Fall of the Designer Part III: Conformist Responsive Design(elischiff.com)

8 years ago from Ivan Bozic, Founder @ arsfutura.com

  • Ben MJTBen MJT, 8 years ago

    The web has experienced its own Modern movement over the past few years, going Skeuno to Flat in no time at all, something that took design in general thousands of years. This is undoubtedly for the better as function has taken the place of meaningless ornamentation (the web has finally caught up with other design disciplines), but I agree there is a potential for homogeneity.

    However, the answer to this (if there even needs to be one) is certainly not to lurch back into ornamentation. Doing so would simply be going over old ground and yearning for a bygone age that is now meaningless, much like the architects (and their clients) who cling to the styles of the Renaissance. Just because our screens are better now, that does not mean we should rush to fill them with noise again, this is just making the same mistakes yet again, have we learnt nothing?

    This would also undo the process of maturation the web has gone through; the reason so many sites look similar is because designers finally came to the realisation (on their own, or having been pushed by 'Flat' design or RWD) that function is the most important thing, namely giving information, largely text, to the user (something iA nailed, and were roundly ridiculed for, almost 10 years ago in their article 'Web Design is 95% Typography')

    Responsive design has evolved this further, adapting the goal into making this information accessible on as many devices as possible. This is logical, appropriate and honest design. The more sites that are more readable on more devices is a win in my opinion, especially considering the dark days of the web. This is almost a good, or luxury, problem to have.

    As for moving forward, I do not feel for a second that digital design needs another epochal change, almost daily I am impressed by the quality of design being achieved on the web today, and little to none of that has to do with hollow ornamentation. All that needs to happen is for designers to better wield the tools they've always had: shape, colour, contrast, scale, balance, type etc. along with a splash of confidence. Mastering those is more than enough to create engaging designs, all without sacrificing the core function of communication.

    The web has had its Modern moment, the styles have been reset, and we should be embracing it, not trying to go back.

    P.S. Although I wrote this mainly in respect to web design, it could be applied to UI design in general.

    1 point