Agency websites for a long time have pushed the boundaries of what can be done on the web, using html5 video, app style interfaces, and engaging retina images. We are now seeing these types of designs and features being used on mainstream sites and services.
Many sites now use the full width of the screen enabling an ‘edge to edge’ browsing experience for any device that is viewed upon. This type of design takes inspiration from apps, and mobile oriented services, where screen space is at a premium and therefore all of the pixels are put to good use.
It seems that the traditional idea of a static website isn’t enough anymore for the web. At one time it was more than enough to provide simple pages, but with services such as YouTube, Spotify, and Twitter, users are now used to interacting with immersive content, allowing the user to explore different aspects of the page, navigating linked or embedded video, engaging imagery, and app-like menu interfaces. There is now a sense of required immersive interactivity wherever you are, on whatever device you use.
There is now a sense of required immersive interactivity wherever you are, on whatever device you use
It is important that these immersive experiences hold water – it can’t be style over substance. Many of the design cues we see are influenced by the developments in iOS and Android app design. With responsive design, the user has access to the same full website, but it is reshaped so-to-speak for the mobile display. Therefore when the user has flicked across from browsing their apps to the web browser, their expectations are high, with the need to have a tailored mobile experience when accessing information quickly on the move.
‘Full screen’ immersive websites have started to trickle down to more mundane companies too, for example the banking company ING use this approach for one of their Dutch customer sites. The design lends its roots to the print industry, with full bleed images, and a wide margin, which creates a memorable, engaging overall experience. This is an encouraging trend for web design, where mainstream web services and sites are thinking beyond the traditional, using the advanced browser technology to enhance the user experience, where the content is king.
It’s clear that an open minded design approach is needed in the current digital space, as consumer expectation is higher than ever. This expectation towards slick digital products and web experiences is slowly moving across to the B2B scene. Only time will tell if the speed of redesigning existing interfaces is matched to these expectations, fuelling a change towards good interface design.