Home Forums Tech talk Why does every website look the same?

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 151 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1212636
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    bb1, post: 254205, member: 53375 wrote:
    A bit like when I started this gig, I went to the JD dealer and said I want a RO to do the day to day, he pointed to the $7K model and said this is what all the contractors are using, I pointed to the $20K model and said why aren’t they using that, he basically said its $20K and no need for that much grunt.

    I spent $20K and was completing jobs in half the time of others (but still charging more), and was able to do more of the jobs others had to knock back, so my client base shot up very quickly. Not long after a few of the sheep started following.

    Not really an innovator, but thinking outside the square and not following all of the sheep, which I think we have agreed is what web developers have become.

    “thinking outside the square” is a much better way of putting it. You don’t need to be another Steve Jobs.

    #1212637
    El Arish Tropical Exotics
    Member
    • Total posts: 227
    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 254193, member: 78928 wrote:
    Indeed [USER=38207]@Greg_M[/USER],

    That’s one of the reasons I selected a Whippet instead of a Basenji

    It is worth stating that a lot of the designs look good as off the shelf themes but people butcher them.

    But from the non-design point of view, those that leave them fairly stock miss out on the basics sometimes such as Name, Address Phone number, ABN, Returns and Shipping Policies, Privacy and Trading Terms etc.

    As well, they are constructed from a design point of view which typically means fewer words – consumers often like more words so their is sometimes a built in conflict of goals.

    I hope you had a great New Year Greg.

    Totally agree on the huge evocative images with little text. They may work for some types of aspirational ecommerce but information is what most people want. And of course they have longer load time with no keywords or content.

    I have a feeling that they will date very quickly.

    Ann

    #1212638
    Zava Design
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,461

    Many websites look the same for the following reasons, none of it rocket science:

    1) Using off the shelf templates – Something I personally have never done, nor have any interest in doing, as I believe every design should be client objectives and target audience driven, however I know many are more concerned with budget than effectiveness. But that’s not my target market, nor ever has been, which is probably smart since most of the bottom budget ranges will move to services such as Squarespace and the like more and more.

    (One pet hate I do have is when a “designer” is not open with their clients that they use off the shelf templates rather than original designs, I do regard that as ethically questionable…)

    2) Client’s driving a particular design style – Sometimes no matter how much you explain to a client why one particular, possibly more unique, style may be perfect for their specific objectives and target audience, in the end they are paying the bill. I am extremely honest with my clients, I have been told one of the key elements of why I have so many clients either referring me or returning for repeat business, so I will be honest with them about their preference for an overly common style or similar if I believe it won’t contribute to their business. But in the end, the final choice is their’s. Most do listen to me and accept my professional advice, while some do not. Their choice.

    3) Usability practices that web users have come to expect on a website, many of which do actually come from some fairly in-depth usability studies so do have merit. This would include things such as the main menu being either at the top of down the left side, the main message/content being top of page …etc.

    And you can see this in practice in anything that is “designed”. Look how newspapers all have a similar style, magazine covers, even book covers. And consider Apple’s guidelines on design app interfaces, they are very strict for a reason. Yes you can find those that differ from the “norm”, but in the end designing a website should be lead from a usability & function perspective, not a visual one, you’re creating a business tool, not art.

    I would also add in that many businesses feel they simply “have to” have a website up with no real thought into what it needs to do for them, in which case it is only about the cost which means that anything original is not a factor. And in some instances, with a “zero” budget, it would probably have been better to maybe simply stick with a facebook page. Though then you also need to take into account doing at least the occasions updates. But many bars I know (as one example) don’t have a website at all, and re-direct their domain name to their facebook page, which they use for their online marketing and communications, and it works very effectively for them. Once again, that decision comes from recognising how best they can reach their target audience and communicate what they need to communicate.

    #1212639
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104
    Greg_M, post: 254127, member: 38207 wrote:
    I do get a little annoyed when web designers/developers don’t own up to using these tools…

    Why?

    It’s about efficiency.

    You can have your Zinger burger in 2 minutes or you can wait half a day while they catch the chicken, neck it, pluck it, gut it, clean it, cook it, then crumb and season it.

    #1212640
    Zava Design
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,461
    John Romaine, post: 254303, member: 39536 wrote:
    Why?

    It’s about efficiency.

    You can have your Zinger burger in 2 minutes or you can wait half a day while they catch the chicken, neck it, pluck it, gut it, clean it, cook it, then crumb and season it.
    Because they’re not being open about what they’re doing. They’re not being honest that they’re serving a McDonalds burger rather than a personally cooked meal (to use your analogy). Up to the paying clinet what they choose but they should be choosing from an informed position, I see more than a few service providers not being completely open with their clients.

