Facebook’s Director of Product Design on the Death of Websites
For designers, it must seem counterintuitive that less diversity in online design would be better?
Once we operate inside of iOS or Android, those ecosystems have design rules that are laid out for us. If I use Google’s material design, it dictates that when you touch, a button rises up to meet your finger as opposed to depressing it. They figured out: “This is the way the system should behave.”
There are a whole bunch of design decisions that, by building on mobile, are taken out of your control. And that’s a good thing — if every designer had to worry about the way a button behaved, it would just be a lot of energy for not a lot of value.
For people, every app they’d open, they’d have to relearn how it worked.
Ultimately, it’s good that there are a whole lot of design decisions that have become standardised. But what that means is designers’ jobs are changing — what they’re going to focus on is how the thing works and less about how it looks. This is what enables you to create products that can scale to meet billions of people.
That’s different than the work we were doing in the mid-2000s. We were trying everything — this is the Myspace era — we were just going crazy. I think we had to go through that phase and I think we’re going to go through that phase with [virtual reality]. There’s going to be a bunch of things we’re going to try that will turn out not be the thing we end up with.
When it comes to web and mobile, we’ve passed through that and we’re in a phase where it’s about standardisation. It’s about creating consistent experience.
kinda feel like the title here was a bit misleading, because i just sat here and read through it… and actually felt like he made a few really good points… it has become more about standardization, with all the various frameworks / platforms / libraries out there nowadays — though i still feel there’s plenty of room for dropping a bit of design on your site to make it a bit more interesting, and hopefully not as boring… been hearing and reading for years now that “websites / blogs are dead”, and yet i’m still here… guess i’m just “old school” like that.
What do you think about the “ugly websites” trend? Is ugliness a way to rebel against the new, streamlined Internet?
There has been this rationalisation to a very common aesthetic — sites tend to look very the same.
I actually think that’s probably a good thing for people, because that sameness makes it easier to move from site to site to get what you need. You don’t need to reorientate yourself.
The ugliness thing is a younger generation of people who are now creating websites who are nostalgic for like, the wild west, geo-cities aesthetic, which they never experienced. And they have some version of it that they are putting out there.
What Erin Yogasundram is doing with Shop Jeen is a cultural riff. It’s pretty niche, but it’s cool.
i must confess, i almost went with a purposely ugly ass site design this last time around, but i just couldn’t do it.