There is no doubt that every day, more and more people are getting connected to the Internet. As the world’s population grows, so does the number of active Internet users. The latest user growth was started when mobile devices became connected in the full sense of the word, and not just via specialised channels like the clumsy Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).
Now, any smartphone or a tablet is equipped with a standard Wi-Fi modem, and can get access to any website on the Internet. What was just a few years ago a domain reserved only for desktop and laptop computer now is accessible by many more different mobile devices. And it is certain that this trend will continue.
With this growth in the user base, how was web design affected, and more importantly, how will it change in the future? This question will be tackled through the examination of two major trends in this field: minimalism and its opposing force, visual complexity.
Minimalism – Less is more.
In the early days of the internet, minimalism may seem trendy, mostly because anything else was hard to do. Graphic were big for transfer, so most did their best to keep things simple. Nowadays, even the biggest websites are loaded in a matter of seconds, so the technical issues became irrelevant. Now, minimalism is a philosophy in web design. It states that any Internet resource can gain a lot by reducing its visual footprint on the user.
Visual complexity – A Feast for the Eyes.
Unlike minimalism, this approach states that any website can be enriched by adding more colours and anything else that will make the user linger on for a moment longer. Naturally, elaborate images can draw more attention, so any web design that uses a complex visual style is more likely to intrigue its visitors. Unlike minimalism, this way of thinking does not consider the possibility that less is more, and in fact does the exact opposite.
Middle of the Road
It may seem that in this race there is no middle ground, and that any website can either go for a minimalist approach, or use as much more colours, objects and everything else as possible. Actually, the dilemma has a completely different angle to it.
No website is completely free of all design features. Only a blank page could accomplish that, and even it has to have some visual architecture to exist (at least one colour). On the other hand, even the most complex visual design can have more elements, and the process does not have an end. In other words, any webpage makes a compromise between these two theoretical ideals. And the thing that guides this decision is the question what do the users want and what will they need from this Internet resource.
In the future, one approach may seem slightly more popular than the other, and then the opposite trend will replace this one, which is the same pattern that can be seen throughout the history of art. In painting, sculpture and literature some strived for complexity, while other then tried to simplify the same motives. The thing that is crucial is that any web design has to be useful for its users, not just pretty to its creator. If that is the case, any kind of style will be the right one for any type of website.