How Social Media affects Web Design
Social media influences how we interact with every aspect of the web. We see posts outlining information in clear and concise snippets to gauge if we proceed further or continue. The presented images are used for advertising products, services, or information. Due to their effectiveness, these images have developed into focused marketing tools and have spread to non-social media platforms. Focusing on the presentation of the materials controls how the consumer sees the product or service. So, in this regard, we must be wary of the platform's intent in determining if we purchase the product. Social media has improved access to a wide variety of information. This ease has conditioned many consumers to this way of life, thus resulting in the need for non-social media platforms to adopt this same ease of information strategy to avoid losing customers and business.
Social Media has contributed much to developing modern web pages and design in responsive web design, marketing, and ease of access. The increase in social media has also contributed to the rise and expectation of mobile responsive web pages. Most social media is consumed through a mobile device. This has caused businesses to focus on displaying their content in wider screen sizes. The rise of mainstream social media applications like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest has caused a shift in consuming information. This consumption also varies between each platform's demographics and the usage they see. Each of the above platforms packages its content differently and allows users to express their individuality through posts. This level of interaction has shaped much of web design as we know it today.
The History of Twitter
Two ex-google employees designed twitter to start a podcasting service called Odeo. Then known as Twttr began as a side project to send short messages. Once they saw the future of the product, they decided to develop the product we know today. It was officially debuted at the South by Southwest Music Festival in 2007. As users started to rise, unique jargon became more apparent. "Initially, users had no way of replying to one another on Twitter. Some users would include an @ symbol before a username to identify another user within a Tweet. This became a prevalent way to acknowledge another user that the Twitter team added the functionality natively to the Twitter platform. The same thing happened with hashtags, which are now an integral part of the Twitter ecosystem." This change then spread to other professional social media-type sites that we use today, like Slack, Teams, and Google Drive.
One of the most prominent features of Twitter is the character limits imposed by the platform. Initially, the maximum character limit of a single tweet was 140 characters. This was due to the limitations of the SMS platform during its initial development. Later, however, the character limit was increased to 280 characters so that users could "spend less time condensing their thoughts and more time talking." This character limit resembles the limit that is expected from a well-designed website. There is no proof that there is a correlation between the word limit in a block of text and a character limit in a tweet, but it reinforces the idea of not overwording your text. There are many other areas of web design where we can see the influences of Twitter. This is one of the most popular platforms, so it makes sense that other up-and-coming sites would note its successful features.
The Art of 280 Characters
There are three main areas where we can see how the Twitter platform has influenced the more significant web design space. Continuity, Simplicity, and Customization. The changes to social media websites have been quite frequent over the past several years; however, this is not the case for Twitter. It has remained consistent with its layout and design from the beginning. Some of the changes have increased users' ease of access to information and engagement with this information. This sort of continuity with brand recognition makes Twitter so visible and identifiable. This applies to current web design practices. We need to create layouts and branding that are easy to spot in a crowd. Doing this can increase brand recognition and website traffic, continuity of branding, simplicity, and the ability to customize, set Twitter apart, and influence web design.
The basic outline of Twitter is navigation is placed on the horizontal axis, and the information is placed on the vertical axis. This layout is the most commonly used when developing web pages. It goes to reinforce the idea that a consistent and clear outline is the easiest to follow and will lead to less confusion. GWS media states, "Twitter's features are clear in their purpose and ultimately retain the feeling of a service, and what's more, one that isn't trying to do everything at once." Reducing the amount of non-necessary information you place on the web pages will make it easier to navigate and make users engage in the content. The ability of the user to customize the content on the page builds ownership over the page itself. This doesn't directly relate to many non-social media pages, but it does build on the philosophy of web development. Taking ownership of the content on your websites helps show personality and that you are doing more than just selling a product or service.
The History of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook on February 4th, 2004, at Harvard University. The initial purpose of the social media site was to connect with other Harvard university students. By the next day, "The Facebook" had over a thousand individuals signed up for the service. Facebook began to rapidly expand to over a million users by the end of the first year. After this, Facebook started to spread across the country and the world. Facebook became a go-to social media site for an entire generation, but that's not what makes Facebook unique. The older generations adopted Facebook to connect with friends and family. This added to its success because it bridged the gap between user generations.
