Perhaps one of the most interesting observations about website design is the way in which they have evolved over the years. Rather than being a linear progression, the changes in website design have varied and even come full-circle. Starting off by presenting text for the most part, they then went on to host images and animations as well as - or, in some cases, instead of - text. However in recent years, traditional text-based websites have made a comeback.
Of course, there’s a very good reason for this evolution, which looks somewhat unusual on the surface. When the World Wide Web made its debut in the 90s, Internet connection speeds were much slower than they are today and so websites were developed to contain mostly text: anything more and there could be long loading times. As things went on, Internet connections grew faster and could handle larger files, such as images and eventually animations. When animations entered the fold, multimedia platforms such as Flash encouraged companies and their designers to develop their websites to look pretty, eye-catching and - forgive the pun - “flashy”.
With the birth of Broadband Internet access, online browsing speed is even faster these days, yet many companies have dropped their animated-based sites in favour of more text-based websites. Why? Three words: Search Engine Optimisation.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to a website via the search engines. There are many factors influencing how this can be obtained and therefore many different techniques can be implemented, but one of the most important factors is that search engines crawl text, so a text-based website will fair far better in the search engine results over those that focus heavily on animations.
SEO is on its way to becoming a standard practice for every business website - even for the big brands, who are scared of losing customers to higher-ranking competitors. Those who implement SEO into their website last will inevitably be left behind.
Even though many website designers prefer to create websites with animations instead of text it is foolish to do so at the cost of online enquiries. The key to perfect website design is a good-looking site that also performs well in the search engine, not placing too much emphasis on one and sacrificing the other.