    There are HUGE differences in the “product” they’re being served (to continue the analogy a little…).

    #1212641
    El Arish Tropical Exotics
    Member
    • Total posts: 227
    Zava Design, post: 254309, member: 34615 wrote:
    Because they’re not being open about what they’re doing. They’re not being honest that they’re serving a McDonalds burger rather than a personally cooked meal (to use your analogy). Up to the paying clinet what they choose but they should be choosing from an informed position, I see more than a few service providers not being completely open with their clients.

    There are HUGE differences in the “product” they’re being served (to continue the analogy a little…).

    What if they are equal in efficiency at their “job” and the client can’t tell the difference between takeaway and Billy Kwong or doesn’t care? Personally, if it looks good I don’t care if it’s a tweaked template.

    I used to worry more about looks (my first two were beautiful and bespoke) but now I’m more interested in grunt. Do order management systems work? Can a bulk send emails easily? Can I batch process? Integrated with my carrier? with my accounting system? How much information can I accurately get across? My “website” is a tool for my business, first point of contact but ecommerce needs torque under that pretty bonnet.

    Ann

    #1212642
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    John Romaine, post: 254303, member: 39536 wrote:
    Why?

    It’s about efficiency.

    You can have your Zinger burger in 2 minutes or you can wait half a day while they catch the chicken, neck it, pluck it, gut it, clean it, cook it, then crumb and season it.

    I agree, I use templates to save time and reduce cost but I always tell the client what I’m doing and why.

    Too often I’ve seen here and other places, supposed “unique” visual design, and I can often name the template or base theme just by looking at it.

    Changing the text and images and loading a site to shared hosting, is hardly bespoke design.

    I assume from your statement that you take a “buyer beware” approach to your clients?

    Doesn’t work for me.

    #1212643
    pmullen
    Member
    • Total posts: 29

    This is a good talk by Jen Simmons – Revolutionize Your Page: Real Art Direction on the Web

    If you think back over the history of HTML & CSS, we were either using tables (horrible to maintain, no separation between content and styling) or CSS floats to create layouts. Both were never intended to be used that way. However, people quickly discovered they could be used to create layouts and the rest is history.

    We’re now getting to a point – thanks to CSS Grid and Flexbox – where our imagination isn’t going to be limited by the code available. We finally have a proper way for designing and coding layouts. These modules will allow us to code layouts much quicker, with less limitations and more control than anytime previously.

    CSS Grid and Flexbox have been shipped in all major browsers. It’s only a matter of time before we start to see the web change for the better.

    #1212644
    Zava Design
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,461
    El Arish Tropical Exotics, post: 254319, member: 6734 wrote:
    What if they are equal in efficiency at their “job” and the client can’t tell the difference between takeaway and Billy Kwong or doesn’t care? Personally, if it looks good I don’t care if it’s a tweaked template.
    And if you’re happy with something that “looks” good then you are that target market. However anyone with credible experience in UI/UX design could very easily provide a list of improvements that could be made to the majority of off-the-shelf themes that would likely deliver measurable improvements. But not all business can afford that, hence the market for off-the-shelf themes. Thankfully eventually most successful companies can later afford to upgrade and that’s where I or even larger studios can step in and provide added value. :)

    And I haven’t even touched on what’s happening beneath the bonnet, don’t get me started on how bad the underlying code and the admin side of things is with the majority of WordPress off-the-shelf themes (for example). The one time I did agree to use a purchased theme for a friend of mine, I ended up re-building from scratch using the same design as it was so bad and it was quicker for me to do that than try to get the theme working as it should.

    But that’s a whole other discussion (this one was discussing the visual part of websites). ;)

    #1212645
    Zava Design
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,461
    Quote:
    I agree, I use templates to save time and reduce cost but I always tell the client what I’m doing and why.
    And for certain clients with certain objectives, that option would be fine. Off-the-shelf themes aren’t going anywhere. Online web builders/hosters aren’t going anywhere. Agencies & freelancers building bespoke websites aren’t going anywhere. They all address the needs of particular clients, and if you’re working in that space you choose the area of service you want to provide.

    Quote:
    I assume from your statement that you take a “buyer beware” approach to your clients?

