Web design aficionados make the best web designers. It’s reassuring to find that after twelve years, and innumerable projects, we still wind up gathering excitedly around each other’s screens when somebody finds a site that does something a little bit different, and does it well.
Click onto Everything Everwhere’s site and you’ll see the word “EXPLORE” displayed prominently near the top. The site takes that dictum seriously, and can even be a little bewildering and slow. But consider this: the site’s job is to sell its visitors high speed broadband and 4G. Why not show them what it’s possible to do inside the confines of their browser windows with great web design, and make them wonder why they’re putting up with their weedy, non-fibre optic connections?
So the site takes its users up, down and all around, with numerous high resolution backgrounds, intricate animations and videos, and an unorthodox site structure that orbits around a single superpage. As we pointed out recently, browsers now feature more space and fewer menus, and screens are growing in size – the EE site acknowledges this and thinks big, aiming to make use of every inch of newly-freed canvas. It’s an absorbing experience. Behind all the XXL bluster, though, the deeper pages show a concern for the shape of mobile devices through concise, horizontal strips of content.
If that seems muddled, it is. Trying to cater to home computers and smartphones at the same time is surely a fruitless exercise? But Everything Everywhere wants its customers to visualise a world where their phones and tablets can run showoff sites like this without a problem. We’re seeing a mobile takeover. After all, the new Windows operating system gears itself around tablet friendliness and 12% of corporate website visits are made from mobile devices (a rapidly rising proportion):
That takeover is still in its infancy. Compare today’s phones with mobiles from just ten years ago and it’s hard to imagine what they could be doing in a decade’s time. We should look at home computing the same way. The ludicrously design-conscious EE site, with its high resource usage and its appeal to both our domestic and our portable online lives, positions the company as the inheritor to this challenge. If the similarly original Art Catlin site, which we launched earlier this year, is “art”, then this is pop art, a consumerist, pleasure-oriented feast for the eyes.