Web Design 2011
Every year there has been significant advancement and development of website design and in 2011 we could potentially see another significant leap in website design. A combination of developments in website functionality and expansion of user platforms could produce a new wave of functionally integrated websites suitable for multi-platform usage.
What we use the web for has significantly expanded. E-commerce, telecommunications, video conferencing, social networking, video and audio media, live transmission and more have all been added to the original use as an information source. With each of these becoming more frequently used and new functions developed, websites are increasingly looking to expand the range of functions available to their users to enhance the usefulness of the site.
Current website design developments can be split into two broad areas: website interaction and website communities. Website interactions involve the functionality of the website and making the design of the website as suitable as possible to its purpose. Website communities facilitate social interactions with workers of the website and website users. Both of these areas are rapidly expanding
More and more websites are creating communities for a variety of reasons. Firstly, with the clear success of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, people like to socialise online and meet new people that are interested in similar things. Websites in general have realised that people visiting their sites share common interests, and creating communities increases the re-visit rate to their site which ultimately can increase revenues. Another important reason for communities on sites is to offer greater support to customers and users. Rather than the works on a website answering each questions individually, they can address common concerns in bulk. Also, with the massive success of Wikipedia, people have realised that far greater support can be offered as part of a community, where people can share their solutions to problems and seek out solutions that they haven’t been able to find without having to contact the people who run the site. This potential to reduce the amount of time needed to support the users of a website can also significantly reduce costs and increase profits.
The power of a good website community has lead to increased functions. Audio and visual communications within communities are highly important now, while 24/7 messenger support, either with a human helper or a computer automated help option are increasingly common. Flexibility is also now important, with the ability to communicate with many users at the same time and also interconnectivity with other social networking vital in expanding the reach and access of a website. As a result, in 2011 the community sections of websites will become increasingly required with much increased user options as the social networking phenomenon continues to grow.
The website functionality will also significantly increase throughout 2011, with the new platforms adding further complications to the website design. Websites have become more and more interactive, with users being able to do much more online. This is only set to increase in 2011, with more e-commerce taking place, greater expansion of media types and document creating. People want much more control of the websites that they use; they want to chose what videos they watch and when, increased download availability across the board and the ability to create more things online, such as produce videos, animations, official documents and much more. Websites with more user interaction options will be more successful and website designs will need to be able to integrate these effectively. However, it is not just the content that users want more interaction with, but the design of the websites themselves. Some development in this areas has occurred over the past few years, with the ability of users to customise their interfaces in limited ways, mainly changing colours and images but still limited within the options of the website. Menu bar developments have also allowed users to pull up or hide away information, giving them greater control of what is displayed on the page, while also allowing web developers to offer users more options on a single page of what content they can access. However, users are still confined to restrictions of the structure of the web design. In 2011, the ability of users to alter more features of a websites design to suit their needs, making the websites more flexible will be a significant development and could potentially open up the way we use and perceive websites and how their designs should be structured.
Website developers are also going to have to adapt to the new technologies of the decade and make them accessible to the new platforms. The standard internet browser is not as suited to the hand held mobile handsets, or the new tablet PCs. In order to make the internet more mobile, devices have had to get smaller and as a result so too have the displays. This places limitations on what can be displayed on a single page, requiring more navigation on these devices to find what they need. Suitably designed websites and apps that cater for these smaller visual displays will be much more effective, and with the seeming continual expansion of the use of the technologies development to operate on them will be increasingly important in 2011.