2006 Web Predictions Matt 09 Dec 2005

28 comments Latest by UnCenteredTextRules

2006 Predictions:

Andy Budd’s Web Design and Development Trends for 2006 (“Designs will soften, with more rounded corners, pastel colours and hinted boxes.” and “2006 is going to see Ruby on Rails development take off in a big way.”).

And Bold predictions for the savvy designer, 2006 edition ~ Authentic Boredom (on “that Fisher Price look”: “Big buttons, big text, big everything. Yes, it definitely has its place at times. But I wonder if we belittle users with visuals that implicitly say, ‘Hey, you’re too foolish to choose what to do next, so I’ve put a really big button right here just for you.’”).

28 comments so far (Jump to latest)

JF 09 Dec 05

I’ll add one: Centered text. You’ll see a lot of this in 2006.

Darrel 09 Dec 05

I predict 2006 will be yet another year of a lot of crappy corporate web sites oblivious to usability and accessibility issues and full cross browser support along with an overuse and abuse of Flash, Ajax and the like…though, yes, we’ll still have plenty of drop shadows.

Aaron K 09 Dec 05

I predict (and hope) that 2006 will be the year that businesses realize that you don’t need hundreds of useless pages to have a good website. Often times, 5-10 will do the trick. And this will save us coders the time of having to make clones of millions of pages and templates each year.

JF 09 Dec 05

I predict (and hope) that 2006 will be the year that businesses realize that you donít need hundreds of useless pages to have a good website. Often times, 5-10 will do the trick.

AMEN!!! Great call. As sites mature they should be getting SMALLER not bigger. Prune the dead pages. Get rid of the extra words. Cut the steps down.

I’ve been working on a post about this for awhile… Your comment will help jump start it again.

joelfinkle 09 Dec 05

Yes, users are so stupid as to require big friendly buttons.
At our webstore, we consistently get errors that would be no problem if people would read the buttons, follow the arrows and just plain pay attention.

And requiring users to type their email addresses twice? Useless. Both of them are wrong, full, invalid… and then the customer wants to know why we haven’t contacted them (and they do that by phone three months later).

Megan Holbrook 09 Dec 05

Iíll add one: Centered text. Youíll see a lot of this in 2006.

Centered text? Jeez, I hope not. It’s great for headlines, but of all the ways to make blocks of text unreadable, that’s one of the most effective. It just kills the speed at which text can be comprehended. If you have to set off a block of text in some way visually, please think about using indenting, not centering…

Good comment here: http://alicorna.com/content/view/14/45/#centered

DaleV 09 Dec 05

Megan: I think JF meant for heads of special instances (as in Basecamp) and not body text.

Mike Moscow 09 Dec 05

Somewhat off topic, but what the hell… Wireless iPods

MonkeyT 09 Dec 05

I predict (and hope) that 2006 will be the year that businesses realize that you donít need hundreds of useless pages to have a good website. Often times, 5-10 will do the trick.

Not likely. Nowadays, the single most important visitor to any corporate (or other) website is Google. Why? Because when it comes to the internet, and for the bulk of the population, Google has replaced word of mouth. Search engines like to read, they never tire of reading, and they don’t much care about visual aesthetics. Properly formatted, voluminous information increases the odds of random site traffic - which means money.

Fortunately, there are enough of us who do care about aesthetics that you’re likely to see some improvement in the web experience for both man and machine. Just expect more money to be spent on the machine front.

Aaron K 09 Dec 05

Not likely. Nowadays, the single most important visitor to any corporate (or other) website is Google. Why? Because when it comes to the internet, and for the bulk of the population, Google has replaced word of mouth. Search engines like to read, they never tire of reading, and they donít much care about visual aesthetics. Properly formatted, voluminous information increases the odds of random site traffic - which means money.

This is why 2006 will hopefully convince businesses that they need blogs on their sites as well. Easiest way to have your site crawled is to constantly update… without the need for insane amounts of pages.

AMEN!!! Great call. As sites mature they should be getting SMALLER not bigger. Prune the dead pages. Get rid of the extra words. Cut the steps down.

Glad to help out!

Rabbit 09 Dec 05

My heart turned heavy reading MonkeyT’s post.

I just got a new job (fired from the last one due to “difference of ethics and philosophy), and we currently have over 50 sites. They all pull from the same databases, so the information present on each site is essentially the same, but each is “themed” differently. (Quite disgusting if you ask me.)