Facebook, although not without its controversies. Facebook has faced criticism due to the spread of misinformation and fake profiles. This is one of the first times this effect was so widespread due to the ease of sharing and posting. In recent years Facebook has worked to decrease the spread of misinformation to reduce the volatility of its platform. This also applies to its marketing and advertisement strategies as it came under fire due to the selling of personal information. This way of marketing and advertising is one of the ways that it has influenced the greater web development community.
The Success of a Brand
The areas where Facebook has been successful are in branding, navigation, and interaction. The Facebook font and logo are the most recognizable in branding history. This consistency and brand recognition is nothing new to marketing, but it emphasizes the importance of its utilization in the online marketing world. Maintaining this visual consistency ensures that users know they are in the right place. Navigation is one of the most important aspects of web browsing and development. The volume and type of content present on Facebook have increased over the years, so a sound navigation system is a key to keeping users happy and finding the information they need. This needs to keep things organized has spread to other areas of web development because navigation will make or break a website.
Facebook's branding, navigation, and interaction/advertising have significantly impacted the web design community to update and improve your web pages' functionality constantly. Interaction and the ability to market products and services to users have increased e-commerce due to targeted ads and preference tracking. Facebook uses the user's interaction to determine products and services that the user may be interested in purchasing. This method of showing users products and services related to their searches increases the number of purchases made. According to Outer Box, these Facebook advertisements open a direct line of communication to the consumers. They state, "Social media is a critical component of any SEO campaign, and advertising on Facebook is a precious tool to enhance your existing social media strategies."
The History of Pinterest
The founders of Pinterest started working on their idea in 2009 in New York City. They released their first desktop version to closed beta in 2010. Once traction started to grow, they slowly released their product to an open beta to allow more users access to the service. After nine months of operation, Pinterest had over 10,000 users. "The following year, they were listed as one of the best websites in the world by Time magazine." Initially, Pinterest claimed ownership over all images uploaded to the site. This, however, changed in 2012 when they determined that they would not sell content from the platform. This, however, changed at some point when they added an online marketplace feature for users to sell goods and content. Many people are using Pinterest to Promote their business, and many features make this a viable option.
As Pinterest adds additional e-commerce features, it is becoming a viable option for advertising products and services. These additions have made it easier and more shopper-friendly. The key to running a successful marketing campaign on Pinterest is great content and visually good marketing strategies. This can be applied to how we design online marketplace websites. Having clear and easy-to-understand images is vital to building consumer confidence in the products. We can even use this sort of design philosophy for non-commerce websites. Having clear photos and straightforward content will ensure that visitors stay longer and engage with the content at a higher level. This engagement will also increase the likelihood that they will refer your site to others, further increasing engagement. There are three other areas where Pinterest stands above the rest in terms of simplicity, modesty, and interaction.
Having a simple user interface is one of the defining features of Pinterest. "The site is highly functional and doesn't distract from its main purpose." This is a practice that must be utilized when designing web pages. The layout and format must compliment the purpose and content, not taking away from the user experience. Pinterest's design lends to its ability to present users' information effectively. This connects back to simplicity. Creating a minimalist webpage where certain content draws the user's attention away from others and incorporating streamlined navigation will help the overall appeal. Interaction is one of the main features of Pinterest. Its interaction is designed so that it doesn't take away from the content. To use Pinterest's interactive features, you must hover over the content, displaying the ability to like, pin, and comment.
The way we interact with web pages has been shaped by social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. There have been many websites before the creation of social media, so many of the features we see are not new, but they reinforce web development ideas. Having a clean user interface, the ability to market your products and services, and streamlining the functionality of your website are vital to creating a successful webpage that entices users to stay and engage with the content. The prevalence of social media platforms that share these design aspects reinforces the importance of clean design and responsive content. Social media may not have been the initial cause of today's design features, but it proves that these designs work and users enjoy the experience.