Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Now everyone is doing it

The Internet is like high school. Someone shows up with something shiny and new; pretty soon everyone wants or has the same thing.

Website design is showing just as much trend envy.

Splash pages used to be the big thing. Then flash animations. Now it’s the BIG PICTURE.

More and more websites spread a single photograph or graphic across the top half of the screen. There might be a few words, maybe a title and subhead in a large font. To find out more, you have to scroll down. Even then content is sparse, because, you know, people don’t like to read anymore.

Note to big-picture Web designers: Your pages are pretty. Your pages don’t tell me what I want to know. Ironically, the big picture approach doesn’t give me the big picture on content. A photograph isn’t always worth 1,000 words. Sometimes a photograph is just a photograph.

Granted, I’m a word person. Writing is what I do. Depending on the medium and the message, I tailor my approach for more or less content. Either way, content is key.

Words matter. People do like to read if it’s content they’re interested in, that engages them, that tells them what they need or want to know.

The first few big-picture websites I saw were intriguing in their novelty. And they were visually attractive, with beautifully done, professional photographs.

Now that more people are borrowing this design approach, using similar templates, the cracks are showing. The photos aren’t always so great; maybe they’re low-res or straight from a phone app. The content is sketchy. There’s no “there” there.

If I were just surfing the Internet for fun, these sites would be eye candy (at least the good ones would). But my surfing days are over; I click to find answers, information, content.

The good news is everything on the Internet seems to be a trend. I just can’t wait until the next one comes along.

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