“If you’re constantly tweaking and tailoring your website for natural search success, doesn’t it also stand to reason that this diminished focus on your website’s users creates an environment that isn’t enjoyable or interesting for real people?”
That’s a great quote. And although the author, Sujan Patel, goes on to argue that good SEO can also make for good user experience, he misses out when discussing the true importance of a web site: design. In fact, the word “design” isn’t used in his post at all.
Google Search completed transformed the web site landscape several years ago in that it manipulated web sites to accomplish certain tasks in order to more likely appear at the top of a search string. These tasks include appropriate use of:
- keywords, site descriptions, and meta data,
- amount of content, and
- uniqueness of content, amongst other factors.
Sites quickly learned that the way to appear high in organic search was to follow the Google Search commandments… or perhaps no one would find your site! Gasp!
With a heightened importance on search combined with analytics, data became an increasingly popular way in which to build – or dare I say, design – your site.
Over the past several years, the building and developing of web sites has been unbalanced – too high of a concentration on proper code and SEO and not enough on design and creativity.
It’s design, not SEO, that:
- delivers stories and content in a visually-striking manner,
- creates an engaging digital experience,
- requires a deep, human interaction from the viewer, and
- makes the world a more beautiful place.
Critical to user experience is design – in fact, it’s the most important part.
Trends are cyclical
Like anything else, trends tend to work in cycles. Towards the beginning of the commercial internet, amazing things were built with great design. Over the past few years, the data and measurement revolution changed that.
But I believe we are seeing a movement back towards the necessity of artistic design as the key factor in user experience and the building of web sites. Digital news consumption and the minimalist aesthetic result in sites embracing the beauty of white space and legibility. Mobile sites and apps require a simple, pleasing design in order to succeed. And the rise of the designer/developer is helping to put design at the forefront.
And that, as Panel says, is “enjoyable and interesting for real people.” In short, it’s a beautiful thing.