Forbes published an interesting article about web design last week. The article discussed – in very broad strokes – the recent evolution of web design and suggested that a sea change of sorts is in store for web design and web designers. Design management systems (DMS) may be the next new thing in web design. (But maybe not!)
Content management systems and web design: out with the new?
Website design tends to be relatively static, while website content tends to be dynamic. Content management systems (CMS) offer a straightforward way to separate a website’s content from the website design. This technique makes it easy to update the content of a website regularly. News websites, shopping websites and reference websites (like Wikipedia, for example) all make heavy use of content management systems.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems around. It’s an open source product that began life as a blogging platform, but quickly transformed into a website design tool that millions of website operators wouldn’t want to live without. WordPress “themes” are effectively design templates that you can apply to any WordPress installation. That’s the plus side to WordPress.
The minus side is that sometimes a theme doesn’t contain the features you want. Modifying a theme can be difficult, especially if you’re not a programmer. Designing your own theme is always an option, but it can be time-consuming. As the Forbes article points out, WordPress attempts to save time, not cause the user to expend it, so designing a WordPress theme – if you’re not a designer – probably isn’t very appealing.
Now enter DMS in the form of a product called PageLines. DMS purport to do for website design what CMS do for website content. In other words, PageLines intends to make website design as easy as tools like WordPress make content management.
Will PageLines turn everyone into web designers? No, not by a long shot. Design is something you learn, not something you “do.” The visual appeal of a website design is what grabs the eyeballs, but the true heart of website design is the perfect combination of both form and function. Does the website design look attractive and work well for the user at the same time? Does the website design lead the visitor through the website? Can visitors easily find their way around? Does the website design provide the user with a positive experience?
These are the elements that you look for in superior website design, and you get a website with a superior design by putting a lot of thought and effort into the experience you want your visitors to have. Will a website design product provide that experience? Not unless the user is well versed in the elements of website design! PageLines poses an interesting question about the long-term future of web design, but like all tools, it works best in the hands of the user who has already envisioned the end result.
If you would like more information about website design, or a consultation on improving the design of your website, please contact our Creative Director, Dave Ramsell or call Dave at (330) 243-0651.
Photo Credit: Ray Magner, via StockXChng