Web Design Today is Awful — Here’s Why, and Here’s the Fix

The Ploughman, Cecil Aldin (1870-1935)

A friend invited my thoughts on web design. She’s creating a new web site and wants to do it right. Here’s my response, edited slightly:

Dear _____ ,

A strong personal prejudice – I comprehensively HATE the modern web design trend of creating sites with big horizontal blocks that destroy the natural flow of communication and force the reader to scroll and scroll and scroll.

In all design you HAVE to tell the reader where to look next. Same principle as for photo layouts – you need to tell the viewer’s eye where to look first. Otherwise you’re just hanging pictures on a gallery wall and letting people roam around at random.

Because God and Paramhansa Yogananda have deactivated the brain cells in my skull that would otherwise be dedicated to design matters, I favor NOT creating over-designed websites with tremendous battleship-size banners. “Look at me!”

Web design today is in a horrible state — but that just gives savvy communicators an advantage.

  1. Typography. Web typography is so HORRIBLE today, with light-gray type, that browsers now have built-in Reader View functions to turn unreadable pages into nice, big serif type.
  2. Among websites that HAVE to communicate, or that really WANT to, a common approach is to make the design including the header quite modest and subdued but attractive, and then let the ART contained in the content provide the visual uplift in a functional way.

Do some browsing – you’ll find that the websites that don’t give you a headache are following these very simple principles. A website has to be reasonably attractive, but not in a way that fights the viewer on every page. The essence of good taste is understatement.

The 10 websites I manage vary from butt-ugly in their frameworks to adequately attractive. But their simplicity frees me to take joy in finding art that provides the visual fun.

I use the GeneratePress framework because it takes a LOT of the work out of my hands, is well supported and cheap, and is easy to use for non-designers. Here’s my affiliate link: https://generatepress.com/?ref=745.

Here’s a site where I explain the tools I use: https://www.convertingwoothemescanvas.com/.

Hope this helps. Keep it simple so you can focus on content!

Blessings,

Rambhakta

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