Mikey Allan

Web technology is unlocking design possibilities

Whenever new design trends come they get adopted by the masses (me included) and arguably overused until after some time a designer will go on stage at some conference and shout “Design is stuck in a rut” – “We’re all just doing the same old SH*T”.

In many respects they’re right, however I don’t believe that life is quite as black and white as that and it certainly depends on the type of site moreover audience you’re designing for. Certain established patterns have been created and our users are used to these. I’m not advocating that we simply do what we’ve always done, that’s ridiculous, my heart has always sat in the revolution camp however my brain would lean towards evolution and assessment.

Some have argued that Responsive design has killed revolution and good design, again I feel that these are the shoutings of over-opinionated designers who seek a self-promoting headline over an actual intelligent design debate, but to quote Paul Simon “who am I to blow against the wind”. Personally I think that Responsive design was a new thing that we all had to adopt, work around, have fun with and see what could be done. You have to tinker, explore and deconstruct things first before you can see the full potential and start having fun.

And I think we’re now ready to have some fun.

At this year’s Ampersand Conference I saw a great talk by Jen Simmons. She began her talk with the famous “Design is in a rut” line, which I expect to hear annually and thought “here we go again”. However her talk was great, with code examples that didn’t make you want to go to sleep! She essentially showed us how the adoption of new CSS techniques, mostly cross browser, is unlocking the possibilities for design. Work arounds are now being implemented as easy-to-use elements such as Flex Box and the up-coming Grid.

Web technology is no longer limiting us or scaring us into “staying safe” moreover it’s enabling us to get inspired by our surroundings and go and create some truly amazing, Web-Specific design.

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