The diminishing importance of web design

The design of ‘the web page’ as it’s sometimes called is no longer the centre of connected experiences or the conversations consumers are having with brands. Over time it has become more and more irrelevant and incredibly shortsighted.

The history of ‘The web page’ is based on static content that needs to be found and visited. This is a pre-2000 pull-based concept filled with dated principles and legacy patterns. But as emerging technologies continue to discover faster more efficient ways to push content to customers, (biometrics, wearables, contextual awareness, social) the web page is no longer the default priority for business wanting a stronger relationship with its audience.

The truth is, we need better accuracy and more relevancy from websites today to drive customer engagement. There is an overwhelming amount of generic web page content out there that is competing for our attention and organisations are still selfishly making you work to find what’s most important. Why should customers devote their attention to a web page they have to decode, interpret and decipher when time is of the essence and a very specific problem or need must be addressed?

For example. If I start an experience at home on my laptop that requires thought, focus and active participation, then continue that experience on my phone or tablet as I take the train to work, what happens?  As soon as my environment, context of use and behaviour changes then all of a sudden I have very different needs and expectations. Yet I’m still looking at the same experience as before. Sure it’s now responsive and displays nicely but so was the site on my laptop. What’s changed? Presentation of course, but what about the adaptability which addresses any of the above? A provocative subject I'm sure.

Adapting experiences to the changing contexts and behaviours of people is no easy task; humans make decisions in a non-linear and complex manner. Contextual factors as mentioned plus socio-economic status, family dynamics, career and personal outlook or life aspirations, deeply influence every single touch point of a customer's digital journey. We all know this right?

This is not to say that web pages will die. For a simple marketing site or blog using responsive design is most definitely the way forward. Web pages in this format will continue to exist and serve some sort of purpose, but customers are becoming less and less tolerant and more and more impatient when a site is required do more.

Over the last 6-8 years the transition as we all know has been from traditional web design to experience design, web pages to web and native apps, not to mention The Connection of Things as I like to call it, revolving around ecosystems, products, utilities and tools.

So having said that it's now time to grow up as we’ve all been part of the problem. Now more than ever, in a world flooded with cognitive noise, organisations need to dramatically simplify and predictively personalise smaller, more digestible amounts of information to consumers more contextually than ever.

Native apps are of abundance and the app store some are saying is reaching critical mass. Therefore, we need to realise and come to terms with the fact that we must create more emotional moments for customers from web experiences. These moments must form a series of interactive conversations that engage, build trust, empower, surprise and delight anytime, every time, everywhere.