Topics: Design, Websites, Web/Tech

Are All Websites Beginning to Look the Same?

As a web designer, it is my job to make sure a website serves as the most effective possible tool for its intended purpose. Function is vitally important, and over the years I have argued that engaging form is equally important in most cases.

But more and more often lately, I’ve had to wonder… is it? 

The answer, of course, is yes. But it becomes harder to make that case when it seems all websites are beginning to look the same – part of the cycle of creative plateaus we see in web design.

Here’s what got me thinking about this…

Recently, a client asked me to create a brand-new website for their business. As an artist, I always get excited at the thought of starting something completely from scratch, creating a unique new design – the opportunity to push boundaries and try new things. 

Then reality hits. There are timelines to adhere to, and client expectations to consider… and oftentimes what a client wants is a replica of what they see working for others. It’s completely understandable.

But it’s also a big factor contributing to the cyclical nature of new advances in web design. In our industry, designers often end up traveling down the same familiar path on a project to project basis… and every few years we find ourselves collectively stuck in a rut, conforming to the latest trends and “best practices” that may or may not have already lost their luster.

Things get boring for a while… until web designers find new inspiration and take risks, to drive the next new era in design.

So how do we break this cycle and embrace greater creativity?

Make the Most of Every Challenge

The first step to a successful new website project is taking a deep dive into what the site will be used to accomplish and who the audience will be. 

The answers to these questions need to be considered and used to guide design strategy… and then, you’ll often find there’s an easy argument to be made that doing something different is what is NEEDED to set your client apart from the competition.

The fact is, many clients are conflicted and just need better guidance. I’ve personally had clients who provided a list of examples they’d like to “copy", while at the same time expressing their desire to have a site that “stands out.”

What the challenge comes down to is taking more time for client education, communication and experimentation – and it’s a challenge more designers should choose to embrace. 

Trying new things won’t always result in a home run, but you’re much more likely to drive design innovation and client results by swinging for the fences. 

Velton Davis is a Web Designer at The Prosper Group.

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