We can all spot a web 2.0 design when we see one. If it isn’t the rounded corners or faded backgrounds, it’s the bright colors, huge fonts, or META tag. These flashy, tacky designed used to have VCs at their mercy, but not anymore. The era of design is on its way out.
Sites like Digg and Facebook are pioneering a new wave of design. How are these sites different? They have a very clean, yet subtle, approach. They do incorporate some of the elements of a stereotypical web 2.0 design, but in a less blatant manner. You may see rounded corners, for example, but they won’t be as pronounced.
A focus on usability is key. Elements such as AJAX and overlays increase functionality by decreasing page loads. Clear messaging and notification of previous actions also seem to be a trend. In addition, we are still seeing that “open feel”, but space is being used more strategically. The days of huge white space are numbered.
Other sites that leverage this new design philosophy include LinkedIn and Yelp. Furthermore, sites that traditionally capitalized that “hugely open, white background” feel, like YouTube and del.icio.us, are moving toward this new design mindset.
I think we will continue to see this trend continue as usability remains the focus. Intuitive designs and common sense will prevail.