posted by | on Articles | Comments Off on Turning The Web On Its Head: 3 “New” Design Elements

It is so easy for an internet marketing firm like Caulfield & Co to get caught up in the tedious monotony of web design. When it comes to the web, sometimes it seems like there are only so many options out there. Flash websites don’t work on mobile browsers, and what’s more, they often look cheesy and out of place. Microsoft’s Silverlight was a good try at creating interactive websites, but ultimately their concept failed as well. Finally, because there are so few groundbreaking web design ideas out there, clients typically have the same general idea of what they want their website to look like, which only serves to increase the amount of cookie-cutter websites that are on the web. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle which is very hard to break out of. That’s why it’s so refreshing to hear from a business that wants to think outside of the box and completely re-envision how their piece of the internet should work: it gives designers a chance to dust off their creative hat and really create something special.

Here are 3 classic elements we expect to see, and why they’re killing design creativity:

1. The Search Bar

I cannot think of the number of times that a search bar has forced me to drum-down my website to a duller, more mainstream design. The actual search bar isn’t so big in and of itself, but for a designer, it becomes far too tempting to draw a horizontal line right across the website in order to “contain” the search bar. Make no mistake: When you make a big horizontal line in the middle of your website, you greatly limit the number of creative choices available to you. Think of implementing the search bar in a way that doesn’t cut up your website into tiny sections. For example, in one website, I threw the search bar up as high as I could, integrating the search bar into the much larger illustration of a fun outdoors scene. The search bar looked like a sign hanging from one of the clouds, and it kept it out of the way of the rest of the website, while making it visible to the casual user.

2. Horizontal & Vertical Navigation Bars

This one almost comes so naturally to designers that we don’t even stop to think about it. After all, what other options are there, if not a horizontal or vertical navigation bar? How are we supposed to navigate through the website without this staple of the internet? It’s easy. Think about how you interact with objects every day: your phone, your printer, your car. Hopefully you have no trouble operating those devices, despite their distinct lack of horizontal or vertical navigation bars. Why is that? Intuitive interfaces. For most big companies, there’s an entire department built for the sole purpose of creating products that are intuitive for the user to immediately use. Apple has bet nearly all of its money on creating products that are easy to use, right from the start. There’s no reason why the web can’t be the same. For example, you’ve got a restaurant who wants a new design. Instead of busting out your friends the horizontal and vertical bars, stop and think about what the company is and how it interacts with users. At a restaurant, people choose things all the time from a real-world menu. Why not make your own menu bar work the same way? The content could load on the right side of the restaurant menu, and the navigation could be located on the right. Appetizers could be subtitled “About Us”, Entrees could be subtitled “Our Services”…you get the picture.

3. The Top-Right Corner Logo

In the old internet of 1997, the only way of getting people to know your brand was to stick your logo in the top-right corner of the website. Those times are long and gone, so if you’re simply slapping your logo up there without thinking about why you’re doing it, then congrats! You’re one step closer to a boring, monotonous website. In today’s world, we see logos everywhere, and not always in the same places. A clean, sleek design is reduced to tedium by a blocky logo at the top. If the website is so sleek and modern, why not trim down the logo some, and readapt it near the bottom-right corner? If you have a location-based design (an office desk, a bulletin board, etc) why not integrate your logo into one of the objects (such as the cream in a coffee cup?) It will show up just as vibrantly as before, and clients will notice and appreciate what the avant-garde choice says about your company.

Looking to bring some new life into your website, but aren’t sure how? Contact us and see how we can help!