Compared to a decade ago, web design has become much easier and more accessible, allowing almost all businesses to have a stylish website in their quiver of promotional arrows for a relatively low cost.
However, as with any visual media form given enough time, certain conventions and niches have arisen and become seemingly fixed. The major players in social media, for example, all feature a prominent blue and white colour-scheme, with functionality to post content, make connections to other users, and share and/or react to the content of others.
Business websites have become similarly susceptible to generic conventions, often as a result of their form being derived from their function. A clothes website needs to prioritise a user's ability to easily scroll through clothes, see them from different angles and check the prices of items as if they were in a well-lit physical shop.
As a result, these sites feature large pages of images, often against a white background for minimal visual clutter, and with a filter at the top allowing users to sort through factors such as price, size and colour. Many storefronts, including commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon, are designed in this manner - often featuring a cropped image at the head of the page to visually break up the large amount of whitespace used.
Some web design aesthetics are built based on the familiarity of pre-internet media; news websites, even ones that exist solely on the internet such as BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post, often utilise the visual formatting conventions of newspapers and magazines, simply substituting links for jump lines. Whether this layout is the most efficient for garnering clicks, or whether it is primarily meant to make people who would normally read print newspapers feel less alienated, is hard to say.
However, whilst of course it is understandable that similar needs result in similar functionality, the aesthetic similarities between sites can make it hard for a website to remain memorable in the minds of its discerning customers or users.
Following the web design conventions of whichever industry you are in is a safe bet. If you want to make your website stand out as memorable in its own right, you may be able to retain the functionality needed for your site to be navigable while experimenting with the visual conventions that have become unremarkable and overused.
Keep In Mind
Experimenting with web design doesn't mean typing your text in Wingdings or selecting clashing colours. Certain conventions exist for a good reason. To discuss the advancements in web design, or to discuss a free audit of your online presence (including your existing website) please call us on 01332 343281.