Copy – Paste: Nowadays all websites look alike. Why?
Is there a way for your website to stand out in the ocean that is today’s internet? What are the reasons that most websites these days share so many elements as far as aesthetics and content are concerned? What are the most important points that you should pay attention to and what you should avoid to achieve a successful and differentiated web design?
Web design 15 years ago
During the last decade CMS, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc., weren’t so widespread. All these content management systems are based on templates. At the time, designers were struggling to design, with very little technology available, and, in essence, by applying graphic design on the browser.
The result was particularly interesting: an internet environment that looked like broken mosaic pieces. With every click came a layout surprise and a much differentiated web design for the most part. This can be confirmed here: https://www.webdesignmuseum.org. There certainly were plenty of failed executions but at the time this was of small significance.
How we got to today
Times are hard without a doubt and the risk of an investment is big. The market is brimming with solutions and there is a great number of suggestions for consumers. Digital marketing is getting bigger day by day and the traditional means are becoming obsolete.
The strong need for digital promotion is leading many businesses and professionals to rushed and cheap choices.
We, designers, also fall into the same trap. The short delivery time of a project in combination with a quick sell end up a mediocre result.
They are finished, already designed websites which are available for sale to prospective clients, at particularly low prices and, usually, with minimal intervention from the designers. Even the content can be adjusted within the template.
Standardized UX (User Experience)
Market trends and mass production websites create design standards that frequently end up as a “visual habit”, meaning I’m getting accustomed to like what I see more often.
On the one hand this mentality doesn’t allow those who are interested in websites to deal with something visually different in a positive and unaffected manner and on the other hand designers don’t dare to try something different. Thus, everyone chooses the safest solution, which, however, is commonplace.
Everything sacrificed for the sake of SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has requirements and strict instructions, with measurable results. If we follow step by step the instructions set by SEO experts (who in many cases significantly help commercial websites’ sales) we’ll end up with an extremely standardized layout which will serve a search engine (Google) but will disappoint the visitor.
“…design standards that frequently end up as a “visual habit”, meaning I’m getting accustomed to like what I see more often.”
Differentiated Web design: Internet is an Ocean. What do you do to stand out?
It takes boldness to create something special. It’s a matter of decision that the prospect business needs to make and the website should be their means of expression.
Investment. Developing something different and a differentiated website is an investment in money, resources and knowledge.
Content. Content is King. Texts need to communicate to the audience everything one wants to say and in the way one wants to say it.
Authenticity. Use correct and real photos. Stock images are a solution but in many cases this is a commonplace. Not everyone might own the perfect office or a store straight out of Pinterest but what is displayed is his/her own. As far as videos are concerned they need to have a specific style and tell one’s story.
What about budget? In the era of open source the free purchase of code has compressed the development cost. This wasn’t the case in the past. It’s in the designers’ and the development team’s imagination to smartly manage these resources and create a differentiated result. Many times it simply takes more imagination and boldness to create something different.
Below is an example of authentic work and content where a much differentiated web design and user experience were created. This was developed in WordPress without the use of a template.
In order to stand out, one needs to have something to narrate, that is a story, something that truly is his or hers. Dare to say your own story through a differentiated web design.
At Mdesigners we believe in open communication between prospect clients and designers, aiming at creating visual identities and experiences that will move and inspire their audience.