#highered web design: How far have we come?

At the tail end of 2010, Six Revisions founder Jacob Gube presented his four predictions for web design in 2011. So here we are, more than a year later, and I’m wondering how closely the advances in higher ed web design mirror Gube’s predictions.

So, I pose a question to readers of this blog — especially those who do web design in the higher ed space: How closely have changes in higher ed web design mirrored Gube’s predictions during the past year? I hope you’ll provide comment.

Here’s what Gube predicted for web design back on Dec. 30, 2010:

1. The mobile web will go mainstream. Even though mobile was a dominant topic of discussion among web designers in 2010, Gube wrote that “it’s still safe to say that most websites have given little to no attention to their mobile web presence.” Gube doesn’t have anything to say about the state of higher ed and mobile. Fortunately, we have Dave Olsen’s blog, Mobile in Higher Ed, as a resource for our sector. Last October, Dave compiled a nice list of college and university mobile websites. Does this listing indicate that higher ed is on the right track regarding mobile? Has the mobile web, in fact, gone mainstream in higher ed?

2. Web design as a profession will become specialized. “In the future,” Gube wrote, “there will be greater stratification of the role of web designer. Right now, web app designers, mobile app designers and traditional website designers are clustered under the umbrella title of ‘web designer.'” I think we’re seeing a bit of this in higher ed, but it seems that web positions are still broad-based and generic.

3. Simpler aesthetics for websites. “Web designers are forgoing complex visuals and overdone design techniques, opting instead for clean and simple web designs with a high attention to detail, a greater emphasis on typography … and stronger interaction design for richer and more captivating user experiences.” I’m not sure we’re seeing much simplification of websites in higher ed. What do you think?

4. Web design will replace print design (even more). “We’ll be witnessing design budgets earmarked toward traditionally print-based branding materials shift toward web design solutions such as Twitter profile page designs, Facebook fan page designs and HTML e-mail and e-newsletter template designs.” Maybe someday, but I don’t see it happening yet.

What are your thoughts about these predictions? Are they coming to pass in higher ed? Or are we still stuck in 2002?


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

3 thoughts on “#highered web design: How far have we come?”

  1. I’m not sure my list does a good job anymore of showing how mobile-aware higher ed is becoming I don’t track responsive designs nor very many sites outside of the central mobile portals. I lot of mobile dev is now starting to be done on the edges of university web presences. This post does give me motivation to create a better directory though :)

  2. Dave – You’re still the chief blogger focused on mobile web in the #highered sphere. Glad this post provides a bit of motivation for your directory. Once it’s updated, let me know — I’m happy to promote it!

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