can now reach speeds as fast as 1 gigabit per second. For comparison, most users in the mid-90s had a 56k modem capable of download speeds of 56 kilobits per second.
With this increase in internet speeds, web designers can now focus on designing websites rich with images that will still load in the blink of an eye. This change makes websites more appealing, and customers have come to expect more visually stimulating designs.
The speed with which well-optimized yet aesthetically pleasing websites can be loaded is critical. An important metric of web design is bounce rate, which is the percentage of users who visit a website and leave without visiting any other pages on the site.
The longer the page takes to load, the higher the bounce rate will be. On mobile devices, this is particularly critical. As the mobile page load time increases from one second to five seconds, the average bounce rate increases by 90%.
Progressive Web Apps
With the increase in smartphone usage for web browsing, users have become accustomed to a particular aesthetic provided by native applications on their phones. This led to the rise of progressive web apps (PWA). A PWA is essentially a hybrid between a traditional website and a mobile app.
While a PWA is technically a standard website, it is designed to closely mimic a native application downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. The overall layout and style of the menus are designed to give the app experience straight from the web browser.
According to a Forbes article, businesses utilizing a PWA for their website see a 134% increase in page views on average. The average PWA also shows an average page load time of around eight times faster than a traditional mobile web page, which is critical to the user experience.
Technology is Changing Web Design: Stay on Top of the Trends
With the continuous growth of technology, the job of web designers is constantly changing. A good web design company needs to stay up to date on current trends and be willing to push the envelope with cutting-edge technology.
Vervology offers several services, including digital strategy development, web design and development, and website management. We understand that a poorly designed website that does not provide an optimized user experience and professional appearance is bound to lead to a high bounce rate. We keep up with the industry’s changes and utilize modern technologies to ensure that each website conforms to the modern user’s standards.