I cut my web design teeth in the age of skeuomorphism1 and flip phones. It’s OK if you don’t know what skeuomorphism means because no one is ever going to talk about it seriously again. In those days (this is 2003-2008) there was a culture of one-upmanship at work among web designers. We were pushing the boundaries to introduce more realism - more feeling and warmth - to the web. Your website was meant to feel like a room that was specifically yours - with your posters on the wall and your coffee rings on the desk. It’s no surprise that the actual content and function of the website was largely ignored. How many times did you have to wait for a painfully slow flash website to load just so the designer could literally add a flicker to the lightbulb that was inexplicably included in the design?
Fast forward to now and web design has changed:
- Technologies have either improved greatly or been smothered with a pillow in their sleep (*cough* Flash *cough*).
- We can view the web on screens of ALL sizes - from watches to 4K TVs.
- Search has reached near AI levels, which means that content actually matters2 now and poor functionality will be punished.
- Web design is in an age of modernism. Interface design is being standardized3 in a big way as a mechanism to protect against a rapidly changing technology landscape.
These are big changes with big consequences. We have better tools to help us build unique web applications, but there is also a much higher standard of usability for those applications. The expectation is that we focus on real, meaningful content and leave interface design to the elite few at Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
So, in the new age of the internet where interface is standardized and a lady in a phone is doing our Google searching for us, how important is web design? The answer is a resounding Meh.
Web design is a jellyfish service - no backbone or substance.
My point is not that you don’t need good web design. My point is that good web design is ubiquitous. If you don’t already have it, you can get it on any street corner. If you’re in need of real help with your web presence, searching for “web design companies” doesn’t cut it any more. Ten years ago, there was that one neighbor’s kid who made web sites. Today literally every neighbor’s kid can build a website - and it will be quality design.
This is why every good web design company in Greenville, SC has stopped making web design a differentiator. The companies that were once “web design and SEO” companies are now custom web app developers, higher education marketing experts, branding agencies, or inbound marketing agencies. Everyone smart has jumped on a niche or vertical and they’re not looking back. Honestly, the only reason we’re still using the term “web design” in our content is because that’s what people are searching for! They don’t realize - you don’t realize - it’s not what you actually need.
I can’t tell you what you need in a blog post. What you really need depends on who you are and what you do. It depends on the thousand factors that make you different from the other guy. Waypost Marketing doesn’t sell web design and SEO anymore. Waypost Marketing sells a relationship and a lot of years of experience reaching people through the web. Our particular craft is commonly called inbound marketing, and it’s quite a concept. I invite you to read more about it on our website or contact us for a one-on-one discussion.