Anyway, thank you Aaron K for the idea about the blog - this company could SO use one. And if it helps out with SEO then I might be able to get them away from having so many junk pages.

Also, I’m not so sure about MonkeyT’s assertion that Google has replaced word-of-mouth for the bulk of the population. Why do you think that? Any sources to back that up?

*sigh*

john 09 Dec 05

This is why 2006 will hopefully convince businesses that they need blogs on their sites as well.

Just curious if anyone ever reads Business Blogs? For something like 37 Signals, sure, we all do because of the industry. But have you ever read one for AT&T, or Comcast? What about GM, Ford, or Toyota? Would you if they had blogs?

It’s easy to fall into the trap that every website should have a blog, and only “5-10 pages”. In reality, websites should not be a cookie cutter experience. Unfortunately, most standards based websites look like we used a cookie cutter. Mine included.

I hope 2006 will push the boundaries of design creativity. Cause the web is starting to look like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. And there are far more blogs spewing out time-wasting boring crap, than entertaining informative meat and potatoes.

Aaron K 09 Dec 05

Just curious if anyone ever reads Business Blogs? For something like 37 Signals, sure, we all do because of the industry. But have you ever read one for AT&T, or Comcast? What about GM, Ford, or Toyota? Would you if they had blogs?

Depends what they’re writing about… if it’s quarterly earnings and account reports, then count me out. If they’re talking about upcoming products/services, wanting the publics’ opinions on something, or sharing good business tips, then I’d probably be all over it. Good point though.

Jiayao 09 Dec 05

Properly formatted, voluminous information increases the odds of random site traffic - which means money.

Google will come up with your site as long as the keywords are covered in your pages. Your site should cover the core set of keywords regardless of its size. Anyone finds it on google through this core set of keywards should be your primary target audience. You don’t really want someone type “porn” in the search box to find your site, do you?;-)

Pinder 09 Dec 05

My 2006 Web Prediction: More Predictive Systems. Especially for tagging, there’s lots of auto-suggestion type stuff, but I haven’t seen much predictive stuff.

For example, if you have tagged a record review at Pitchfork with ‘recordreview’ 5 times before, on the 6th time it would create a rule and autotag a Pitchfork recordreview with that tag.

Tomas Jogin 09 Dec 05

Google will come up with your site as long as the keywords are covered in your pages. Your site should cover the core set of keywords regardless of its size.
Um, yeah, but what about more than just the “core set” of keywords? What aboute other keywords (not ones in the “core set”), synonyms, etc?

A blog might be a good substitute for lots of pages though, or even an improvement of that.

John Schuster 09 Dec 05

Most web sites have a specific targeted audience. If you design your pages with the features that this specific audience prefers than you would rarely belittle them.

My prediction is that you are going to see more products and applications connecting to the web for data and content updates in ways that we haven’t even thought of yet. Web sites will become more like content portals for many devices. And google will buy an island.

MonkeyT 10 Dec 05

Google will come up with your site as long as the keywords are covered in your pages. Your site should cover the core set of keywords regardless of its size. Anyone finds it on google through this core set of keywards should be your primary target audience. You donít really want someone type ďpornĒ in the search box to find your site, do you?;-)

But would a business prefer one of their pages turn up in Google or seven or eight of their pages? I’m not suggesting a good useful website will turn to frivlous, off-topic or even pornographic content to try to lure unwary victims: I’m strictly white-hat when it comes to SEO. I’m saying that web sites are much like a shopping mall - It’s easier to pull potential customers from ten feet off the sidewalk than from six miles away in their homes. Customers who ‘walk-in’ through off-topic searches are ‘found money’ if and only if you can move them simply and efficiently to the more targeted areas of your website.

The most effective improvement in a wesite redesign is often using a simpler, friendlier navigation rather than cutting your available inventory of information. This is by no means an easy thing to do.

While online sales have increased year over year, using the internet to research purchases has increased at a dramatically greater rate. You don’t want to limit that trend. As customers grow comfortable finding information on the internet, most greatly prefer to get information that way instead of actually having to speak to a live person. Who tracks down a store manager face-to-face if they don’t absolutely have to? If a customer can find the answer to their own question, they come away not only better informed, they feel empowered. This is a good thing. The trick is making it easy for them to find that answer, no matter how obscure it is. I wouldn’t be overly surpirsed to see large sites split themselves into two distinct web sites: One being simple and direct and consumer oriented, the other being search/tag driven - more of an archival nature - and heavily optimised for direct access via search engines (with a very simple and obvious way to return to the live site). You want a trend? Subdomains are going to be more prominent to the general public, and useful to boot. (Fun for webmasters: Interpret ‘searchterm.domain.com’ as if it were ‘domain.com?search=searchterm’. Even casual customers would remember this ability.)

