Published by Michael Buckley, Creative Director • 2 years ago
The first iPhone became commercially available in 2008, and in 2009, only 0.7% of people were viewing websites on a mobile device. Nearly a decade later, in 2018, 52.2% of people reported viewing webpages from their mobile devices.
Over the years, Harborside has created dozens of websites for our products and clients. A decade ago, the furthest thing from our minds was how these sites appeared on mobile devices or smartphones. However, today, creating sites with a mobile-first experience is a standard in media and in Harborside’s overall design strategy.
The dramatic shift in user information consumption has changed the landscape of what web designers once had down pat. However, the primary purpose of a website remains—to provide information to a user in a clear, easy-to-use format. The challenges of designing and developing modern-day websites can be at once challenging and exciting. There are many problems to solve, such as menu navigation solutions, dynamic content, and seamless user experience. Users must be able to find what they need quickly and easily.
Major design elements that have changed for web design with the shift towards mobile are the organization of content and the placement of valuable information. For example, on Harborside’s largest news-driven site, ascopost.com, the navigation bar was designed to resonate with the many ways our audience may look for content—by disease state, or medical meeting the news was presented at, or video or podcast offerings. Gone are the days of the traditional F pattern and over-the-top graphics—instead, scrolling behavior and interactive elements are the focus of a successful user experience. Simple ideas we take for granted now, such as the "hamburger" menu icon, were a point of contention not too long ago. It was not self-evident to every user the intended function of the hamburger icon as a symbol for menu navigation. As designers, it's our responsibility to push ideas forward, while accommodating the needs of our users. A solution to this problem was to add the phrase MENU in combination with the icon and invest in the belief that eventually, designers could remove the word MENU once users became used to such a function.
What to Look for Next
We can try our best to predict where the future of web design is going, but there's no guarantee a game-changing technology isn’t around the corner, waiting to unravel all that we think we have learned. The best we can do is stay up to date with technology and trends while learning how to apply these changes to improve the user experience.
If you like this article, check out some of my others at Medium.com/@micbuckcreative.