Every process has its share of myths. These are passed from one professional to another and very soon many of these myths become gospel. Take the case of web design. There have been plenty of myths doing the rounds right since the time this process first made its appearance. As the process of web design evolved, so did the various myths associated with it. Some of them, overtime, have been kicked into the dustbin of history, but there are others that continue to interfere with the thinking process of designers. We are well into 2013 and its time that that we kick many of these myths to where they belong – in the dustbin. Let’s take an oath this year for not subscribing to many of the myths that we mistakenly were giving importance to, while designing our sites.
Myth 1: Great Web Design is heavy on the graphic
This myth has been going around for ages. This erroneous belief that the more the number of graphics you use, the better your website looks, should be thrown out of the window. It’s the quality of the graphics used, the way they are used and their ability to generate the necessary impact is what is important. You can’t pack your website with graphics and hope to get away with. The use of graphics only works if it makes sense. Otherwise, it only interferes with the UX of the site.
Myth 2: Content is King, Animation needs to be avoided
Yes, content is important and it is king, but that doesn’t mean you mustn’t touch animation/audio/Java with a barge pole. There are some, who believe website content is just the textual content that we see on the site, but that’s a wrong belief; content includes everything on a website that delivers information. It includes text, images, videos, audio and even animation. If you believe an interesting animation will enhance the delivery of the website’s message, by all means go ahead and use it. If it’s good there is absolutely no harm in making it a part of your website’s content offering.
Myth 3: Text is boring, minimize its use
I see some websites that look beautiful but make no sense at all. That’s because there was very little text on the pages that allowed me to make sense of the website and understand what it was trying to say. It is important to understand that textual content is as important a part of design as its visual elements. Both complement each other. If you focus on one for the other, the design loses its plot. It fails to make an impression.
Myth 4: Great Design is about making the website look good
Yes, it’s about making the website look good, but by having such a narrow view of the designing process and its objectives, you won’t be doing it justice. Don’t degrade designing to just decoration because it’s more about the function rather than the form. Think about it for a second, the fact that you are actually ‘using” design to understand the website better and move through it, means it has tremendous functional value as well.
Myth 5: There is no Right or Wrong in web design
The problem is that some designers see web design as an art. In this case, there is nothing right or wrong, and everything is subjective. So, if a web design fails to generate impact, it’s just plain bad luck. This sort of thinking might have worked in the past, but it doesn’t any longer. Web design has progressed to being a process that is more of a problem solver. All successful designs are user driven and are based on a thorough understanding of how a target user thinks and how they will perform tasks on the website. There is a lot more to website design then just knowing what images to pick and the font styles that must be used. Modern day web design also includes user-research, usability testing and even prototyping. It’s both a science and an art
So, there is definitely a right and wrong in web design. You can’t get away by seeing there isn’t. That’s just taking the easy way out.
Myth 6: In web design, do as the client says
The core objective of your design process is to follow the clients brief. But, remember the client is not the designer, you are. You are the one who is aware of the various technicalities of the process and your experience in the domain means you know what will work and what will not. If you think a certain client expectation doesn’t make sense, you are duty bound to let your client know. As a designer, you don’t need to follow the clients order to the letter, but must work with the client to come up with a designing concept that takes care of all client needs and is also perfect from the designing perspective as well.
Myth 7: The 3 second Paranoia
Now there is some study that suggests visitors wait for only 3 seconds for your web page to load otherwise they will move on to some other site. I have nothing against this study, but definitely a problem with the effect that it has had on the psyche of web designers. The 3 second finding is something that tells designers to not use unnecessary design elements that will affect the loading time of their website. This doesn’t mean you limit your designing endeavors and not use a particular element because it might have effect on the page speed. If it’s important it should be there, otherwise it shouldn’t. Simple! Don’t get paranoid about the 3 second rule; just ensure your site loads quickly. Just don’t make your visitors wait for a long time.
If you have been following these myths, it’s time that you un-follow them immediately. Let 2013 be the year where designing myths have been busted to chart a new and improved direction for web design. Say no to myths and yes to clear thought out, logically deduced web design processes.