Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Web designers debate whether what you see (aesthetics) is more important or universal usability

Gone are the days when being connected to internet meant desktop screen, nowadays with number of latest gadgets increasingly being net friendly, internet has become very flexible possibly connected on any gadget you can lay your hands on. There are tablets, phones, laptops of different screen sizes, huge screen flat smart high definition television sets etc. all mediums for accessing internet.

There are huge discussions around need of adaptable design among web designers and developers and it is impossible to overemphasize the need for the same. When we talk of adaptable or responsive design, the idea is not only to deign aesthetics of the website to suit the medium but also the usability should not be compromised. Different aspect ratios, resolutions are something that need attention apart from size of medium for adaptable designs. Some interesting parallels have been drawn with television in the olden days when content was created to suit all- black and white screens; tv sets of different sizes etc. so that all enjoy the programmes. Similarly these days images’ bitmap has to be made responsive as a very high resolution might take time to load and not be required on smaller screens like mobile. About images, the recent trend is different as Instagram has become a phenomenon where quality of image is judged by its content and not megapixels and thus the aesthetics of website’s images can be altered using monochrome images, blurring some, compressing the images.

Other factors of using images in Design and Development of Websites is progressive enhancement which implies that playing with the number of images or content to suit the medium e.g. for a bigger screen designers can put more images for a company’s website and for mobile or tablet version reduce the same so that aesthetics don’t look cluttered. The important images should stay while the good to haves can be optional thus not compromising on the depth of content offered.

Eventually as the industry analysts feel, things will boil down to care minimum like plain text as that is something all mediums are comfortable with. This addresses the challenges like videos and some images cannot be played on certain devices and thus if all goes back to basic plain text, we can conclude that aesthetics means not merely visual but the overall usability and universal application of the same.

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