Why is website design so awful today, generally?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Tozovac, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. Tozovac, Jun 27, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017

    Tozovac macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #1
    can anyone answer why websites today tend to have so much wasted space, large text, large photos, and seemingly no organization to steer the user? Take for instance:

    https://www.mvmtwatches.com/?utm_content=not_purchased&gclid=CJ2oq-K739QCFV2HswodErYIJw

    You have to scroll forever to see everything, and by the time you get to the bottom you've forgotten what existed up on top. Used to be that only websites for things like "how to meet girls," "how to lose weight," "how to spy on your neighbor," etc. consisted of one big seemingly never-ending page that required you to scroll "forever." Now even your bank's website "treats" you to a useless hero image (or video) or two or four you have to spend time moving past to get the useful stuff which is now typically large but whispy-thin low-contrast light-blue or grey color text on white backgrounds, often with no borders or gridlines and pretty much always displaying only 50-75% on the screen as what used to be shown, requiring too much additional scrolling than before.

    Where did this come from? Was it from trying to make a website work for both desktop and mobile devices (where you tryi to please everybody but wind up pleasing nobody), so you just try to list everything on one of you, with large photos and wasted space, to seemingly be optimized for an iPhone or iPad but then shaft the desktop user?

    Why the lack of gridlines/borders and why all the wasted empty white space at an extreme loss of organization and efficient use?

    There's been a definite shift in website design from just a few years ago. Where did this come from?
     
  2. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #2
    You're wanting a site that's trying to market a product to you to be efficient and precise, and that's not what it's trying to do. I also don't quite know what sort of functionality you're looking for, if you're visiting their site you're most likely looking for a watch, which are the two giant links at the top of the page. There's nothing forcing you to go further down the page unless you want to explore.

    They're intentionally using big photos to show off their product/lifestyle, just like most product-centric companies do. Once you click into a section there's a much more efficient layout to let you shop and find what you need:
    https://www.mvmtwatches.com/collections/all-mens-watches
     
  3. frankgrimes macrumors 6502a

    frankgrimes

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    #3
    Thanks to the mobile first mantra. I hate that new style tsn. ca/nhl used to be my goto hockey website but since the re design I'm visiting it less and less.

    Why not have one site optimized for a desktop and one for mobile? Like it used to be
     
  4. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #4
    Short answer: because it's double the work.
     
  5. Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #5
    Perhaps the quickest/easiest way I can express what I'm trying to say: Compare Apple's current community user/help forum to its prior format. Before, it looked & worked like a forum is "supposed" to: plentiful efficiently-organized content via zones & borders, and clearly-delineated user posts. Now Apple's community forum uses large font and it minimized (removed) all the typical forum borders/zones/areas that used to contain helpful content & tools/info, and it presents user posts in a large space-wasting "magazine article" format. Where I used to enjoy using the forum for help, now I detest using it and all the scrolling that's required.

    I would have preferred leaving things optimized for the desktop and be done with it. iPhones for example are getting larger and larger, and I've personally never felt slighted by having to move around a site when on a phone, since I'm going to use a desktop/laptop when I need to get significant work done. Now with sites optimized for mobile, I find the desktop experience to often be horrendous and distracting because of all the wasted space and required scrolling.

    One of my favorite sites www.inthestudio.net recently went to the all-white spaced-out mobile interface, and it's the usual wasted-space unintuitive borderless routine that significantly ruins the experience for me.



    I honestly think that web/mobile/OS/iOS design hit its pinnacle around 2013, after which people started inventing reasons to change things and provide solutions to problems that didn't exist. Where do things go from here...do some of the "inneficiencies" like these space-wasting scroll-heavy websites with ultra-hard-to-read-low-contrast-fonts go back to how the used to be, or does some new reinvention come along, under the guise of "new and fresh but also improved?" I sincerely fear sometimes that websites will revert back to what Myspace looked like in the mid 00's, with all the wacky/busy backgrounds and micro-text....
    --- Post Merged, Jun 28, 2017 ---
    Are you talking about this site?
    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/
    If so (or even if not): why the sudden fear/loathing of using borders & defined areas, and why does everything have to be so white?

    I find it fascinating how lemmings-like the world can be when it comes to Apple design. Jony Ive makes everything as: grey or light blue font on white backgrounds, and now everyone does. Even Starbucks changed their cardboard menus to follow this format and it looks unprofessional if not just unfinished, almost like a draft copy of what the final menu was going to be. This fascination with low-contrast hard to read font on borderless minimized presentations is fascinating - to me it's less easy, but it's all over.
     
  6. 960design macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Because it sucks to be paid the same for twice the work.
     
