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How Important is New Technology in Creating a Successful Website?

Image by Jeffrey Zeldman on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Image by Jeffrey Zeldman on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

If you’re thinking about developing a new website, you might have started to research some of the 2014 web design trends that are featuring in the brightest and best new websites. If you’re going to invest in a new website, it’s important that it looks modern and performs well. However, you might be wondering to what extent the latest features are necessary; really how important is new technology in creating a successful website?

This recent article from Mashable explores the way in which smart technology is impacting the home appliances market. In many ways the author is asking the same question as business owners considering investing in a new website design. The article explores some of the latest products that have entered the market – including Samsung’s new Smart Fridge, featuring WiFi, social media apps and a music player – but observes that the pace of change has been slower than you might expect.

The reason why this is the case?

Functionality.

In a nutshell, we buy home appliances because they help to make our lives more efficient. We are not yet accustomed to buying home appliances with a multitude of features that don’t directly help us to achieve these simple goals.

A home appliance should enable us to clean our homes, wash our dishes and prepare food; if it does 101 other things but fails to provide a better quality service in these essential areas then we’re unlikely to be persuaded that it’s worth parting with our hard-earned cash. Or, as the article so helpfully puts it,

In the end, it always comes back to whether or not the fridge is good at keeping food organized and cool.”

Is this, then, our answer to the question of how important new technology is in creating a successful website?

That depends upon your definition of technology.

Technological improvements help us to do two things: they help us to do things that aren’t currently possible, and they help us to improve the way that we are currently doing things. The former tend to be cutting edge and receive greater publicity. The latter tend to be less glamorous, but are equally important at helping us to move forwards.

When we design and build new website we are constantly benefiting from new technology, even if the website is relatively understated in nature. This is true of our content management systems, design processes, website structure, techniques to improve website speed and search engine optimization and the tools that we use to project manage it all. In other words, new technology is constantly helping us to create successful websites.

There are also moments when a technological ‘leap’ is required to create a successful website design. In recent years this has tended to revolve around responsive and mobile design processes. As devices and trends continue to develop we expect to see new kinds of functionality becoming the norm for website designers.

In the end, just like with home appliances, it all comes down to functionality. Anything that helps us to build a more effective website that is better equipped to connect with site visitors has to be a good thing.