    Doesn’t work for me.
    Not 100% sure what you mean? If you mean do I ensure the client is fully informed of what their options are (after I’ve understood what their requirements are), then yes definitely. I have no interest in taking someone’s money just “because I can”, and if the services I provide are not right for them then I’m quite happy to help them identify what is the right option, whether that be a hosted/Squarespace type solution, or even just using Facebook (as I mentioned above).

    #1212646
    Zava Design
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,461
    pmullen, post: 254322, member: 82670 wrote:
    CSS Grid and Flexbox have been shipped in all major browsers. It’s only a matter of time before we start to see the web change for the better.
    These will change how site layouts can adapt across different screen sizes, but for general layout we’ve gone through the biggest experimentation phase likely to happen through the late 90s and into the 00s, when everything you could imagine visually was tried.

    Now we’re seeing a maturing of design, as we’re armed with far more knowledge of what – simply – works best with regards to digital interfaces. You will still see some experimentation, probably more in the area of cross platform communication and integration, and possibly with 3D interfaces. But as with most use interfaces of any kind (think car dashboards) once we’ve identified the type of layout(s) that are most effective for most people, those are what most digital interfaces will adhere to. And hence why things like UX design become more important nowadays, delving a little deeper than the visual design and into improving how to get a user from point A to their objective.

    #1212647
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    Zava Design, post: 254325, member: 34615 wrote:
    And for certain clients with certain objectives, that option would be fine. Off-the-shelf themes aren’t going anywhere. Online web builders/hosters aren’t going anywhere. Agencies & freelancers building bespoke websites aren’t going anywhere. They all address the needs of particular clients, and if you’re working in that space you choose the area of service you want to provide.

    Not 100% sure what you mean? If you mean do I ensure the client is fully informed of what their options are (after I’ve understood what their requirements are), then yes definitely. I have no interest in taking someone’s money just “because I can”, and if the services I provide are not right for them then I’m quite happy to help them identify what is the right option, whether that be a hosted/Squarespace type solution, or even just using Facebook (as I mentioned above).

    I was referencing John Romaines post when I replied not yours, I think we’re pretty close to complete agreement on this one.

    #1212648
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    Zava Design, post: 254324, member: 34615 wrote:
    And if you’re happy with something that “looks” good then you are that target market. However anyone with credible experience in UI/UX design could very easily provide a list of improvements that could be made to the majority of off-the-shelf themes that would likely deliver measurable improvements. But not all business can afford that, hence the market for off-the-shelf themes. Thankfully eventually most successful companies can later afford to upgrade and that’s where I or even larger studios can step in and provide added value. :)

    And I haven’t even touched on what’s happening beneath the bonnet, don’t get me started on how bad the underlying code and the admin side of things is with the majority of WordPress off-the-shelf themes (for example). The one time I did agree to use a purchased theme for a friend of mine, I ended up re-building from scratch using the same design as it was so bad and it was quicker for me to do that than try to get the theme working as it should.

    But that’s a whole other discussion (this one was discussing the visual part of websites). ;)

    This is the biggest trap of themes (as opposed to a layout template), “too” much code usually. Designed to sell the theme but awful to get them performing well.

    It’s not jut WP either. I’ve been guilty of using a single page Bootsrap theme for a client (read mate) with no real budget, sort of an MVP test while we worked it all …trouble is it’s still running nearly 3 years later. As you said, the time it would take to strip out what’s useless is greater than that to redo it from scratch…wont fall for that one again.

    #1212649
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    pmullen, post: 254322, member: 82670 wrote:
    This is a good talk by Jen Simmons – Revolutionize Your Page: Real Art Direction on the Web

    If you think back over the history of HTML & CSS, we were either using tables (horrible to maintain, no separation between content and styling) or CSS floats to create layouts. Both were never intended to be used that way. However, people quickly discovered they could be used to create layouts and the rest is history.

    We’re now getting to a point – thanks to CSS Grid and Flexbox – where our imagination isn’t going to be limited by the code available. We finally have a proper way for designing and coding layouts. These modules will allow us to code layouts much quicker, with less limitations and more control than anytime previously.

    CSS Grid and Flexbox have been shipped in all major browsers. It’s only a matter of time before we start to see the web change for the better.

    I love flexbox. I’m still coming to grips with it a little but I almost enjoy “centering” content these days.

    CSS Grid looks good too,but I’ll wait until there’s no need for fallbacks to rely on it fully.

    Late Edit: Great video

    #1212650
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104

    I charge $7,000 for entry level WordPress sites 90% of the time and business owners pay it.

    Most don’t care about the technology.

    What they DO care about are results – customer enquiries and or sales.

    WordPress is free but that doesn’t mean my experience is too.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 151 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.