  7. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #7
    Honest question: what are you doing that you need to scroll so much? Just looked at the Apple support forums and I'm not seeing any issues that prevent me from finding what I need pretty easily.

    I feel like what you're referring to as "magazine" is simply gutters at the sides that make content easier to read. I'd be interested to see a before and after to illustrate what you're talking about as I don't really recall details of the previous design.

    Um, no. I also feel like that misses the point, you most likely will be doing "work" on a bigger screen but it's random content browsing on a smaller screen that can be quite difficult.

    Compare these for example:
    [​IMG]

    I don't care how big your phone is, that desktop version is a pain to navigate on mobile.
     
  8. Tozovac, Jun 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017

    Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #8
    I wasn't able to find a screenshot of what the communities looked like "before" they were Jony-Ive-ified (minimized for "clean view" and lots of wasted white space added) but here's a decent example:

    Before: A forum that looked like a forum, with helpful zones/areas differentiated and available on the screen. (Again, this is not the forum view I wanted to show but I can't find anything better)
    apple-support-communities-dashboard.png

    After/current: zones/areas of info are hidden/unavailable and there's a bunch of white space, where answers are spread out and require lots of scrolling. The forum no longer looks like a forum:

    one.png
    two.png
    three.png

    Way, way too much wasted white space and things spread out that requires too much scrolling. The current Apple community forum is actually painful to use.

    I hear what you're saying but given the choice between forced to view a mobile-optimized page on a 30" desktop monitor vs. viewing a desktop-optimized page on a mobile device, I'll take the latter 10 times out of 10. I'm not going to do detailed work on a phone or ipad, so I need the desktop experience to be optimized for the desktop experience.

    Just like I feel Apple veered way too much to the minimalist UI experience since ios7, the majority of web content has veered way too much towards a mobile-focused direction that imho introduced a lot of bad along with any good they feel was added. And all the odd use of light colored thin fonts on white backgrounds is inexcusable no matter what the hardware being used. Trying to get at least one valid reason to the Good that justified all the Bad that came along.
     
  9. SparkFlash macrumors 6502

    SparkFlash

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    #9
    And in the case of the client, usually double the cost. You're essentially making 2 sites.
     
  10. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #10
    I can't be sure what their intent was, but I honestly had no idea there were "forums" there. My guess would be that it's a conscious decision from them to make it more solutions based. I'd never have thought to go there for conversation, I go looking for a specific answer that's searchable and their current set up does that pretty well.

    I feel like you're spending a lot of time on really badly designed sites or are maybe just hung up on this particular example. A well designed mobile first/responsive site translates very well to a desktop, expanding columns appropriately.

    For example, check the Microsoft site:
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/

    At full desktop size it's very readable, takes up an appropriate amount of screen width, and is generally easy to get around for a company that offers a whole lot of products. If you grab a corner of the screen and scale it in to simulate tablet and eventually mobile widths, you'll see the columns compress and scale appropriately to fit a tablet or mobile browser size.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 29, 2017 ---
    And if there's anything I know about clients, they love paying twice.
     
  11. Eightarmedpet macrumors regular

    Eightarmedpet

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    #11
    Totally agree! And why have they ruined TV by adding all that superfluous colour?! Those horse and carts have been spoiled too now they've swapped those horses for them new fangled internal combustion engines...

    But seriously... your idea of what "good design" is based on an era you associate with the most, sadly thats in the past, and visual language and paradigms evolve. Where does this scrolling come from? I'd say the iPhone, once there was no way to get all content above the fold and usable a new way of consuming/laying out content developed.

    Why don't people make a website for Desktop and one for mobile? Because thats a bad solution, doubling production and maintenance. Responsive is a better solution and adaptive better yet.

    Welcome to 2017, I hope you enjoy your stay.
     
  12. Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #12
    The day you tell me you have given up beer, juice, soda, and wine in favor of drinking just water because doing so makes for a simpler and less expensive life (so therefore it has to be better), I'll buy your point.
     
  13. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #13
    Short answer: Web has declined in importance, especially web on desktop.

    Companies are spending less on websites and more on social media. That's a vast generalisation of course, and different companies have different priorities depending on where they make their money or find new customers.

    Website budgets now have to be shared with app budgets (iOS and Android) and budgets for app upkeep, and Facebook / other social media budgets. It's terrifying how much young high disposable income groups rely on facebook twitter instagram snapchat etc for information, shopping, brand awareness etc.

    Makes sense to shift web design to a format that works across desktop / laptop / tablet / phone / app. Update in one place, all gets updated.

    Web on desktop requires a big monitor, big desktop, a desk, somewhere permanent to put it, which is something fewer and fewer young people have.

