Is it possible to futureproof websites by keeping them simple?
Websites of all kinds have undergone rapid change and evolution in recent years. We ask if it is possible to build a website that will not be subject to future changes and trends on the internet.
The recent trend has been to to revert to a minimalist approach in website design: to provide only the few things that users actually need on a website, and to provide these things well.
The reasons behind this are quite obvious really. There is so much noise on the internet these days. It is hard to get noticed, and every day there are more and more publishing sites online, trying to get noticed.
That being said, it is still the case that web design is in a contant state of flux. Websites are always evolving with new technologies and that's great. But it does mean that people have to reinvest in and reinvent their websites all the time in order to keep up to speed with the latest trends.
Branding, typography and graphic design are just as important as they have ever been and this will continue to be the case. There isn't really any alternative to having well designed graphical assets.
Websites will typically rely less on stock photography as even though stock photographs are more readily available and cheaper than ever, people are also far more capable of taking their own photos with their smartphones.
The good thing about graphical assets is that they reusable and even if you go through a website migration or a serious upgrade you can probably keep the majority of your logos and branding materials.
The reality is that the internet and trends move so quickly that the best way to futureproof your website is by greatly simplifying what you use it for. If you are a hotel you probably just need a brochure and a booking and payments system. If you are an online store you just need a simple site that facilitates transactions and allows you to manage your inventory.
Your website may be even simpler.
The important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as 'futureproofing' because no one knows what the future holds, they can only make best guesses.
By keeping things simple you are reducing the long term cost of upgrading and modernising what you already have. This is what many large companies are now realising and being forced to deal with, it also the main focus of new tech companies as you can see with the websites of DepopDepop and TrivagoTrivago.
The lesson to be learned from these exmples is that websites are far more relevant to their users when they are clearly focused on their own purpose and content rather than trying to do too many things at once. There are obviously exceptions for enormous tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter that allow users to do all kinds of things but in most instances the user stories for a website should be short, clear, and not overcomplicated.
There is no reason to get fruity without a need for it.