If someone can walk through the door because an obscure item found through a search engine, the goal should be to move them easily to the more important/current/relevant parts of your website, not to decrease the odds of it happening again.

Nick Toye 10 Dec 05

I predict that clients will want more Comic Sans, Animated Gifs, More use of the Marquee tool, and lots of bevelled images of people in offices and factories.

Brent 11 Dec 05

I just saw an Edward Tufte seminar where he challenged web designers to make content consist of 90% of the website space on a screen. I think this is sensory overload and is antithethical to the 37signals approach (and google and much of Web 2.0) where simple, ease of use and intuitiveness rules. I think that in 2006 more websites will convert their interface to simplicity and usability, and move away from information overload.

Nick Toye 11 Dec 05

Back to the wide open spaces, something I am keen to see.

Aaron Huslage 11 Dec 05

This is all very interesting. I predict that the predictions of the predictors will most likely come true. True innovation comes from those who do this stuff day-to-day and are successful at it. The ‹bergeeks who predict this stuff are always at it to promote their own ideas, which is more than fine, but it also leads to many self-fulfilling prophecies.

The truth is that most web-design _is_ cookie cutter for one reason or another. Firms like 37signals seem to get this almost religiously and aim to break the mold. This works for about 5% of the companies that have websites (not a bad market share mind you). The others just want to have the same design as their competitors. This is somewhat antethetical to reality where good, innovative design would be more likely to set these companies apart.

The fact, in my opinion, is that most companies just plain don’t care about good design or any design other than something that is mildly functional. They never ask the questions about, for instance, the relationship between site usability and page count.

I think that good design is key and that good information architecture is key. The fact is that most companies who pay the bills could care less. They just want something pretty.

Jens Meiert 12 Dec 05

Like in every other year, we will encounter positive as well as negative surprises. I’d love to see more focus on user-centered design, but that’s something I always do.

Helen, web designer 13 Dec 05

I predict that 2006 will be the year when web managers realize that simplicity is the way to attract even more people into the world web. Hence design will lose a bit in creativity.

Helen, web designer 13 Dec 05

I predict that 2006 will be the year when web managers realize that simplicity is the way to attract even more people into the world web. Hence design will lose a bit in creativity.

Jim Amos 15 Dec 05

Am I the only one who thinks centered text just looks like bad poetry? There’s no advantage to centering your text, and may in fact impede reading/scanablity somewhat. I’m sick of looking at footer links etc that look like Haiku’s!

And on the subject of SEO - you don’t necessarily need a blog to compete with the various SEO tricks (which are all pretty retarded if you ask me) - you just need good, clean, concise code, with the correct meta information, plenty of quality links (not link farms!), constantly updated content that has real value to the people viewing it etc. I hope google eventually come up with a way of just ignoring any information that is obviously just SEO crap. They have the power to make the internet a much, much better place - then we can concentrate on delivering great content instead of paying ‘experts’ a ton of money for such a meaningless venture.

Ryan Schroedr 16 Dec 05

I just saw an Edward Tufte seminar where he challenged web designers to make content consist of 90% of the website space on a screen.

Did Tufte say content = 90% of the space or information = 90% of the content? The later seems more Tufte (and 37s) like.

UnCenteredTextRules 16 Dec 05

Hmmm, want to keep this civil, not flame 37S… I don’t really want a “setting” in Basecamp to “un-center” the text, so how about a vote… Does anyone besides JF et al like the new centered text in Basecamp?

For me, it’s just mildly annoying, but I just feel like it’s the equivalent of Apple’s brushed metal, it’s being forced on it’s users despite the fact that no one 1) asked for it 2) prefers it to the old format. My eyes go to where I expect to find the title of a page (top left) and find dead space, then I re-adjust and find the title. Like I said, just mildly annoying, if every site did this, I would just become a carpenter and unplug.

Pretty much the only gripe I have about BC… what’s wrong with Left Aligned? I don’t get it…

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