the beautiful web: shuffling slowly into a brave new world?

Have you noticed how TV media is featuring a lot of web-style graphics recently?

I guess with the closely-tied relationship between web and TV content designers, we shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, the web is becoming …beautiful.
Noticed how beautiful the web is getting?

No, our web designers haven’t suddenly become more artistic or talented, they’ve just found new tools. But corporate designers are way, way behind…

Reinvention of the wheel is over

What has happened is the emergence into the mainstream of systems that provide the engine to drive the web.

This allows 90% of standard web functions to be simply picked and dropped onto a blank website. All tested and working – leaving the hard byte-by-byte coding that took so long and cost so much redundant.

Standardisation doesn’t mean a sterile web

None of this modulized back-end code is ever seen by a user browsing the site. All they’ll notice is everything just works better.

This is slashing development time and cost and the use of standard plugins – called widgets – to add every conceivable functionality is a further bonus.

Growing a new skin

But that in itself doesn’t make a beautiful web. What’s happening is that these standard engines are allowing the visual bits to be automated, too.

Instead of slow and costly pixel-by-pixel graphic design that left sites static for so long, we now have absolutely stunning designs using themes and templates.

These designs have liberated designers from the restrictions of poor back-ends and restricted, bug-ridden functionality. Now designers can design amazing sites, knowing if they stay within a broad landscape, anything’s possible.

Another Open Source revolution

Web design has long been driven by overpriced, heavy software overseen by strange, uncommunitive people with Apple Macs.

Now you simply move an Open Source block of code from the code provider to the web server and within 30 minutes your site is functional.

There’s no “stuck on a version five years old because of cost” excuse because these are updated regularly for free. And the Cloud-nature means that this work can be done anywhere on anything.

Power to the customer, not the web designer

The big payoff – apart from the initial much-reduced set-up cost is that users can update content themselves with ease.

Web designers had been reticent to provide too much access to their designs, grabbing a very lucrative bit of on-going business as a result.

This process is known as content management and allows for the site content and images to be manipulated on the sites within reason and also the re-skinning – or addition of new themes.

Some customisation by a web designer is necessary to make the site unique.

Not one – but three providers

Open Source is a vibrant arena for talent. Here, three CMS systems are available. WordPress, Drupal and Joomla all feature similar power, with WordPress and Joomla leading the way.

Anyone seen Global Enterprise PLC?

Strangely, given that global companies are paying out millions for web design, they are slow to pick up on this revolution. Most corporate sites just remain stuck in a web one-dot-zero world of staid design and low functionality.

I guess, as with everything, these guys will be the slowest people to wake up. Maybe their kids will show them the way…