A lot has changed in this year alone on how people view the role of a web designer. Web design has shifted from a late-in-the-process “optimization” stage where designers swooped in to sprinkle on some “pretty” like mystical fairy dust to a real competitive advantage.

It’s been an amazing evolution to watch.

And a fascinating element of that evolution has been the shift back toward a focus on content: the meat on the bones of the web. Designers worldwide have realized that people visit websites for their content — whether it’s raging tweetstorms, thoughtful long-reads, or the latest “user-generated” meme — and that design’s ultimate role is to present content in an intuitive, efficient, and “delightful” way.

The arrangement of design elements within a given structure should allow the reader to easily focus on the message, without slowing down the speed of his reading

That’s one reason for the shift away from skeuomorphic design toward “flatter,” more minimalist design approaches, as seen in Google’s Material aesthetic, and really, across the web and our various devices.

Of course, as Newton’s third law states, for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Many designers feel that the flat design trend has taken the “soul” out of design. We expect to see this conversation continue across 2017, but look forward to it becoming a productive dialogue that never loses sight of the heart of our design work: the content.

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