What is Modern Web Design? Part 2

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In the first article of this series, we discussed the mainstay of modern web design: simplicity. One of the key elements that contributes to this essential ingredient is the central layout.

Older websites either use left oriented layouts, with all the content stuck to the left side of the page, or liquid (full-width) layouts. The wisdom has always been that we should try to get as much information “above the fold” (i.e. visible on the screen without scrolling). Liquid layouts achieve this. But guess what?


The expression comes from newspaper publishing where the most important stories are at the top of the page, above the place where the paper is folded.

There used to be an “average” screen size for desktop computers, and we all scrambled to get the most important information visible in that average area. Google even favored that information over information lower down on a web page.

Today we have far more laptops than desktops. We have netbooks, tablets and smartphones. We look at websites on devices of all shapes and sizes and there is no “fold” anymore. More people look at websites on mobile devices than on computers, and they swipe and tap instead of scrolling and clicking. We HAVE to move the web page in order to see the site, and we naturally do.

So stop worrying about making everything visible at the top of the web page. We now have the opportunity to put a lot more space between the sections of our web page, and the HUGE advantage there is that it allows us to direct the viewers eye to what we want them to notice.

Things do not have to be crowded together. People will swipe and scroll to see your content. It can be spread out so each important element stands out and can be absorbed quickly without confusing the eye as to what should be looked at or read.

In the next article, we’ll talk about designing for the content, not for the look, so stay tuned, it’s a very important element of a modern, effective website.

Do you want an effective website? Let us help you create one now. Email us at hello@21thirteen.com or call us at 646 808 0249.

Perry Yeldham, 21Thirteen Design