Emerging Technologies and Trends in Website Design
Unit 5, Section 2, Overview
Before moving on to the rest of the content head over to the Unit 5, Section 2, assessment page to answer a few quiz questions.
In this module, we will describe some of the latest emerging trends in web design. Let’s get started.
The first trend is the use of web cards. The concept is reshaping how we consider distributing information, making use of the familiar card format. Outside of just searching and providing text-driven information, there is a drive to personalize information to the specific user. This also means reshaping and personalizing how the information is delivered to users. Think playing cards, baseball cards, and even card catalogs. It’s information succinctly presented in card format, which utilizes multimedia and text in a card view. The genesis for this is the move to mobile computing and devices and the aggregate nature of user experience. The aggregation depends on the person and interests defined by previous user behavior, their location, interests and preferences of their friends, and targeted marketing associated with the demographic factors. Let’s look at some examples.
Google Now represents the next step in customizing information you want to use. It is designed as an application that allows you to choose what information you want to see and deliver it in card format. Note the imagery it projects and how little text there is.
Let’s take a closer look. Outside of the striking visual design, the real key behind the card-based delivery is the integration of information sources into a dashboard and then delivering the information into card views.
Here is a dashboard content presented in the form of cards.
Next is responsive web design, which places the responsibility of displaying correctly on the website itself. In other words, it’s designed to respond to the device that is trying to access it. There are six primary factors behind why responsive design is so important:
- It is flexible and fluid for mobile usage and does not require a separate mobile site.
- It helps ensure a positive user experience independent of device.
- It emphasizes integration with social networking software.
- It helps facilitate search engine optimization.
- It helps ensure speedy download and interaction times.
- It’s prepared to meet the demands of future devices that is predicated on screen size and not the device itself.
Web 3-0, as we can call it, focuses on data aggregation about you from multiple sources and is largely driven by your own preferences. This new web shifts the traditional paradigm away from one desktop browser view of a single document to a more graphical multimedia experience. According to Longanecker, there are three major UEx, or user experience, drivers: the mobile boom, appification of the web and the rise of storytelling and visceral design. The mobile boom signifies again the move away from a single device to multiple devices in ways that consume the web and information. This, of course, changes the way we can interact with content as mobile devices lack the standard mouse and keyboard, which requires a different way of presenting and interacting with information. So, for example, both Flipboard and Pinterest remove navigation entirely in favor of a graphical menu of options, perfect for clicking with our fingers on a touchscreen. Let’s look at some examples.
Note here that the Flipboard screen’s navigation is the content itself: visually appealing with very little text space scanning and reading necessary, is mostly visual and flexible in terms of mobile or desktop computing.
The use of cards for Pinterest again is evident: images first and foremost supplemented by text.
Appification is where a wide array of computing devices, especially mobile devices, meets responsive design and the improved capabilities of browsers. This allows for delivery of usable interfaces on different devices, such as turning links on a web page to buttons on a mobile device. Apps or app-like interactions and interface designs are becoming pervasive and blurring the lines of web pages experience on a computer versus mobile device. In the end, the integration will become so complete that it simply doesn’t matter anymore.
Previous design standards would say that long, scrolling pages are a usability no-no. The design of immersive experiences, however, suggests that the standard will need to be revisited. Web pages of the future no longer mean just reading information, but will include experiencing whatever the content is that is being discussed. So for example, I recently published an online article that included embedded video of the researchers I was citing. Why should I just paraphrase when I can have the researchers themselves explain a concept to you?
This New York Times article blends images, animation, video, and graphics with text to help tell the story in an immersive, compelling fashion. You have to experience it to believe it. Go to the link included in this video transcript or Google “Snow Fall, New York Times article.”
As the research between adults and youth preferences for the web continue to grow, the role of emotional design will continue to become more and more important. Emotions drive much of human behavior, and the emotional effect of a website’s design can have a major impact on how much time we spend and how often we return to a particular site. For youth, emotional design has to do with trust and confidence as well as interest. For adults, we are more goal-oriented but also build emotional relationships with many things in our lives and ascribe attractiveness, competence, and trust to things that move us, as advertisers have long already figured out. This image immediately strikes us as cute and adorable and as clearly selling the beauty of the country. The visual is striking, and notice very few words on the page. Don Norman’s book “Emotional Design” suggests that things that we find attractive increases creativity and our tolerance of minor difficulties. Aesthetics have long been an essential usability standard. The goal is to not just find information, but also feel it too.
Again, the image of the young tiger cub engenders powerful emotions and packs the message of “Stop wildlife crime” with a major punch. Who would not want to save this cub? The aesthetics are also beautiful and pleasing. Again, note that the words take up very little of the web page. Norman suggests that there are three levels of visual design. The visceral level is the initial instinctive and first impression a user has: What feeling does the visual design first engender? The behavioral level is the next step where, outside of the visual appeal: Are the feelings relevant and does it resonate at a deeper level? And the reflective level is the final overall impression: Will the site be remembered, talked about, and most importantly used to generate more interaction between user and the site?
Remember that ultimately technology serves the needs of people. And as users you have a lot of say in terms what ultimately you want to use. Your preferences and needs are part of a large aggregate of users that will ultimately determine where web trends ultimately end up. Use what you want to use and use it in ways that are sensible to you. As an information scientist, it’s hard for me to depart from the focus of getting information into the hands of users as quickly and efficiently as possible. My research has told me that visual designs are more important for younger users. I guess the format and shape of how information is delivered efficiently with high usability remains to be seen as our technology continues to grow and evolve.
This marks the end of our final module. Thank you for joining me on this journey. And, please, do not forget to complete the review session, participate in the discussion forum, look at any readings, and do the hands-on activity. There’s also a final MOOC test that helps summarize all of the five units. Also, please do take a moment to complete our feedback survey and let us know how we did and how we can improve. I’m Dr. Chow signing off now. Thank you.