Back in the early 2000s, websites were certainly something else. You might remember the glory days of MySpace and an era before online shopping really made much sense. There were limitations to web design back in the day when HTML was the go-to. Websites weren’t beautiful and weren’t very functional either. More than anything, they were a source of information with a lot of text. But as technology advanced, so did web design. And with better tools, we are all making better websites, too.
Are websites starting to look the same?
You’re not imagining it. Websites are starting to look the same. There are a few reasons why this is happening. For one, there are a lot of small business owners who take the DIY approach and use platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress where there are themes you can choose from, themes which often appear to be quite similar to one another.
There are some website characteristics that almost seem to be uniform: footers with socials and other round ups of information, a horizontal navigation bar, a logo or home button in the left corner, and even similar pages (e.g. home, about, contact).
Why websites are starting to look similar
When you go to a website, usually you’re after information and an easy experience. With web accessibility content guidelines and years of web designers researching what works best for user experience, there are some things we now know about web design: what does and doesn’t work.
Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix make it easy for small businesses to create websites without worrying whether the sites they are designing will suit a wide audience of people. The homogeneous themes ensure they will.
If you hire a good web designer, you might find that they utilise some familiar website elements, too. This might be because certain attributes are trending or because certain attributes just work well.
The pros and cons to conforming
Beyond the ease of use with templates, there are some compelling reasons why websites are designed in similar ways. Easy navigation, clean design, and web accessibility. These, and many other basics, are key features on a website. Without these attributes, a website just wouldn’t be complete. If you choose to make a website that looks like all the others, you know you’ll likely have a solid foundation.
However, there are some drawbacks as well. You might not want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to what works with a functioning and useful website, but there are times when visuals, unique features, and innovation are more important than playing it safe. If you have a unique business model which requires creative website attributes, like an interactive online shopping experience, you’ll need to customise. And if your business is known for innovation and stunning visuals, a standard template website just won’t cut it.
How to make sure your website stands out
Even if you stick to the basics, there are ways to make your site stand out. Working with a good web development team can help. A web designer with experience can translate your vision into a working website with unique features that still has beautiful and easy functionality. Digital Bridge has experience transforming these visions into reality.