What's good web design?
It's quite interesting how things have evolved, especially for those who've been tinkering with web stuff and web design since the "beginning of time" or since web became available for the general public. For some of us it even goes further back, from the time when "design" was confined to what you could do on and with a Bulletin Board (BBS) menu screen. From the time when pixels were the size of Maryland cookies and number of colors very limited.
Indeed, things have become both advanced as well as complex, but in some respects the development have resulted in a form of design renaissance. Especially over the last few years. Mainstream look and feel of late seems to have been moving more in the direction of the mid 90s, on the surface that is, with large icons and menus, large graphics elements, yet with a touch and feel to make it stand out from the heritage of a distant, digital past, differ from moss-clad chapters and byte-wise history books.
Design does matter - but what's good design?
Rhetorical question, it cannot be answered, it's subjective, or it can only be answered with fragmented answers. There is no single right answer, no single truth to the question of design, whether from a lay-out, framework or overall web/body point of view. It all comes down to how things are connected, bound or "forged" together, like with art it's about balance and.... a trillion variables. Taste is it, just like with food, some like it spicy, others like it mellow or mild, some like strong colors, others couldn't give a damn about colors.
Someone told me the other day, while taking a look at my latest creation, which he did like by the way, yet.... he said... the new and modern design trend is... boring, and annoying. Looks like a first grader's ABC, filled to the brim with oversized letters and pictograms. Huge empty spaces that makes you wonder if people actually have stopped reading and, as much, creatively writing. Well I like challenges, customers and clients make some decisions, set some expectations, conditions, just as it should be .. and from there one works.
I can certainly appreciate the aforementioned angle, web development have simply followed in the paths of mass-media. Larger types, larger fonts, fewer words and more pictures. But this does work ... if used in the right context, it does work very well IF the feel is good, the site it logical, easy to use. Who wants to waste time wading through pages in desperate pursuit for stuff? Finding squat? Fewer and fewer.... and that is what right now drives development in the direction of pictogram based solutions, with big fonts, big pictures, menus and few'ish words.
But there is one other element to this as well, design today is geared towards optimal support for all sorts of devices, screen sizes and resolutions. Which is one key factor to consider when you aim for a web look and feel. Is this a bad thing? Of course not, but for me it's a little bit like returning to the mid 90s though with an arsenal of tech and scripts and stuff I could only dream of back then. Design has become more of an art form than before, behind the scenes as well as on the surface.
But what's good design? Your guess and view is as good as mine. However, good design is at least something complimentary, logical, with a sense of balance, simplicity, wholeness... that's about as precise as I can be. Annoying isn't it? Cheers :)