Over the years, the definition of ‘design’ has evolved and changed through the digital revolution. From its simple conception as the lines and negative space on a page to its current form as an essential virtual tool, to create and illustrate some of the most innovative and unique web spaces on the internet – design has seen its fair share of change.
But, as every designer should know, change isn’t always bad when it comes to design. Change can mean a new way of thinking, a new approach to UI, or a new tool created to make every design process in your role easier, and faster. Change also creates certain myths about design – it predicts the death of all things, and the rebirth of everything digital and virtual. Print design, for example, isn’t quite as stone-cold and buried as we once imagined, and it still has a space in design. Mobile design isn’t everything. Homepages are just glorified splash screens…the more design myths are born, the more businesses risk isolating their valuable consumer base.
So what other myths in design can be debunked?
First, let’s establish why print design is still very much a living, breathing format of design. The notion that more and more companies still use physical newsletters, business cards and leaflets helps to support this argument, plus the statistic that 8/10 workplaces in the UK actively own and use a printer in their day to day work. There are vacancies for print designs cropping up on almost every recruitment site, and assets such as banners, flags, information cards and invitations are still just as vital to the commercial presence of a business. This is one design myth that needs to be debunked – predominantly to avoid brands and businesses from losing out on what could be a truly beneficial promotional avenue
UX Design Is A Static Concept
By this, we mean that many sites will operate on the idea that once they have created a great UX-friendly website or page, it will remain UX-friendly forever. This design myth does not factor in the changes in demographics, the rising or falling expectations of mobile or web products, the new accessories of technology that might be introduced to the initial design, or the accessibility functions of each new user that might use the product. Good UX design should be constantly refreshing and updating, re-shaping itself with each new product or evolution of user introduced. A good UX designer should also be constantly working to improve their understanding of the user base as well, encouraging change and redevelopment constantly, to keep the product competitively up to date with the rest of the world.
All Design Should Be Mobile
The rise of the mobile revolution has undoubtedly shown a big shift in how digital products are designed. Every product must be responsive and agile in its construction, it must work fluidly to all mobile resolutions, almost as a priority feature. But the design myth that needs to be debunked here is the idea that the web browser, as a platform, is no more. To enable your designs to reach their full potential of users, every platform possible must be considered in design – although your analytic data might reinforce the idea that mobile is a popular viewing platform for your users, designers should still be catering for the 30 – 40% of web and tablet users as well. Even particular browsers, such as Chrome and Safari, tend to be alternated in design, rather than dually designed for – meaning that a significant percentage of your potential user base is isolated from the innovative product you want them to see.
The Homepage is The Most Important Feature Of A Site
There are an undefinable number of web and mobile products available online right now. From visually stunning e-commerce sites to adaptive and innovative static products, the design myth to be identified here is the notion that the Homepage design matters more than every other page on the site. There’s no denying that your homepage, or splash screen, matters to how your user approaches your brand – but to truly maximise on the design options you have available, reevaluate your homepage as the door, rather than the room, to your product. The homepage lets the user in, but it doesn’t describe the entire room, house or space to your user – it’s just one way to enter the site. Taking the time to focus your design energies on your services pages, your testimonials, your blog content or your contact page can help to improve your entire content strategy over time. For many companies who use social media as a commercial platform, the links shared across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc… will be of the pages listed above, rather than the homepage. Make sure that every page you create is an inviting landing page, as you can never truly predict the journey your user will take through your product.
Design myths will crop up and disappear as each new piece of technology arrives, and as each new generation of designers make their mark of the virtual space of design. But whilst shiny new pixels might turn your head, make sure to keep your designs grounded, practical, and right for you at the end of the day.