October 10, 2016
The Web has come a long way since it’s inception over a quarter of a century ago. We’re undergoing a renaissance of browser and device technology now, and this quickly changing landscape has me pondering what the next 25 years will look like. Specially, what are the best practices that will define what makes up a modern web experience?
Modern web experiences are accessible to all users. According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, 39 million which are blind and 246 have low vision. In addition, 275 million people are considered deaf and hearing impaired. The modern web ensures support for these users and others by following best practices for maximum reach and access.
Modern web experiences treat performance as an essential design feature and we understand that users expect them to load fast. In fact, users expect pages to load in two seconds, and after three seconds, up to 40% of users will abandon the experience. In addition, mobile users expect web experiences to load at least as fast or faster than the same experience on a desktop device.
Designing for Performance
Modern web experiences aim to deliver the best possible experience to the widest possible audience, regardless of browser or device. It embraces the variability of the web by prioritizing content delivery to all browsers, and then progressively layer enhancements according to the device or browser capabilities.
Using Progressive Enhancement
Modern web experiences take into consideration the variability of the web and understand that people can fluidly move between devices. They account for not only screen size, but also the infinite combinations of screen resolutions, input methods, browser capabilities, and connection speeds.
Modern web experiences are built around the content. We understand that without content, design is merely decoration. Therefore, we design experiences that prioritize content and by extension the needs of the user.
An Event Apart: Content First
Modern web experiences focus on the key tasks that users want to accomplish without extraneous features or content. We understand that mobile devices are the primary means that people access the web. We also understand the constraints of limited screen space force us to prioritize content and features, which leads to a better user experience.
Modern web experiences are no longer designed as pages. Instead, we’ve embraced the creation of systems for scalability, portability, and reuse. The quantity and diversity of connected devices have necessitated the adoption of modularity in our strategy, process, content, design, and development.
The Language of Modular Design
Modern web experiences are designed purposefully. Design elements such as animations are utilized to improve feedback, aid in orientation, direct attention, show causality, and express brand personality. They find the right balance of purpose and style while blending into the interface seamlessly.
Designing Interface Animation
A Collaborative Effort
Finally, modern web experiences are a collaborative effort between teams and skill sets. We know that the success of a project can be directly correlated with how well it’s creators can collaborate to produce the best experience possible for the user. To achieve this, we have abandoned the assembly-line process of creation, and turned to a more iterative approach which allows us to break down our processes into smaller, more manageable chunks. Our workflow have been de-compartmentalized so we can quickly design, build, test and then evaluate.