The Challenge Is On: Let's Make Better Websites

by Nicky Lavelle

As a culture, we’ve become an quite an Internet savvy bunch.  It’s 2012 and we don’t need to be handheld through websites any longer. With the invention of the smart phone, more people are accessing the web on the go than ever before. Take a second to look at the apps on your smartphone or iPad. If the only difference between your phone and your browser is the element of touch, then why are phone apps so much more appealing than browsers?

As a designer, I want to see websites integrate elements of app design that will  make them more appealing, modern and exciting to use. So if you’re ready to break away from the pack, here are some suggestions. Bring one or more of the following elements in your next site to do something different:

1. Navigation

Move over boring, old nav bar and expected drop downs, there’s a new kid in town! Path is a great example of a unique navigation menu:


If that didn’t blow your mind, what about doing a navigation panel on the side, like Whoever said the nav bar had to be on the top is probably no longer designing websites. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, what about hiding the navigation all together to allow for more visible content, like Or even, gasp…a navigation panel that is NOT in a bar! does out-of-the-box navigation right. The bottom line is that people are Internet savvy and they’ll figure out how to get through your site even if the navigation is non-traditional. If you’re lucky– they might even have a little fun along the way.

2. One Page Sites

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Now on to the parallax: have you seen how incredibly cool parallax sites are? The way in which backgrounds behave with content can be mesmerizing. In Nike’s latest example, you see all of the elements of the Air Jordans put together so you are able to see all of the components of the shoe. The different colored backgrounds show different products all while staying on the same page. The movement of the website itself can push messaging further than regular old content. The entire site has an airy feel, no?

As well as being visually interesting, restraining your website design to  just one page makes the content easier to digest. This site, Confirmed Stock, does a good job of having content peaking out of places so it entices you to want to click through Allowing the content to flow together will make for a better user experience.

3. Let the images do the talking

In the fast paced world we live in, people want to be able to scroll through an entire site in a few minutes. In fact, the average user spends about 5.23 minutes on a website. Be honest, when is the last time you really read through all of the content on a website? Keep it simple so that the call to action or main message is what stands out. You will undoubtedly get a better response.

Let’s break traditions, make better websites and give people something unexpected. I dare you.