    Web on desktop isn't going away, but it now has to share budget and workhours with a myriad other digital media routes.

    [and I for one am absolutely disgusted how much data social media hides from search engines, making it next to impossible to find helpful info.]
     
  14. Eightarmedpet macrumors regular

    Eightarmedpet

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    #14
    Ha, not sure the analogy really works. More like it would be you who would be avoiding all but Water (or weak Lemon squash) because it came first and everything else is just too new for your tastes...
     
  15. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #15
    Unless maybe we were having this discussion around 4000 BC and you weren't sure about this newfangled thing called wine...
     
  16. Eightarmedpet macrumors regular

    Eightarmedpet

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    #16
    Water still came first...

    I get the feeling no one in this thread works in Design or is under 40, am I correct?
     
  17. Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #17
    Ha, you're dead wrong. :) Nice try. I want to have colorful, flavorful options instead of only a drab white/clear/translucent world. I want to have options customized to the mood/interface/computer I'm using and not a one-size-fits-all approach where content-deliverers are putting their advertising/online $ into mostly one basket. I agree with your above post that this focus on mobile computing may be the root of my complaint. I personally am disgusted and tired of the focus on facebook/instagram/twitter-focused advertising, since those mediums are so "of the moment" only and where it's virtually impossible to go back and look something up you saw 1 hour ago, unlike "traditional" websites. This focus on the facebook crack addiction has resulted also in websites adding sticky headers and frustratingly blocking out the content I'm wildly scrolling around to take in, as if the user wishes to share to facebook every damn page they look at. :)
     
  18. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #18
    For all of your disgust on "the state" of web design you've shown a total of two examples and not responded to a post about how responsive design actually works. So sure.

    No argument on the progression of beverages :)

    I'm a designer and right around that age, but I would imagine you're correct on other folks.
     
  19. choreo macrumors regular

    choreo

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    #19
    I agree with your assessment. 50% of my income comes from designing web sites the past several years and the shift to the new mobile "stacked" design has taken over the past few years. Almost every new website navigates like a Blog or Facebook. just a never ending string of information!

    I find the "stacking" model very limiting and disorienting for anything but the smallest "presentation" site with little content. In essence they are now transforming "sites" into a single "page". You used to have to put a lot of thought into "navigation" to help the user quickly find what they were looking for - if the navigation was not clear and well thought out a user may not be able to locate what they were looking for, but now if the info exists on the site, if you scroll long and far enough, it will be there somewhere. Websites used to be more like reading a book with separate pages organized by chapter titles and "menus" were required, where now everything in on a "scroll" and menus are secondary.

    I first really noticed the trend when everyone started using Bootstrap, Blocs and other DIY website builders which I am assuming were influenced by trying to consume information on postage-stamp sized devices like phone screens. The trend is clear and there is no going back now - that is the way the new generation consumes info - they spend most of their day looking "down" rather that forward.

    The trend has really made my job as a web designer more difficult, because most of the older people (who own the companies and write the checks) are still thinking in terms of page design and use large screens while the majority of consumers no longer see page design, white-space, etc. - just a ticker-tape of streaming info. Unless you spend a ton of extra time (and client money) it is very difficult to satisfy both groups with a responsive site.

    In essence, I think we are experiencing the deprecation of "page" design for the bulk of the online market. The modern professional web designers (much like the professional photographer or typographer) is becoming less necessary for most projects. Everyone now has a camera in their fist and sees the world through a tiny screen where layout is very restricted - and building a website is more like posting a blog entry - anyone can do it. I have one client that had a beautiful site I built for them, but the new 22 year old Marketing girl they hired asked me if I could make their 2-year old responsive site more modern "like this" she said... to which she pointed me to a couple infinite scrolling pages with no design to them. I simply could not bring myself to butcher that site and turned that job down (with a $10,000 deposit check waiting for me).

    Just face it, it is difficult to convey a mood and tell a compelling story on a tiny screen (watches will be next). Any time I design a new responsive site now I have to decide what percentage of people will actually be able to view a page in all its glory and how many people will just be scrolling through the same info in the palm of their hand while tripping into a water fountain. We all know the trend!
     
  20. Tozovac, Jun 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017

    Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #20
    Hi, I was going to give it time before responding to your post, I wasn't ignoring you. I did look up your Microsoft link and felt faced with exactly the thing that prompted my thread post. It was actually almost a saddening defeat for me to hear that "this" was what's considered good nowadays, and think that this is what's going to keep coming...a long scroll of information that feels instantly overwhelming and not sorted for quick comprehension -- a scroll where it would take me 5 minutes of up down up down up down to get a sense of what I was looking at and whether or not what I was seeking was there or buried below. I much much prefer the older school method of trying to organize things on one page so I can quickly glance at different things and get a sense of "what's in front of me and where do I need to click to go deeper to get what I need."

