Re-designing a new website usually brings with it a sense of excitement and a list of expectations both for the client and for the designers and developers creating the website. This client will generally have a list of requirements for features they may think are required, or a high level objective such as to simply “increase sales”.
One factor that is always present in our experience is trying to obtain a balance between creating a website that is cutting edge and has a reasonable lifespan or one that is based upon previous principles and functions across web browsers that date back to the previous decade.
We recently designed a simple, professional, corporate website for a company in the health industry. While the client wanted to include some great new features, their major client base were Queensland hospitals, who as part of the Queensland Health Department still use Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP. That web browser and that operating system are literally over 10 years old.
So the point is that the decision to use the latest “web design techniques” or architectures really turns on who your target market or audience is. If you can categorically state that your target market will be using a browser that is of that vintage, then that’s also your end point for the technology that you can employ within the web design and layout itself.
The corollary is that if you can assert your market is high school students who spend 80% of their time on mobile devices then you can be certain that designing and deploying a website specifically for a mobile platform is your best bet. There are still restrictions in that space although you will still be very close to being in a position to utilise the latest web design techniques.
Cutting edge web design techniques and architecture is the best way forward if you can be reasonably certain most visitors are using recent devices to view your website. The easiest way to ascertain if that is the case is to dig into your website analytics and pull out the appropriate metrics. If it’s a new website you are launching then you need to do the market research.