A really interesting talk by Matthew Butterick about the state of Web Design.
It’s now or never for the web. The web is a medium for creators, including designers. But after 20 years, the web still has no culture of design excellence. Why is that? Because design excellence is inhibited by two structural flaws in the web. First flaw: the web is good at making information free, but terrible at making it expensive. So the web has had to rely largely on an advertising economy, which is weakening under the strain. Second flaw: the process of adopting and enforcing web standards, as led by the W3C, is hopelessly broken. Evidence of both these flaws can be seen in a) the low design quality across the web, and b) the speed with which publishers, developers, and readers are migrating away from the web, and toward app platforms and media platforms. This evidence strongly suggests that the web is on its way to becoming a second-class platform. To address these flaws, I propose that the W3C be disbanded, and that the leadership of the web be reorganized around open-source software principles. I also encourage designers to advocate for a better web, lest they find themselves confined to a shrinking territory of possibilities.
I really sympathise with his views on this. The design of most major websites is crap. Unfortunately, he's correct in his assertion that this is largely to do with the fact that advertising drives most of the web. It's going to take a lot of work to find ways around this.
As I'm currently working on plans for my new idea for a useful site, so this kind of thing is something that I'm doing a lot of thinking about lately. It's so easy to just copy the base format that most sites use without thinking about whether that design is the best for your current situation.