Eric, not trying to be contrary but just another view...
Probably one of the problems behind the Web now is that Web designers and owners tried for that "wow" thing rather than just providing informative content that attracted becuase of the content itself.
"Wow" as you say gets old quick. Plain, informative content, well structured, and most importantly, quick, is what most people are looking for.
For me at least, its been too many gimmicks, not enough useful content...
I am always wowed by simple intuitive designs - origional stuff that works smoothly and looks good.
For some reason the web seems to be full of either high end "look is'nt this site cool!" or "Look at my informative content even though it looks dull" So when I find a site that looks cool and has excellent usability and content... I go WOW!
I always am impresed with professionalism - for instance www.2advanced.com (flash site) is so detailed i.e reflections in shades etc. The site is'nt breathtaking in its content but as far as eye candy goes...WOW ;)
I would say the site design must be adapted to the targeted audience. A site selling New England Style clam chowder will not look like one selling Yo fashion gear.
Personally, I also prefer to find good content fast.
that is exactly my point, Content should always be fast and easy to find AND look good at the same time!
Why do we have to have one or the other? We should have it all!
I couldn't read the text on the 2advanced flash site not without giving myself a headache anyway, as you said nice eye candy, but as for being informative as well......it is a hard balance to get right.....especially trying to impress prospective clients in the business service industry. They like bells and whistles.
>>that is exactly my point, Content should always be fast and easy to find AND look good at the same time!
I do not believe it is exactly your point. Something that will look good for one audience will not for the other. For instance I think that the 2advanced.com web site is horrible and barely usable. I is just my opinion, for what an opinion is worth.
On top of this It is almost impossible to find on directories or SEs even when we type "2advanced.com".
I dont know how much they spent on this site, but it was just like shoving the money in a bottle an throwing it in the ocean. Clients hire me to put theyre site in full view, not to develop them expensive gadgets they will be alone to toy with.
I kinda think of it like I think of movies. The new blockbusters with special effects are cool to watch once, but most of the time the plots are horrible, and you forget about them within a few weeks. Movies that have great plots, and those with themes that lots of people identify with at an emotional or lifestyle level, are the ones that become classics. It is more the content than the "wow."
An example of great looks AND content in the movie world would be the original STAR WARS trilogy.
is the web getting old and fat?
Not yet, I think that the initial web initiatives were controlled by two groups.
You had the graphic artist playing with all the new toys available and trying to make a splash for him/herself on the clients dime. These types were responsible for the "wow, gee, look at this totally gorgeous but useless web site".
The other type was the total geek who really had the mindset of "GUI's are for babies, I use line commands". These folks could make the site do something useful (proccess the credit card!), but really had poor to none design skills (I love those search pages with 8 dropdowns and instructions on how to use Perl operators to refine results). In a sense, these guys were as facetious as the artist bunch.
Anyhow, it is now somewhere in the middle of the two extremes with profit being the only "wow" worth pursuing.
There's a third factor here: business knowledge. As john316 said, most web developers have concentrated either in technology or art. It's taken a long time (and a dot-com crash) to bring home the message — the business purpose of site needs to be foremost. With that at the top of the pyramid, then technology and art take a supporting but needed role.
This means the web designer needs to understand business! I'd say that's the quiet revolution that we are seeing today. And it has barely begun.
The question is provocative. On the one hand, the part of the web that's visible to the general user has, IMO, seemed to settle into something of a standard presentation format -old and fat. So accepted, in fact, that I've noticed TV mimicking browser screens more and more.
It's the behind-the-screen stuff that I find really intriguing. Here CSS, scripting (mostly perl), php, and XML (others?) are building up quite an arsenal.
Great Post Tedster !
Erm, no my point is that as other people have mentioned there needs to be a balance,
On one hand you need quick easy access to content on the other you need to back up that content with a visualy appealing site. This way you provide the user with everything.
I will not go shopping in a run down wooden shed simply because its easy to find. I would rather search around a few shops finding a store that not only has the things i want to buy but one that is also enjoyable to shop in.
If you understand your target audience then I don't see any reason why you can't give them the content they want in a nice neat package.
As regards to the 2advanced site I did'nt say it had fantastic content i.e easy to read, search engine friendly etc. I just meant visually and technically it is very good. It is aimed at people who want a trendy look and have bucket loads of money - at that level it does very well.
Target Audience - Who are you trying to please?
rcjordan: "The question is provocative. On the one hand, the part of the web that's visible to the general user has, IMO, seemed to settle into something of a standard presentation format -old and fat. So accepted, in fact, that I've noticed TV mimicking browser screens more and more."
this ought to be the wild frontier...the place where the exciting things happen...and yet most of what I see appears to be about as exciting and experimental as the average TV soap
one of the reasons for posting was being asked to compare a couple of punk music sites...both had designs that looked pretty much like altavista...hardly punk..."which looks more professional" the designers were asking
pages full of eye candy bore me to tears...partly because style with no substance is inherently dull...but largely because of the paucity of artistic inspiration that is shown
I used to work for a contemporary art production company...I've worked for some of the most cutting edge people in the music biz...I've seen creative inspiration of the highest order, and I don't feel I'm seeing it on the web...I'm seeing too much copying of what is already established
there is stuff we can do with a web site that is entirely new...interactive...dynamic and involving people in a way that was never possible before...and what I see presented as being "cool" seems to aspire to being second rate daytime TV
yep...it's provocative...I feel in the mood to prod a few people...and though I might warm up for it here :)
>>is there anything intrinsically exciting that can be added to pages
My colleague called me over yesterday to look at an Java applet based racing game with pseudo 3D graphics that would have put my old Amiga to shame.
To be honest just as a limited number of notes doesnt mean music gets boring I dont think the web is or will ever get boring. I still see sites in plain HTML and graphics that make me go "ooh that looks cool".
>I still see sites in plain HTML and graphics
Yes, I know what you mean, I still see a magazine ad or graphic art logo on the side of a passing truck that makes me stop short, but they are few and far between. I think that's what Eric is getting at, finding that edge on the web doesn't happen often either, not on the rendered page anyway. What's going on behind the page is still exciting, though.