Is Web Design Really that Boring or We Just Need a Bit of Courage?


A while ago, I read an article on TheNextWeb, written by Owen Williams who is basically saying that in the last couple of years web design became a bit boring.

One reason mentioned in support of this statement is the fact that nowadays sites are built with one of the most popular grid-based frameworks: Bootstrap. Owen makes a good point stating that most of the current websites built with it are actually looking a lot like each other. Could not agree more.

Grid Frameworks

A good couple of years ago, when I have started using grid frameworks for building websites, I disliked Bootstrap because of the same reason, everything looked the same. Same buttons, same layout, same headers… boring… I was wondering why do people do not take their time to properly customize their website to reflect the brand image (if there was any at all)…
At that time, I would say that Bootstrap was my second choice, as I preferred using Zurb Foundation. To me, it was the right choice, probably because of the fact that their gallery of Foundation-built websites featured a lot of properly customized websites. Sometimes, it was quite surprising that Foundation framework was used as a base for a particular website. So much customization efforts were put…
So, I am now wondering is the web design boring or [some] web designers became a bit lazy..?

Adobe Flash

Owen also feels a bit nostalgic that Flash is no longer used in building websites as his death caused a bit of dullness in the web environment… Really? I remember a lot of ugly looking websites that were so intrusive with all the bells and whistles… Owen says that “Adobe Flash, .. was responsible for many of the coolest, craziest early websites”. Yes, there was the time that Flash was amazing and there were things that you cannot create with plain HTML and CSS and Adobe Flash was the tool that created the WOW factor on the web.
But aren’t we forgetting how long it was taking to load all the content on a Flash-based website? I am not saying that Flash was that bad… It was great for that time.., now it is just not adequate…

Where did all the fun go?

It is quite obvious, that grid like frameworks caused a bit of laziness in terms of building websites as [almost] everyone can build a website with Bootstrap by following a simple layout with a few CTAs and Instagrammed images. But is this web designing?

Because of mobile device use, websites became a bit unexciting as web designers started thinking about delivering content in a way that is suitable for smartphone and tablets. Presuming that you are browsing from a mobile device, you need to be able to read information quickly so most of the website just feature some images or a slideshow with a paragraph of text and some buttons. Boring?

Currently, one of the “fun” places on the web is Codepen as many web designers are sharing their web experiments created with HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery. It is just a matter of time, such experiments to be widely adopted on the web and transferred adequately on mobile devices.

It seems that web designers are a bit scared to try new things into production websites as it might cause issues in terms of user experience.

While I totally agree with some of the points mentioned by Owen, there is a bit of a struggle for me whether web design is boring. I do like the structure of the content, I do like the flat colours and the great CSS3 animations with meaningful motion. I do like the reason behind every element.

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In my opinion, the web design is a bit more settled and organized. Current web design remembers all the mistakes in the past as it did a lot of crazy stuff. The current web design is more mature and ready for the future.

But should we take the risk and still do crazy stuff. As web designers we shouldn’t be scared at experimenting with the users…

When sites were built with Flash, there were dreadful decisions that ignored all the design rules and still the web survived. Nobody went to prison for bad web design…

Probably, a pinch of wild creativity can be added to our projects and grid-based frameworks such as Bootstrap to be used only as skeletons of a website, not as a sole solution.

I am pretty sure that when web designers finish a project they always question their decisions, creative ideas and the development. Web design is a struggle and every web designer tries to be better in their next project….

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