When It Comes to Web 2.0, Why You Gotta Be

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It’s been said that for every culture, there’s a counter-culture.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right?  The latter effect against highly stylized and uber-modern Web 2.0 design (for unfortunate lack of a better phrase) has been swift.  And in large part, I believe, unjustly served.

I’ve got designers telling me that if they see another gradient, another cute gel icon … another 24px Trebuchet header for god’s sake, they’re throwing in the towel.

Perhaps you’re sick of it too.  But ask yourself: does it work?

A good designer needs to work above trends, above what’s fashionable.  A good designer mustn’t incorporate or consider style for style’s sake.  A good designer must … design good.  That is, he must motivate the user to go, to do, to click “Next”, to subscribe or sign up, to sell the product.

Good design is not about what’s pretty or popular or the next big thing.  It’s also not about looking hip to your design colleagues because you happen to be bucking the trend du jour.  Doing so only means you wind up designing for the trend demain.

Ben Hunt (of webdesignfromscratch.com) lays out the key touchstones of Web 2.0 design:

  • Simple layout
  • 3D effects, used sparingly
  • Soft, neutral background colours
  • Strong colour, used sparingly
  • Cute icons, used sparingly
  • Plenty of whitespace
  • Nice big text

It doesn’t get much simpler than that.  What’s the point?  These elements work.  Don’t buck a trend just because you want to be different.  Be above the trends and counter-trends.  Recognize what works.  And utilize it the best way you can.

In Ben’s words, “I’m glad to say that web design in 2006 is better than ever … more web designers know more about how to design than ever before.”

Here here.

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