As us RocketMillers strive to be at the forefront of our field, we feel it is our duty to see what lies ahead in the web design industry. Looking through our plethora of inspiration of websites across the world wide web, we notice a new trend coming into fruition. But we ask – is ‘cards’ just a trend, or are they here to stay?
What are ‘cards’?
‘Cards’ are a (relatively) new way of approaching web design. They are essentially snippets of bite size information that are presented in a modular way and architectural way. They seem to be the ‘in way’ of displaying lots of content, with Google+, Pinterest and Spotify all using them (to name a few).
Why are they becoming so popular?
‘Card’s’ are a great way to display bursts of information in a digestible way. In terms of UX, ‘Card’s’ offer app style Call To Actions, offering more interactivity to the user in a way that is easy to understand and use. Whether it information such as ‘Playlists’, ‘Status Updates’ or ‘Latest News’, ‘Card’s’ provide easily click-able areas that can be updated regularly in an effective way.
Putting Mobile First
As our industry inevitably trundles down the hill towards smart devices being the main focus in web design, ‘Cards’ provide a simple and scalable framework that maintains user experience on mobile devices. Often Responsive Design can compromise the website’s intended user experience on mobile devices, and ‘Card’s’ is an affective way to overcome this.
What are they not so good at?
Difficult to establish visual hierarchy
This applies more specifically to ‘Card’s’ on desktop computers. Having a grid like design can limit design freedom and the ability to create visual dynamics on the page. If you are not used to the ‘Card’ layout, at first glance it can often be hard to know where to start looking.
Only works for certain businesses/types of content
Using ‘Cards’ requires lots of small snippets of rich content, such as images, videos, audio or digestible statements of text. This could work for portfolio sites, lucrative blog pages and social media sites. Forcing this layout for content that is not immediately engaging can come across as confusing and muddled.
Here to stay?
We think so. Purely because of the substantial benefits on the user experience on mobile devices. Any website that has plenty of original resource to display I think will eventually need to adapt their content and processes to fit this framework, as the more this framework is used, the more users will expect it and use it in a visceral way.