    Honestly, the post just above here by @choreo pretty much nailed my sentiment. I find today's scroll-heavy sites like even your Microsoft example the equivalent of driving on the highway while looking directly down at the pavement (thru, say, a plexiglass floor panel) where you can only focus on a little bit at a time but things are constantly moving almost too fast and too distractingly to comprehend quickly, vs. looking straight ahead and seeing "most everything" in one view.

    On top of that at the very bottom is another sad (to me) trend - the "light grey hard to read low-contrast text on white background" effect that's just too awful and too over-used nowadays, even for lengthy articles and blogs. At least I wasn't hit with the other awful current trend of a sticky header begging me to tell facebook and twitter and instagram that I was looking at this site.
     
  21. choreo macrumors regular

    choreo

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    #21
    Have you tried to shop for a new car lately? They all apparently use the exact same backend website engine now. Absolutely impossible to navigate and get back to something you want to find that you have seen somewhere in the scroll before. I just find myself saying "forget it, easier to just drive to the dealer and see if they still stock a printed brochure"!

    At least you no longer have to burden yourself with searching through website layout templates to find a design you like anymore - they all use variations of the same spaghetti layout now.
     
  22. Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #22
    I'm glad I wasn't alone and that many other users (and some designers) see the crap designs I'm seeing. Yet so many talented "designers" out there who hold the keys to what we see online have bought into this inefficient trendy crap method and keep perpetuating it. I was at my girlfriend's tonight and she was asking about options to cut the cord. I looked up the Hulu site, and even though you're first met with that painfully overused cliche of a large screen-filling image upon first view that you have to scroll past to start seeing anything useful, the initial site page was laid out well enough for a quick, efficient grasp of things.

    https://www.hulu.com/welcome?orig_referrer=https://www.google.com/

    Then came Roku.

    https://www.roku.com/index

    Should I start at the very top white bar menu, or the middle large image areas, or the lower gray bar Area at the bottom of the screen that seem to repeat some earlier options, or the very lowest black bar area which again repeated similar options from above areas. Ugh already feeling defeated with no clear best place to start.
     
  23. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #23
    Didn't take it as ignoring, no worries. I just wasn't getting enough of what it was you're having an issue with from your one example. And to be honest, I still don't.

    You don't like scrolling...ok. Looking at Microsoft, what's overwhelming about it? There's a total of 12 links on that page, and it's not more than 3 browsers high so you're not scrolling that far. The top 6 links (carousel image) hit their primary products, the Surface line, Xbox, and Office. There's then a marketing pitch for business services (Azure), 4 links for business services under a Work header, and two PR stories. I'm curious where you feel this is lacking or how you'd organize it more simply. I can't say I understand what your "everything organized on one page" concept refers to.

    I also feel like you don't realize your general issue isn't really with designers but with marketing. Designers aren't the ones deciding what goes on the homepage for a corporation, there's a marketing department processing thousands of user visits to determine what users want to see, what products they're interested in, and what gets top billing. A designer (and actually a design team, through dozens of meetings) is trying to find the best way to organize the info that has to go on that page to appeal to the user. The way things are done isn't some guy's personal preference.

    For Roku, for example, I guarantee you that big image and top 3 other image links are driven by site visit data that the marketing department passed along to design. (You linked to the comparison page, which I imagine was unintentional.) I'm also not sure what's wrong with their top nav, that pretty clearly points to the answer for any question I would have about what their product does. What information were you looking for on that page that was so hard to find?
     
  24. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #24
    There's about 12 menu items on that page, many of which go to the same pages, so realistically it collapses down to about 5 choices, presented in different ways. The intent is for the customer in a hurry to click the wording or menu choice that most appeals to them, and marketing keeps an eye on which wording generates most clickthroughs. Another possibility is by using two different wordings, they can appeal to two different marketing segments.

    I think it was the Daily Mail (boo!) that first found global success through presenting the same item in multiple different ways on the same page.
     
  25. Tozovac, Jul 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017

    Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    #25
    It just occurred to me what a mess we're in from people doing too much thinking and not enough common-sensing. I'm imagining myself scrolling frantically 3-4x up & down that page wondering which one to click and then just randomly picking one w/o a preference in mind and just to end the frustration of wondering which click will get me where I need to go. I have to think I'm not the only one doing that at this site. Then I see a committee of marketing, media design, product managers, and interns translating the scrolls and random clicks of me & others in: customers LOVE to look at all the many options, and they are all obviously using all our various click-through points, so let's give them even more options/real estate to scroll, and then also more points of entry up & down the page!
     

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