Elegant web design has finally taken hold. It’s all over the web, and it’s about time. Good-looking web pages abound, influenced by the touch-screen devices they’re viewable on. Responsive and mobile-inspired sites aren’t just a trend; they’re a shift in the status quo -- just one more sign of the impending mobile-ocalypse.
Take, for example, NBC.com, whose recent redesign feels like the offspring of Hulu and Pinterest, in a good way. Hulu.com also revamped their site just a few months ago to be more in line with the touch panel trend. Add to the list notable sites like Mashable (now in beta) and USA Today.
Oh, and it’s not just publishers who are on board with beautiful, panel-driven websites. Coca-Cola’s new site, unveiled Monday, tells their brand story through an online magazine.
Great design is running rampant on the web, fueled by mobile innovation, and it’s only underscoring the massive importance of portable devices.
I submit as evidence the inescapable marketing behind the colorful Windows 8 interface. The OS runs on desktops too, but commercial after commercial shows only phones and tablets. That’s taking mobile-first marketing and really owning it, and it’s a bold but necessary shift for Microsoft to undertake.
As the web becomes more tactile, users are gravitating toward functionality that feels natural. The necessities of designing for smaller, touch-controlled screens have given rise to tremendous innovation into what makes for a nicer web-going experience, whether you’re on a touch device or not.
But on the advertising front, this rethinking web design is only widening the gulf between the aesthetics of display ads and the sites they run on. If display ads are to fit in, they need to catch up with their environment. Be elegant. Be interactive. Be appealing.