The web does not need to be homogeneous. Usability is important and making sure your site is meeting visitor expectations is critical, but I think we are losing our ability to create sites that are appropriate for OUR audiences. Case in point – the redesign of the Slate web site. Haven’t seen it yet?
Here’s a look at the new home page layout:
Not so bad or different from how it used to be, but scroll down further and it is a disaster:
I don’t even know where to look?
I am getting a little exhausted by what seems lately like every web site’s attempted reinvention into some type of social media experience. Not everything needs to look or feel or function like Twitter or Facebook. Twitter and Facebook are great tools and can play a really important role in your relationships with your customers and potential customers. A web site is not a social media outlet – why do we keep trying to make them into one?
Even Facebook is arguably trying to turn itself into some strange Facebook Twitter hybrid with its new design.
Today’s web sites should be about integrating your web site proper with your social media efforts. Turning your site into a real time experience with constantly refreshing content and comment streams, well, takes away from the experience most visitors are looking for when they choose to visit your web site – instead of your Twitter feed or your Facebook page. There is still room for a well designed, user-centric web site in your internet strategy. Let’s make the most of what a web site can be and stop trying to make it do everything.
The comments about the Slate redesign have been overwhelmingly negative. Look, I know people aren’t generally great with change, but the criticisms of this redesign really resonate with me. And they should resonate with anyone who is still designing and developing web sites for clients in today’s climate.