Can Web Development be Art?

Many would agree that graphic design is an art form. Sometimes posters and logos of famous products like Budweiser or the title of a TV show end up on the walls of many homes or in galleries and museums with a strong sense of admiration for their beauty or what they represent, but would you see a web page on that same wall?

…probably not.

While web development hasn’t quite made a name for itself in the world of art just yet, here are a few examples of experimental web pages that are trying to do just that:

The Colors of Motion

The Colors Of Motion is an AJAX page loader that visualizes many frames throughout a film as the dominant color of each frame, showing you a timeline of color choices as you scroll down a film page. Each color is also a clickable link to the screenshot it represents. Looking at the Harry Potter page I could tell immediately what each section of color was in accordance to which part of the movie. Many of you may recognize the section of gold at the beginning being that all too well known Warner Bros. intro.

Diamonds in the sky

Diamonds in the Sky is an interactive one-pager, where users can create a star in a digital universe then share the location and name of the star after. The scrolling animation is beautiful and this is one time having sound on a page really adds to the overall aesthetic.

World Of Swiss

World Of SWISS is a one-pager that takes the user behind the scenes of a day with the Swiss Airlines crew. The parallax scrolling creates an amazing sense of depth throughout each section of content. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also a user-friendly experience. Each “hot spot” that the page scrolls through has videos and additional info on specific items and the end of the page has an interactive flight path infographic with links to where you can book the exact flights that you see there. It may not be the easiest way to get everything you need from an airline site, but it’s certainly the most enjoyable.

So while we may not see these pages in public galleries across the world, they are displayed in an online gallery, along with many others at One Page Love, where you can launch each individual website yourself and journey through the wonderful world of web development.

One Page Love

So while these websites are visually appealing, they raise an important question: just because it’s art, does it have to be less than professional? When making web sites, it’s important to keep in mind efficiency and functionality but that doesn’t mean you have to forget about the aesthetic appeal. I know I’ve heard many people say that you shouldn’t extend the time an interactive web element takes to get you from point A to B just for sake of beautiful design and animation, but all it takes to make a good impression is a single second. So why not go the extra mile now and again and add that scrolling transition or smooth hover animation. Who knows how many potential users’ heads you may turn because it had the “grab” that you didn’t even know your site needed.